Recently, Consumer Reports published an article pointing out some potential disadvantages of charity gift cards (gift cards which allow a recipient to designate one or more charitable recipients of the value of the gift card). Today, several gift card issuers fight back.
In a press release dated December 8, 2009, three of the largest charity gift card issuers claim that Consumer Reports is using incomplete research for its editorial, and that the report is driving money away from charities at a time they need it most.
The three gift card issuers behind the release include: CharityChoice, JustGive and TisBest.
The founder of Social Venture Partners, and an expert on charitable giving, Paul Shoemaker states that
It just doesn’t make sense for Consumer Reports to dismiss the entire Charity Gift Card industry in one fell swoop. In our experience, Charity Gift Cards introduce many potential donors to charitable organizations that they otherwise would not connect with. That is a good thing at a time when so many non-profit organizations are struggling to survive. There are some excellent Charity Gift Card operators out there – in fact, here at SVP we sometimes use Charity Gift Cards as staff gifts, and they love them.
The founder and Executive Director of JustGive (Kendall Webb) adds:
At our organization, we offer many services and Charity Gift Cards are one of them. Around the holidays, we issue thousands of Charity Gift Cards, and I can count on one hand the number of dissatisfied Charity Gift Card users. I wish Consumer Reports had done a better job in its research. Charity Gift Cards are a great innovation in charitable gifting.
Finally, Susan Messina, Director of Development Communications for the National Hospice Foundation, thinks Charity Gift Cards offer a real opportunity for her organization to broaden its reach, stating:
It’s not just the funding. Yes, the Charity Gift Cards provide us with a new source of financial support that we could not otherwise reach. In addition, having our organization listed on the TisBest site is an endorsement; we proudly put the TisBest logo on our Web site. Also, we think that Charity Gift Cards can start conversations about philanthropy among friends and family-and increase awareness about National Hospice Foundation and our mission.
The bottom line? We’d rather see people donating to charities (no matter the mechanism or means) than not donating. Charity gift cards make donations easy. Sometimes its worth a few fees for convenience, particularly when the convenience results in money getting to people in need.
See the full release here.