∞ Make your gift count with Charity Checks

It’s been a tough year for all of us. I think most are ready to welcome 2010 with the hope of a better year, but there is still something we can do to help others now. And you can do it through an organization called Charity Checks. I spent some time this afternoon speaking with Lisa Sonne, who runs Charity Checks with her husband in Los Angeles, Calif. I walked away from the conversation feeling as though I learned something about what the holidays are supposed to be about — the spirit of giving.

Charity Checks allows you to purchase a donation and then give it to a friend, family member or co-worker. The person you give it to decides which charity actually gets the money.

To me, that makes a big difference. I’ve had people donate money to a charity on my behalf in the past, but it wouldn’t have been my choice. I appreciated the gesture, but having the ability to choose my own charity would have meant more to me.

Sonne said there are currently over 1 million eligible charities in the U.S. where Charity Checks can be accepted. Donations are available in $25 increments directly from the Web site or by calling the organization.

If you don’t live in the U.S., you can still purchase a Charity Check as long as the charity has an office in the U.S. I would recommend talking to Charity Checks directly if you are in this situation.

While you may think of donations as being a personal gift, many companies are giving them to their employees as Christmas gifts. Some companies are buying hundreds of Charity Checks for employees, according to Sonne.

The donations that you buy are tax deductible and you will receive a receipt when you make a purchase.

It’s worth noting for Mac users that the entire operation is run on a 15-inch MacBook Pro and a 13-inch MacBook. In fact, Lisa and her husband have been Mac users since the late 80s and haven’t looked back.

So, if you want to make a difference in someone’s life over the holidays, or any time of the year, there is an easy, efficient and heartfelt way to make that happen.