Did you know that 41 billion gift cards went unused between 2005 and 2011? According to TIME magazine roughly $2 billion worth of gift cards went unredeemed in 2012. I had no idea. That means that the companies love us to buy gift cards because they will receive the revenue but very likely we won’t actually spend the card.
So what happens? Perhaps some of these cards actually get lost but others might just get forgotten in a drawer or file and since we don’t actually see them we don’t remember to use them. Perhaps setting an alarm on a calendar or making an appointment time to actually go spend the card would be a more likely way to utilize our gift money. Or perhaps we want to consider collecting all those unused cards right now during the holiday season and donate the cards knowing that it will go to a worthy non-profit with fine results.
A few years ago, I shared about a wonderful non-profit called Gift Card Giver helping those unused gift cards go to worthy non-profits. We actually did a gift card collection for my own daughter’s bat mitzvah ourselves and saw the exchange in action.
Here is what you do:
STEP 1: Use as much of your card as you want (or send a full card).
STEP 2: Write how much is left on your card using a permanent marker.
STEP 3: Place the card in an envelope and send it to Gift Card Giver at:
Gift Card Give PO Box 17628 Atlanta, GA 30316
Gift Card Giver collects all the cards and organizes them in secure bins by company name. Then Gift Card Giver gives the total amount of those cards toward a project, person or organization that can best use that gift card for a significant need. Sometimes, Gift Card Giver buys the gifts themselves and delivers the gift directly.
So go gather your new or partially used gift cards this holiday season and help them do some good rather than gathering dust in your drawers.
Note: When I posted about this concept originally nearly two years ago one subscriber commented about purchasing egift cards in the first place. This would save billions of pounds of PVC that gets thrown away and into the landfill each year. Another great suggestion from a reader.