Want to make a real impact with your charitable gift giving this year? I know I do. There is no shortage of worthwhile charities to give to, but for me, especially around the holidays, I want my charitable gift-giving to be a bit more personal than writing a check and sticking it in the mail to an organization on the other side of the country, or the other side of the world.  

Now more than ever it seems there are so many folks right in my own community who need help, and it's simply a matter of figuring out how to get the help I can offer to the folks who need it. A new website, called GiveLocally.net might just have the answer.  

GiveLocally makes it easier and faster to get personal donations into the hands of people in need. Basically, you log on to the GiveLocally website, read the stories of people in need and, with a few clicks, you donate. You can find recipients locally or anywhere in the country. Donations — in kind and not cash — are processed and given to the recipients within 72 hours. You can even check back regularly and see your gift listed and how the recipients are doing in attaining their goals.

All of the recipients are pre-screened so that you can feel confident that your dollars are going to a family or organization that is truly in need. The best part is that you can really see how your money will be spent to help someone in your community.  

As you would expect, there are lots of families on the site — single fathers, single mothers, grandparents struggling to raise their grandchildren. Most are just looking for help meeting their family's basic needs. There are also a number of nonprofit organizations; for instance, you could sponsor local women entrepreneurs in Miami, Fla.; a kids club in Atlanta; or the school music program in Redwood City, Calif.

Overall the site offers an excellent way to think globally and give locally so that you can help spread kindness throughout your community, and throughout the world.

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