Celebrate the Season by Giving Back: Five Lesser Known Charities to Donate To This Holiday Season

Celebrate the Season: Five lesser known charities to donate to this holiday season There are many reasons to love the holidays: the twinkling lights, the hot cocoa, the music. One of the best reasons for this season is that it encourages such a feeling of love and giving back. While you're busy stuffing the stockings of the ones you love, it's always wonderful to include a charity on your list. You can drop some spare change in a red Salvation Army bucket or spend time serving up a hot meal at a local soup kitchen. The internet also makes it very easy to give a monetary donation to any charity of your choice.

With so many different great organizations out there, how do you know which ones to give to? Bigger organizations get a lot of buzz and help a lot of communities with their outreach. Just don't forget about the smaller charities that don't have quite as big of a reach. Here are five lesser known non-profit organizations that are making an impact in communities around the world.

Five Charities to Donate to This Holiday Season

  1. Pencils of Promise: this worldwide organization builds schools and educates teachers in third world countries to provide education for all with 100% of online donations going to their programs. Different levels of giving allow you to decide where you'd like your money to go to (though it all helps make a difference!). They make it incredibly easy for you to donate or for you to set up a page for you to have friends and family donate in your name.
  2. She's the First: this global organization supports girls in low-income countries by providing scholarships so they can be the first in their families to receive a college education. She's the First works with campus chapters to fundraise with bake sales throughout the year, which also gives leadership opportunities to young college women across the U.S.
  3. The Shine Project: this Phoenix, Arizona area non-profit provides scholarships to inner city youth who are the first in their families to go to college. Founder Ashley LeMieux also created a jewelry line that employs the high school-ers to give them job experience and support as they continue through college. I have been in awe of Ashley's dedication to these students and her success with making a change in her community!
  4. The Appalachia Service Project: an organization that brings thousands of volunteers from across the country to build and repair homes for low-income families in Central Appalachia. In high school I participated in ASP and can personally attest to how wonderful this organization is. The volunteers are welcomed into the community and the families are incredibly grateful for the work we do. A monetary donation can go a long way to buy tools and supplies!
  5. Dancing Classrooms: this non-profit organization has chapters across the country to help students grow self-confidence and self-awareness through ballroom dancing. The group uses dance to teach essential life skills with in-residence programs in low-income public schools. Students learn to respect and teamwork and gain a sense of accomplishment. This is the kind of program I would love in my public school!

There is never a "wrong" non-profit to give to; every 504c3 organization has something valuable to give to their community and to the world. What is important is to give not just this time of year, but all year.