Seva Canada Society

Seva Canada Society

November 01, 2011 13:12 ET

Meaningful Gifts to Charities Like Seva Canada Are Preferred for the Holidays or Any Occasion

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 1, 2011) - Giving a gift that gives back, also known as alternative giving, is gaining in popularity. Rachel Zoe, fashion stylist and reality star, asked guests to give to charity in lieu of baby shower gifts and even Prince William and Kate Middleton asked guests to donate to charity instead of buying wedding presents.

An Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of World Vision showed that 8 out of 10 Canadians would rather receive something meaningful and memorable, with healthcare topping the list as one of the greatest human needs in the world today.

Whether it is for a birthday, a wedding, a baby shower, a memorial or the holiday season, alternative gifts benefit everyone: the gift giver feels good about supporting a cause that he or she cares about; the recipient gets a distinctive gift with a feel-good component; and the gift benefits an individual, family or community in need.

While we might not all have as much as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, most of us have more than we need. So much so that we have TV shows focused on our consumption like HGTV Canada's Consumed. With the holiday season fast approaching, a time that epitomizes our consumer culture, 51% of respondents said that they would be more likely to give a charitable gift as a holiday present according to a 2010 study by World Vision.

"We certainly didn't need more 'stuff' when we got married, so we invited our friends to make a gift to Seva's work in Tanzania instead," said Maggie Leithead, President and Chief Executive Officer of CharityVillage. "It made our big day even more meaningful to know that our celebration will have lasting, positive ripples on the other side of the world. It's wonderful that Seva and other organizations are making these opportunities available."

"This information is a welcome confirmation of what we have seen at Seva Canada. Our annual Gift of Sight Catalogue which outlines all the various ways people can support our programs and restore or prevent blindness in the developing world, has been gaining popularity year over year. The catalogue makes it easy for people to give a meaningful gift especially during the holidays when schedules get even busier. People can choose which program in which country they want to support. All recipients receive a card from Seva and the gift giver explaining how the money will be used and a story of someone who has had life-changing surgery to restore their sight," said Penny Lyons, Executive Director of Seva Canada.

A donor wrote to us this week, "When my cousins' wife passed away recently, I wanted to send the family a lasting gift as a memorial to the creative, artistic soul that she was. Through a donation to Seva I could give a gift of sight to a person in Tibet. A bouquet of flowers is lovely for a time, but this gift lives on. This gift as a memorial to her is a celebration of life and I know she would approve."

Giving brings happiness according to recent research at UBC. "Our research has shown that, contrary to most people's intuitions, spending money on others - in the form of gifts or donations to charity- leads to higher levels of happiness than spending money on oneself," said Lara Akin of UBC's Psychology Department.

Seva Canada's Gift of Sight catalogue can be viewed online at seva.ca or a printed version can be requested by contacting admin@seva.ca.

To view a full online media kit with downloadable images visit www.seva.ca/alternativegiving.htm.

About Seva Canada: Seva Canada is an international eye care charity based in Vancouver and founded in 1982 to restore sight and prevent blindness in the developing world. To date, Seva's partner programs have restored eye sight to more than 3 million people. Currently Seva Canada works in 9 of the poorest places in the world: Nepal, Tibet, India, Tanzania, Malawi, Madagascar, Cambodia, Guatemala and Egypt.

For more information, photography or to schedule an interview, please contact Ms. Deanne Berman.

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