Giving Plastic: A Look at Holiday Gift Cards

50% of all gift cards are purchased for Christmas, and most gift cards are purchased for family and friends. With a majority of Americans saying they are more likely to give a charitable gift this holiday season and 4 in 5 adults preferring to receive a “meaningful gift”–it’s worth asking: how are you integrating gift cards into your fundraising strategy?

Selling Good Online and Off

Holiday gift cards are nothing new. Just last year, Causes started selling gift cards in Safeways and Vons supermarkets. Facebook followed suit shortly after by launching Facebook credits. The idea? Integrate offline components into marketing activities to increase demand and inspire good online and beyond. This year, even the government gets in on the action by offering gift cards that can be redeemed in state parks.

Gift Cards: A Local Case Study

Some nonprofits offer their own gift cards. The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation (GKCF) is one of them. Launched in 2007, the cards were launched as a way to spur giving to local nonprofits in the Kansas City region. The cards are available in multiple designs which is key to increasing transactions. GKCF also works with corporate partners to develop private label giving cards for companies to offer to employees, stakeholders and clients. As Roxie Jerde, Senior Vice President of Donor & Nonprofit Relations for Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, was quoted in the Stanford Social Innovation Review:

“Lavish corporate gifts seem hollow this year . . . Plus, when businesses made a charitable contribution to the charity of their choice, the recipient, while thinking it was nice, didn’t find it personal. Since personal passion matters in philanthropy, it is a real plus when the recipient can choose the charity.”

In 2007, more than $67,000 was sold and over $93,00 was sold in 2008. Today, GKCF’s gift card program continues. “Grandparents in particular love to buy them as stocking stuffers, as kids are so adept online, “ said Jerde in the same SSIR interview. “Kids have a great time finding a charity. Plus it is fun for the grandparents to hear which nonprofits kids chose and why.”

Share the Joy of Giving and Network for Good both offer gift card giving options. Mightycause itself recently asked itself this very question. New this year, you can now give the gift of giving using Mightycause’s recently launched holiday gift cards. With Mightycause’s holiday gift cards, you:

  • Pick the donation amount
  • Print or email a personalized card
  • Your recipient chooses their favorite nonprofit

In the private sector, 72% of people who receive gift cards spend more money than the dollar value on the actual gift card. Perhaps we can inspire more giving by further integrating the use of gift cards in the public sector.

How are you and your organization integrating the concept of gift cards into your giving? Have you seen success?