Trio of nonprofits unite to laud charitable donations

WASHINGTON: Three nonprofit groups are conducting a mix of traditional and online media outreach - as well as enlisting celebrity spokespeople - to promote charitable donations as a form of "alternative giving" during the upcoming holiday season.

WASHINGTON: Three nonprofit groups are conducting a mix of traditional and online media outreach - as well as enlisting celebrity spokespeople - to promote charitable donations as a form of "alternative giving" during the upcoming holiday season.

Share Our Strength, Conservation International, and Heifer International have formed a coalition encouraging people to pledge online, at www.betterpresent.org, to give at least one donation to a nonprofit in lieu of a gift to a friend or family member. Gift suggestions on the Web site, which encourages donations to any nonprofit, include "Give a goat," "Save a lemur," and "Feed a child for a month."

"It's an awareness campaign about how powerful the dollar is - how giving just one alternative gift can change the world," said Share Our Strength director of development Amy Zganjar. "We think that if this takes off and builds a strong community that it could have life beyond the holiday season - say for Mother's Day, to give gifts to mothers around the world."

Media outreach is focusing on online news and entertainment sites such as Salon, Slate, and Daily Candy, with the aim of driving readers to the Web site, Zganjar said. The coalition members are also reaching out to the blogging communities of their respective areas to encourage posting of banner ads for the campaign or other promotion.

Marketing also includes a video posting on YouTube as well as celebrity endorsements, including Ted Danson, who is expected to participate in a Heifer International-sponsored SMT on December 7. Pearl Jam will also work with Conservation International in order to encourage its fans to take the pledge.

Share Our Strength is doing its outreach in-house, while Heifer is working with Dallas-based AOR Carpenter & Associates and Conservation International is working with Ketchum. Beaconfire Consulting created the Web site and is assisting with the marketing strategy.

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