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Gift cards can now serve bigger social purpose

December 28, 2010 7:29:43 PM PST
Time is running out for anyone who still has Christmas shopping to do and if you need an idea, here is where 7 On Your Side may be able to help. It's a new take on an old giving idea.

Most gift cards give the gift of shopping which is pretty nice, but this card gives the gift of giving.

This late in the shopping season, gift cards are looking like a pretty good gift idea. The gift card racks in Safeway are getting a good going over by shoppers. You know about gift cards, but probably not this one -- it's different. Causes Charity Gift Card lets you donate to your choice of one million charities.

"What we are trying to do is make giving more available to people. We think giving is a social activity. We call the gift card the gift of giving," says Joe Green from Causes.com.

Green heads up the social networking charity and activism site Causes.com. Now, there have been single-charity gift cards, but they didn't catch on. Where's the fun or activism in that? But this idea... people like it. Two shoppers 7 On Your Side interviewed both bought the Causes gift cards after hearing about them from friends.

"It is the season to give and hopefully something like Causes will be able to keep us in front of mind for the rest of the year as well," says Howard Steinberg from San Francisco.

"I feel like I will give it to people who want to give, like I have people in my life who would prefer to give to charities or organizations rather than get gifts," says Dana Clark from San Francisco.

Here's how it works... the recipient goes online to Causes.com, signs up, and then makes decisions on who gets, how much.

"It is like a game almost too. It's like buying somebody energy on some social networking game," says Clark.

"The fun factor is all a part of this as well, absolutely," says Steinberg.

"We not only have charities, we have specific impact projects. So you with your $25, you can feed a kid in India for a year or you can send a care package to the troops in Afghanistan. So there is a lot of impact people can have and the feedback we get is people really enjoy being able to choose that impact," says Green.

The cards come in $25 and $50 denominations and are only sold in California. They are also only sold through Safeway and Vons at this time.


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