Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Take the Just 51 Bucks Challenge

According to the National Retail Federation, the average person will spend $510 on holiday gifts this year.  Some of those gifts will be wonderful and thoughtful.  But we’re willing to bet that at least some of them will miss the mark of "meaningful gift."

Many of our charity partners and the populations they serve are in greater need than ever this season.  In light of this, we challenge you to empower your holiday gifts and devote 10% of your gift budget to charity.  If we all dedicate that 10%, or $51, to Charity Gift Cards instead of "more stuff," we will play a vital role in closing the budget gap for organizations that do invaluable work in our communities.  Plus, we're confident that your recipient will appreciate the gift as much as the charities will!

Click here to learn more, and to take the Just 51 Bucks Challenge.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What's Your Silliest Gift? A Video by Reel Grrls

Our Seattle Local charity partner Reel Grrls made these videos last year on Black Friday.  They braved the cold outside a downtown shopping center and asked passers-by two questions:  What's the silliest gift you've ever received?  Who's hardest to shop for?

And after you've checked out the videos, tell us your answers in the comments: what's the strangest, silliest gift you've ever been given?  Who do you have trouble finding a meaningful gift for?

Cheers to the crew at Reel Grrls, who help guide and empower young women through teaching them the ins and outs of filmmaking.  And thanks as well to the amazing grrls who made the videos!  They do an awesome job--check out their other projects here.

Tisbest: What's the silliest gift you've ever received? from Reel Grrls on Vimeo.

Tisbest: Who's Hardest to Shop For? from Reel Grrls on Vimeo.

Happy Thanksgiving!
the TisBest Team

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Help us Pick a New Christmas Charity Gift Card!

Thanks for voting!  We're eager to see what you pick.  We will announce the winner on Friday, November 26th, just in time for Christmas shopping!

The TisBest Team

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Three New Charities in the TisBest 250

Tomorrow—November 17th—is National Philanthropy Day.  Well, okay, in some places it was celebrated on Monday… and in other places it’s Thursday.  And in more precocious locations, National Philanthropy Day was November 5th.  We figure it’s like the Orthodox calendar, where the dates don’t always line up but the effect is still the same.  Either way, we’re excited to make an announcement:

In honor of National Philanthropy Day(s), TisBest welcomes three new charities to the TisBest 250!

Nurse-Family Partnership is an organization that provides low-income, first-time parents with a relationship they can count on. A trusted, respected, and compassionate public health nurse visits the mom from the beginning of her pregnancy until her child is two years old.  The program has proven results including effective preventative health care, improved childhood development, and better economic self-sufficiency through a mentor-like role that the nurse plays in the mother's life.  Wow... just wow!

Operation Homefront, developed to support the families of deployed military personnel in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, provides emergency assistance to military families in need.  They give everything from food assistance to household appliances, and build a community around those waiting for their soldiers to come home.  They've also created support programs for those wounded in action.  Maybe I'm a crybaby, but the stories on their site always make me well up!

World Concern is a Christian international humanitarian group that does everything.  From microloans to disaster response, from digging wells to fighting human trafficking, World Concern offers life, opportunity and hope in 22 of the most desperate countries on earth.  They're incredibly well-respected, and effective in so many different ways.  A really impressive organization!

Keep an eye on the blog, as we'll be announcing even more new charity partners in the next few weeks.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Black November"?

Does it seem like Christmas has come earlier this year? 

No, we’re not noticing a marked upswing in levels of eggnog-related good cheer.  It is not snowing, nor are we already gathered to spend time with family, reconnect with friends, and gorge on traditional delicacies (like my little sister’s amazing orange-glazed cream cheese cake).  No, the part of Christmas that’s moved way up is the part that gets pretty stressful sometimes: the buying of stuff.

A number of stores started talking up “Black Friday” deals the week before Halloween, a sign that the retail industry is moving towards a “Black November” instead of relying on traditional post-Thanksgiving sales.  Wal-Mart, Loews, BestBuy, and Sears have already launched their Christmas bargains.  And Amazon’s “Black Friday” deals started last Friday, while in 2009 those sales didn’t start until November 23rd.

Sure, this might pump up retail sales in a down economy.  And people will have more time to find good deals on things they might really need (like a new plasma-screen TV—Dexter never looked so good!).  But it’s also likely to result in Christmas burnout much earlier in the season.  What do you think?  Do longer sales mean that people will ultimately spend more on stuff they don’t need, or is this a better idea than stampede-inducing midnight blowouts?