Why donations in someone’s name are popular gifts this year

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FOX43 reveals how making donations in someone’s name to local nonprofits might be the best gifts ever this holiday season.

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania – Americans gave a record last year and are on track to deliver more this year. With delivery delays and supply chain issues, charitable giving on someone’s behalf may become more popular than traditional gifts this holiday season.

FOX43 reveals how to maximize your holiday spirit and ensure your donation ends up in the right hands.

Against a backdrop of blue skies and rolling hills, Lancaster Farm Sanctuary in Mountjoy Township, Lancaster County, provides a paradise for animals once headed down a deadly path. Within a few years, the nonprofit has saved dozens of farm animals from slaughter, abuse, or neglect.

They take animals that have been captured by law enforcement during animal cruelty cases and rescue other animals that may have fallen from trucks destined for slaughter. Each animal has its own unique story – like Judd, a one-year-old calf rescued from a local dairy farm. Judd was born with a cleft lip, cleft palate, and several contagious diseases.

“He was very ill when he was young. Nobody thought it would work,” said Sarah Saluzzo, executive director of Lancaster Farm Reserve.

Judd spent the first six months of his life in the hospital. Donor dollars have helped Sarah and her partner withstand tens of thousands of dollars in vet bills. Now, he’s thriving in the sanctuary and has become a local celebrity. Jude’s story has captured hearts all over the world.

“We’ve had people traveling from all over the US just to meet Judd. Well, just look at him!” Sarah laughed as Judd threw a sack of hay away.

This holiday season, gift donations are becoming a popular choice in place of gifts wrapped under the tree. By choosing a local organization, donors can visit charities and see the real-world impact their contribution has had.

People can choose to sponsor a farm animal in the name of someone in the reserve or, perhaps, build stable Relationship at Greystone Manor Riding Therapeutic Center in Upper Lecock Township, Lancaster County. The nonprofit organization provides horse-assisted activities for children and adults with special needs.

“I often think that people are quick to put someone else in a crate, and when you put them with a horse, the horse doesn’t see all of those limitations,” said Stephanie Flick, Greystone Manor program manager. “It really opens the doors to possibilities and opportunities that weren’t there before.”

The organization’s horse adoption program allows Greystone Manor to accept all interested participants, regardless of their ability to pay. Horse adoption sponsorship dollars are used to provide food, daily turnout, fodder, hay, veterinary care, and horseshoes. Donors can visit the stables to meet the horses and choose the horse they would like to adopt.

“It is very exciting to see where your donation money goes in person and to meet the people who are directly affected by it,” said Jennifer Rommel, CEO of Greystone Manor. “And getting to know the horses that are directly affected by it.”

FOX43 reveals that charitable giving reached a historic level in 2020, despite the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. Americans gave a record $471 billion to charities last year, according to a Giving USA report.

GlobalGiving, a nonprofit that connects donors with other nonprofits around the world, has seen a 40 percent increase in the number of donations made in honor of someone through their honor cards.

This year was the biggest Giving Tuesday yet – and it’s a strong indication that people are giving more. GlobalGiving has screened more than 9,400 nonprofit organizations that receive funds through their foundations. It is a process that everyone must go through before choosing a charity to donate to.

“There is a risk of money being put in the wrong hands, either by accident or simply because people don’t necessarily look at the full picture of the charity,” said Donna Callegon, interim CEO of Global Giving.

More stores are selling gift boxes where you can adopt a big cat or other endangered species. Always read the fine print. In most cases, only a fraction of the retail price goes to that establishment and it’s not guaranteed that it will go toward what you intended.

The Gift Republic offers certification packages that work with charities such as the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) or Pandas International. However, only ten percent of the $30 gift will go to these charities, and if your chosen project isn’t available for any reason, the charity will earmark the donation wherever it feels the most urgent need.

So why not respond to the call of the wilderness a little closer to home? Donations are the driving force behind the mission at Wolf Sanctuary of PA in Lititz. They take wolves and wolf dogs from all over the country. Salvage cases can be anywhere from abuse of illegal property.

“We have 53 wolves and wolf dogs on the property and each one has a different personality and different quirks, so behaviorally, it’s really fun getting to know them all and really making them a part of our family,” said Joe Warker, animal care technician at Wolf Sanctuary of PA.

The nonprofit’s symbolic adoption program is an integral part of campus growth. Help them provide care for lovable creatures, conserve 80 acres and more, and carry out more rescues.

Bottom line: If you’re looking to give the gift that keeps on giving, South Central Pennsylvania is home to many unique nonprofits that need a little extra help at the piggy bank this holiday season. And the best part? You can visit and see the impact that donor funds have had.

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