“Give Different”

Looking for a durable, digital gift that’s innovative, affordable, and won’t bend and break if you put it in your pocket?

How about a charity gift card from Community Shares of Mid Ohio or The Columbus Foundation?

Community Shares of Mid Ohio wants to make your hectic holiday shopping simple, yet significant. The grassroots federation of more than 60 local nonprofits soft-launched the gift card that gives back late last year. But this is the first full season for conscientious consumers to buy something that’s never the wrong size or style and always appreciated by causes that count.

Originally organized to give employees an easy opportunity to donate to small area nonprofits, Community Shares of Mid Ohio has evolved to offer member charities collective marketing, expert training, and ongoing advocacy. The “Give Card” is the latest addition to this mission.

“The inspiration for the Give Card really came out of a need to find additional ways for the community to contribute to our members beyond the workplace,” noted Community Relations Director Ryan Kovalaske.

Community Shares is unique because it focuses on local nonprofits doing work in the community, and in some cases throughout the state,” explained Executive Director Teresa Trost. “These nonprofits reflect the diversity of Central Ohio, but are not typically available through other workplace giving programs.”

The Give Card offers recipients the choice to invest in causes that are meaningful to them—from arts education and animal welfare to building inclusive communities and promoting social justice.

“The purchaser does not have to know which charity the recipient prefers, like they would through a traditional ‘gift in your name’ as some nonprofits offer,” said Kovalaske. “Everything is handled online, but the purchaser has an option to print a certificate to give the recipient as an inclusion in a birthday or thank you card. The purchaser may just as easily email the certificate as a PDF to the recipient to keep things eco-friendly.”

As the Community Shares’ Give Card approached launch, The Columbus Foundation also announced its own charitable gift card.

The Columbus Foundation supports the local nonprofit community through grants from more than 2,000 charitable funds and supporting foundations, as well as creating opportunities for individual giving.

Though both cards seem similar, there are key differences—including the charities represented. Some charities are available through either program; most are exclusive to one or the other.

“Our Give Card is available in any denomination. We pushed for that because, just like pledging during our workplace giving campaigns, we didn’t want price to be a barrier for anyone looking to contribute,” Trost explained.

The Columbus Foundation’s charitable gift card is available at $20, $50 and $100, which may be allocated to any of several hundred local charities and affiliates featured in PowerPhilanthropy, the organization’s online marketplace. “PowerPhilanthropy is a database of more than 600 local charities that allows donors to compare ‘apples to apples,’” said Lisa Courtice, Executive Vice President for Community Research and Grants Management with The Columbus Foundation. “Individual charity websites don’t always have the same information, or provide the insight needed for many donors. PowerPhilanthropy helps donors choose.” Physical cards are available for in-person giving, or may be sent directly to the recipient. Last minute shoppers may also opt for an electronic gift card that can be purchased and emailed instantly.

The Columbus Foundation’s charitable gift card can only be given to a single nonprofit,” Trost noted. “The amount placed on a Give Card from us can be divided among multiple nonprofits in our program. Again, we really wanted to honor that idea because we have offered it as an option through our workplace giving campaigns.”

For more information on Community Shares of Mid Ohio and the Give Card program, visit communityshares.net and givecard.net. For information on The Columbus Foundation and their Charitable Gift Card, visit columbusfoundation.org and tcfgiftcardpurchase.org.

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