If you are reading this now, then of the world’s 6.8 billion people, you are likely one of the lucky ones. You have Internet access, a computer, a roof over your head, and likely planning some holiday shopping this year. By spending consciously, your consumer power can change the world.

Did you know that in the United States more than 70% of holiday gifts end up in the landfill within 6 months? Much of those are plastic toys that will remain on this Earth for hundreds of generations. Is that a legacy we want to leave behind? Your money really could be much better spent. 🙂

Below are 11 great holiday gift programs that benefit nonprofits and make the world a better place:

1. Oxfam America Unwrapped: Unique charitable gifts that do good. Gifts range from $12 to $10,000. You’ll receive a free card with the image of your specific gift. You can personalize the card online and have it sent directly to your friend or loved one. Or you can have the card delivered to you to write your own message. View Gifts. [In the UK]

2. Species Adoptions from the World Wildlife Fund: Give a gift that helps protect life on Earth. Adoption Kits range from $25 to $250. All kits include an adoption certificate, photo, and species information card. With a $50 donation, the kit includes a plush toy. These make great gifts for kids and people that love animals. View Gifts.

3. Hope Gift Book from St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital: Get into the holiday spirit with ornaments, decorations and other gifts that inspire hope and help fight childhood cancer. 100% of profits after related expenses benefit the children at St. Jude. View Gifts.

4. NPR Shop: Ideal for the people in your life who are fans of NPR, every purchase supports NPR programming. View Gifts.

5. Gifts of Hope by Heifer International: Choose a meaningful gift to give a loved one and help children and families around the world receive training and animal gifts that help them become self-reliant. Gifts range from a flock of chicks for $20 to a heifer for $500. View Gifts.

6. Global Exchange Fair Trade Store: With beautiful gifts fairly traded from producers all over the world, the Global Exchange Store is the online source for socially responsible goods. View Gifts.

7. Defenders Marketplace: Show your love of wildlife  and help fund effective programs that save endangered wildlife and its habitats for future generations to enjoy. From ornaments to stamps to wildlife adoption, the Defenders Marketplace is a good place to start your holiday shopping. View Gifts.

8. Save the Children Gift Shop: Give the gift that gives twice. Buy a gift for family or friends and help Save the Children at the same time. View Gifts.

9. Global Goods Partners Fair Trade Gift Shop: Shop for change! The gifts that you give and the items in your daily life all provide an opportunity to contribute to a movement for global justice, be it the paper you write on or the bag in which you carry your groceries. Beautiful gifts, great cause! View Gifts.

10. ShopKomen.com: Purchase with a purpose to help end breast cancer forever. 25% of your merchandise purchase price will benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure. View Gifts.

11. ASPCA Store: Help the ASPCA provide refuge to the million of unwanted pets in America by purchasing holiday gifts for the animal lovers in your life from the ASPCA Store. View Gifts.

I know there are many others. Please feel free to post them (with a link) in a comment below. Thank you. Happy holidays, and happy shopping!