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Byline: TONI WHITT firstname.lastname@example.org
This year there has been a proliferation of new gift card sites online offering gift givers a chance to feel good about their gifts and providing the answer to that age-old question about an appropriate gift for the boss or business client.
The idea is touted as a way to eschew the season of rampant consumerism, an opportunity to teach teenagers to give and a way to spread peace on earth by helping the less fortunate.
But it is impossible to know exactly how much good those gift cards do or even where they are spent because no one keeps track of it.
Lucy Bernholz, founder and president of Blueprint Research & Design Inc., which specializes in program research, design, and evaluation for philanthropic foundations, said the Internet has changed the way we give.
"It's becoming embedded in our giving," Bernholz said. "It's creative, but we don't know how successful it is."
Those who monitor giving say the gift cards are a good idea but they just do not know the impact they are having or who benefits most from them.
While most in the nonprofit industry like the idea, some say there needs to be more research in how they work and where the money goes.
"These things are so new; there's no one …