Christmas Bargains 2014
If you're buying a gift for somebody that already has it all, or just want to do something different, virtual charity gifts are a great bet. Below is a sample of what you can get.
How does it work? All the organisations below offer a customisable e-card or gift card which'll tell the recipient what you've bought on their behalf, or you can just make a regular donation.
The last order dates listed are for postal confirmation cards and gifts, but many charities now operate e-card systems, so you could potentially order right up until Christmas.
If you just want to give a direct donation to charity on somebody else's behalf, be sure to use Gift Aid. Read the Charity Giving article for the full lowdown.
Last order date for Christmas: Wed 18 Dec 2013
Types of gifts: TB screening for £6, birth certificates for £9, a kid goat for £19, or school dinner for 45 children for £20. Donations will go directly to the communities that have asked for it.
What does the charity get? Out of every £1 donated, on average 83p goes directly to the community involved. The remaining 17p goes towards the administration costs of its gift catalogue.
Link: Must Have Gifts
Cows 'n' Things (Age International)
Last order date for Christmas: E-cards sent instantly - the last date for posted cards is Tue 17 Dec 2013.
Types of gifts: A chicken for £5 or 10 chicks for £10, a Mosquito net for £5, a community health kit for £20 or an irrigation system for up to 600 families for £140.
What does the charity get? Everything donated goes to support its charitable work, helping the most disadvantaged older people overseas.
Link: Cows 'n' Things
Gift of Sight (Sightsavers)
Last order date for Christmas: Mon 23 Dec 2013
Types of gifts: Two white canes for £5, an eye operation for trichiasis sufferers for £8, a Braille book for £10, train a trainer for £15, or an adult cataract operation for £28.
What does the charity get? 74% of your donation goes to charitable activities, and 26% goes to the charity's fundraising and governance.
Link: Gift of Sight
Last order date for Christmas: Fri 20 Dec 2013, midday
Types of gifts: 50 bowls of rice to feed fifty hungry children for £5, a worm composting kit for African farmers for £8, adopt a vegetable for £15 (saves rare varieties from extinction) or a Christmas hamper for an elderly person for £25.
There's a £2.95 fee per transaction - even if you buy more than one gift, you'll still pay just £2.95.
What does the charity get? The site guarantees all your cash goes to exactly what you've bought (the charity takes the £2.95 handling fee).
Link: Good Gifts
Unicef Inspired Gifts
Last order date for Christmas: Thu 19 Dec 2013
Types of gifts: Polio vaccines for 100 kids for £12, blankets for five babies for £19, or deliver a baby for £24.50 (covers all midwifery equipment needed to bring one new life into the world).
What does the charity get? For every £1 donated, 76p goes to Unicef's work with children, 22p goes to fundraising, and 2p towards administration.
Link: Unicef Inspired Gifts
Present Aid (Christian Aid)
Last order date for Christmas: E-cards sent instantly. The last date for posted cards was Fri 13 Dec 2013.
Types of gifts: Antibiotics for a sick child for £5, a year's books, stationery and uniform for a child for £9, a chicken for £9 (helps a family start a new business, giving them an income), a goat for £19, or feed a family for a month for £25.
What does the charity get? For every £1 donated, 86p is spent on direct charitable expenditure, 13p on fundraising and 1p on running the charity. Cash from gifts goes to projects within the relevant fund (eg, agriculture and livestock).
Link: Present Aid
Last order dates for Christmas: Wed 18 Dec 2013 (posted cards), e-cards sent instantly. The last date for cards with extra treats, eg, choccie goats, was 16 Dec 2013.
Types of gifts: Share in a farmyard for £5, buy a health check for £6, school supplies for £8, chickens for £10 or a goat for £25.
What does the charity get? Your donation will be spent on a related Oxfam project, eg, cash from water-themed gifts goes to one of its water and sanitation projects. For every £1 donated, 84p goes on projects, 9p on support costs and
Anything else? All gifts are dispatched within 3 working days by 1st class post or air mail. There's an optional delivery contribution of £1.80 per order for UK deliveries.
Link: Oxfam Unwrapped
World Gifts (CAFOD)
Last order date for Christmas: E-cards sent instantly, last date for posted cards was 14 Dec 2013.
Types of gifts: Catholic aid agency CAFOD's gifts include a happy queen bee for £4 (brings more bees to a hive, giving more honey), teach someone to read for £10, a football training set for £10, or a £12 package of worms to help a farmer's crops.
What does the charity get? For every £1 donated, 78p goes to its international emergency and development work, 11p on education and campaigning, and 11p on fundraising and work management. Donations go towards funding projects in that gift's category, eg, livestock, agriculture and livelihoods.
RNLI Lifesaving Gifts
Last order date for Christmas: Thu 19 Dec 2013
Types of gifts: The Royal National Lifeboat Institution's charity gifts include protection for lifeguards for £5 (eg, a warm hat and summer patrol cap), 14 litres of fuel for a lifeboat for £10, a crew food package for £20, or specialised sea boots for £42.
What does the charity get? The RNLI uses money from the gift where the need is greatest. For every £1 donated, 83p goes towards its rescue service and 17p goes towards generating income for the charity.
Link: RNLI Lifesaving Gifts
WWF Adopt An Animal
Last order dates for Christmas: Thu 19 Dec 2013 (1st class)
Types of gifts: Adopt one of a range of animals from £3/month and receive three annual updates a year on your chosen species, plus a cuddly toy.
What does the charity get? For every £1 donated, 71p is used directly for conservation programmes and field projects, campaigns, education and raising awareness of environmental threats, 28p for fundraising and 1p on legal and accounting costs.
Link: WWF Adopt An Animal