San Diego High School Student Helps Holiday Shoppers find Charities for Alternative Gifting

Michael Wahl, a San Diego High School Junior has designed a website to help holiday shoppers find charities for alternative gifts
By: Fred Wahl
Nov. 29, 2009 - PRLog -- Michael Wahl, a San Diego High School Junior has designed a website to help  holiday shoppers find charities, that accept donations in the name of  the person on the shoppers gift list.   This is known as Alternative Gifting, a form of gift giving in which the giver makes a donation to a charitable organization in the recipient’s name, rather than giving an item. That way, instead of giving a present which the receiver might not have much use for, a letter or certificate is issued by the Charity addressed to the gift recipient, thanking him or her for the donation, and describing how his "gift" will be used.

The beauty of giving an "Alternative Gift" is that it is very efficient. Gift givers can always find a charity with a cause of interest to the person the present is for.  It makes more people happy than just the gift recipient, and it never becomes a gift that just "gathers dust".  

Says Michael, "If you have a friend who has everything, and you have no idea what to give him, an alternative gift to a charity works great. Your friend appreciates the gesture, and you help someone more needy too."

Michael is a Junior at Canyon Crest Academy, San Diego, California.  Avidly interested in the internet, and website design, at 13 he took summer classes in HTML design at Mira Costa College. He got the idea for when he attended an "Alternative Christmas Market" sponsored at the nearby  Solana Beach Presbyterian Church.  At the Alternative Christmas Market various charities set up booths and tables promoting their Charities to attract donors to buy handicrafts or make donations as Christmas gifts.

Michael decided to bring a similar idea forward to the world wide web. He created as an online Directory, where he collects a growing selection of charities suitable to receive donations for Alternative Gifting.  "Alternative Gifting is not only for Christmas", says webmaster Michael, "Donations given as gifts can be made at any time, and for any gifting event such as Anniversaries, Birthdays, Fathers Day, Mothers Day, Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, and so on."

Michael advises, "The best way to use is to first think about what cause the person you want to give a gift  is interested in.  Then look at the charities that serve that need and choose one which makes sense for a personal alternative gift."  

Some of the different causes included in the directory are those concered with Animals, the Blind, Cancer, Children, Environment, Health, Homelessness, International Relief, Veterans and Military. Then within the category of each cause are descriptions and direct links to individual charities.  Among the nearly 200 charities listed are the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, Dian Fosse Gorilla Fund, Helen Keller International, Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Amigos For Kids, Friends of the Earth, Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, Habitat for Humanity, Engineering Without Borders USA and International Peace Institute.

It took Michael almost a year to design the website and database until getting them "how he wanted it". Now  he devotes a few hours each week researching charities and adding new ones to the directory.  "I contact each charity and ask them to teach me, so I in turn can teach my visitors, how to make an alternative gift donation to their organization." is a family project. Siblings Susan, 9 and Brian, 12 also help out.  Each week they assist their older brother to scour the internet looking for suitable charities to include at the website. Susan prefers charities concerned with animals and the environment. Brian prefers charities helping Veterans and military families.

Michael's favorite Charity, so far, is "They do micro-banking, where money is loaned out to tiny businesses in developing countries. Donors choose who receives their donation in the form of a loan. As little as $25 makes a big difference to help an entrepreneur buy a sewing machine, repair a motorcycle, buy a cow, or buy materials. After a year or two, and the loan is repaid, the donor can then "reinvest" his capital to another recipient."

Michael is a Life Scout, and is currently working on his Eagle Project to raise funds, design and construct urgently needed storage and utility structures at Solana Highlands Elementary School, San Diego which he previously attended.

For more information about, and/or to suggest or register a suitable charity visit

# # # helps shoppers find charities, that accept donations in the name of the person on the shoppers gift list. A form of gift giving in which the giver makes a donation to a charitable organization in the recipient’s name.
Source:Fred Wahl
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Tags:Charity, Alternative Gifting, Donations, Charities, Charitable, Donate
Industry:Non-profit, Charity
Location:San Diego - California - United States
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