Tag Archives: charities

Featured giftbug Registry: American Belgian Malinois Rescue

Meet Eos and Selene, two A-DORABLE girls and today’s featured giftbug registry. These rambunctious sisters are settling in with their new foster family through the American Belgian Malinois Rescue organization, and they are using a giftbug registry to get out the word on how to help with a very special cause.

Eos and Selene
Ooh those faces! What a pair of sweetie pies!

The American Belgian Malinois Rescue is a dog rescue organization dedicated to providing foster homes to American Belgian Malinois who come from shelters, animal control or owners who can no longer care for them.  While being loved and cared for in their foster homes, a band of dedicated dog lovers works tirelessly to match these dogs to a forever home.

Eos and Selene’s Story

At 14 weeks old, due to their obvious physical problems including locomotive issues, balance and focus, Eos and Selene were surrendered to animal control by their breeder. The American Belgian Malinois Rescue (ABMR) stepped in and removed the sisters from the shelter and placed them with their foster family. ABMR is determined to give these girls every opportunity for a normal puppyhood. With the help of doctors they have created a very ambitious plan to address Eos and Selene’s physical challenges. This plan includes multiple therapies and activities focusing on stability and balance. And we are so excited for the role giftbug is playing in supporting these rambunctious baby maligators (nicknamed for their mouthy puppy antics.) 

screenshot of giftbug registry

A Gift Registry for a Cause

I love seeing how giftbug’s flexibility is able to shine through this very special registry.

Their giftbug registry allows ABMR to go beyond asking for monetary donations and highlight the specific needs of this case and these dogs. Their giftbug registry allows them to share a story, Eos and Selene’s story of how they came to ABMR and their special needs, which in this case includes swim therapy and various stability training gear. ABMR regional coordinator Carol Aulick and her team customized this registry by uploading photos for each item and took full advantage of the Description field adding many personalized details, even uploading a YouTube video of a swim therapy session with Eos and Selene.

“Giftbug is a great resource to bring awareness to what it takes to care for abused, neglected and unwanted dogs.  A lot of people understand that these rescues require vaccinations and spaying/neutering but many dogs come into rescue with special needs like Eos and Selene, requiring a different level of care to help them overcome their past.  It also enables people to direct their contributions in a way that is more engaging.”

-Carol Aulick, ABMR Regional Coordinator

To help Eos and Selene with their treatment, visit their giftbug registry. If you would like to find out more about adopting a Belgian Malinois through ABMR, visit the website for American Belgian Malinois Rescue.

And if you have a charity or organization with a wishlist, I want to help! Email me at shannon@giftbug.com for one-on-one assistance in setting up a giftbug registry of your own.

Some Sweet Facts About Halloween Candy

It’s October 31st and that means most kids (and many adults) have one thing on their mind – – CANDY!

So let’s talk candy with the help of Rebecca Harris, director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University and a contributor to the program Essential Pittsburgh on Pittsburgh’s NPR news station.

Rebecca recently sunk her sweet tooth into The Business of Halloween Candy for a story on Essential Pittsburgh and now she’s graciously sharing some of the sugary highlights with us.

The Sweet Truth About Halloween Candy

There is no shortage of holidays that prominently feature candy in their festivities (umm…no complaints here!) And with Christmas, Easter and Valentine’s Day keeping the candy aisles hopping, it’s still Halloween topping the charts for candy sales.


Business of Halloween Candy

Is that sweet tooth aching yet?

Because when trick-or-treating is over and it’s time to shake out the pillowcases and dump out the plastic pumpkins, what can we expect to find in there? For the average U.S. child, 3,500 – 7,000 calories of treats and goodies.

And let me be clear, I’m not anti-sweets. I’m soooo not anti-sweets, but that’s still a lot of candy coming your way. And if you’re like me you may find that hiding or saving candy for later never works; those deliciously wicked Snickers, Twizzlers and KitKats  will tempt you, tease you, and call your name from whatever deep corner you’ve stashed them.

So with Rebecca’s help we’ve got you covered with some ideas for sharing, experimenting and swapping that leftover halloween candy.

7 Creative Ideas For Leftover Halloween Candy

  1. DONATE to your local Ronald McDonald House – they accept wrapped candy for patients and their families. Contact your local chapter for details on how to donate in your area.
  2. DONATE to a local Food Pantry or Emergency Shelter
  3. DONATE candy to our troops –  Operation Gratitude organizes a program for collecting and donating sweet treats to the troops. Their website provides guidelines and instructions. Hurry – the candy needs to ship by November 15th!
  4. REVERSE TRICK-OR-TREATING – contact local children’s hospitals, hospital pediatric wards and nursing homes about opportunities to come trick-or-treat and GIVE your treats to their patients and residents. Now that’s what I call treating!!
  5. TRADE with a local dentistThe Halloween Candy Buy Back Program is supported by local dentists who trade cash and prizes for candy. The dentists then ship the sweet loot to the troops overseas (they probably slip some toothbrushes and dental floss in there too…)
  6. EXPERIMENT – You don’t want to miss candy science experiments like The Incredible Growing Gummy Worm and Floating M’s and S’s. Check out the Candy Experiments website and book.
  7. BUILD a candy city – Why wait until December to start building a house of gingerbread?! Bite-size candy bars are like little edible LEGO blocks.


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We’re More Than Just Holidays

Giftbug was 4 months old yesterday! Those 4 months have flown by in a blur and here
we are flying head first into the Christmas holiday season. And in the coming weeks we will continue to send you tips and ideas for using giftbug to the fullest for your family’s holiday gift giving.

While the Christmas carols have been piped into our malls for weeks now and the holiday lights begin to make an appearance on lamp posts, we still have an important holiday before the Christmas season is  officially in full swing. I’m certainly counting down the days until Mom’s filling (aka “stuffing”) hits the table!

And it’s in the spirit of Thanksgiving that I’m really excited to use our powers for good – the greater good and introduce you to a way to take giftbug beyond personal gift registries and share it with some of the amazing charities providing a hand up to our neighbors, our
military and our 4 legged friends, just to name a few.

Passion took over and we got a little carried away with examples!
Passion took over and we got a little carried away with examples!

Check out our sample registries on giftbug.co

There are so many things that I love about giftbug, and they translate to a powerful tool for charities:

1. You can link to any item on any website and you aren’t just limited to shop in one location

A 6-pack of soup from Amazon for a food pantry, apparel from Dick’s Sporting Goods for a soldier’s care package, a blender from Bed Bath & Beyond for a Women’s Shelter.

2. You can actually link to ANY web page; to an existing wish list on another website like Amazon or Barnes and Noble or directly to a cash donation link on your charity’s website.


I mean SERIOUSLY who can resist making a donation with that face?! (And yes, this was an excuse to show you the cutest photo of Bella ever.)

3. You aren’t limited to just web links. You can upload personal pictures and type in information about a gift (ex: request for homemade items, gently used items, etc)

The first 2 examples above show how you can use the links to add personal pictures and information about the charity or the gift registry. The 3rd picture is a gratuitous excuse to show a super cute picture of Bug but also a great example of using a personal picture and then writing a description of your charities need (in this case toys for the dogs at an animal shelter or rescue).

4. You can create your own categories to customize your gift registry to your organizations individual needs.

5. With our description field you can enter information that tells a story about who will use the items, why they are needed or just specific information about sizes, colors, etc.


6. The I want this too! button means that patrons of a charity can add the requested items to their personal gift registries and let friends and family know how they can help the charity.

7. Giftbug is easy to use and that means charities can easily update their giftbug registry to keep their wish lists current.

8. Impulse buying for the greater good! The ability to purchase an item online and have it sent directly to a charity means I can do it right now and I don’t have to wait until I have time to go out and pick up the items and drop them off at a location.

I hope you’ll check out our sample registries on giftbug.co and share the information with the charities that you support. Sample-Animal Rescue Organization has the most detailed examples. We are a small, dedicated and passionate team, so any questions can be directed to me personally shannon@giftbug.co

Celebrating Veterans Day


Here at giftbug we get to celebrate a lot of neat holidays; the traditional, the obscure or goofy, and occasionally a reverent holiday. Over the past months I’ve enjoyed putting together a few gift lists and I couldn’t let today pass without putting together some thoughts on today’s holiday.

Veterans Day is a holiday of great thankfulness where we honor the amazing men and women who currently serve and have served our country. Obviously they deserve our gratitude, thanks and appreciation 365 days a year, but if on this day you are looking for a way to honor our national heroes, here are just a few suggestions that I have put together after talking to several service members and their spouses.

The Wounded Warrior Project
This was the first organization mentioned every time. Their mission is to honor and empower our Wounded Warriors. They provide programs and services to injured service members.
Visit their website

The Gary Sinise Foundation
“The things he and his foundation have done for service members are extraordinary, from the shows that his Lt Dan Band performs around the globe for service members and families to building specialized homes for quadruple amputees.”
Visit their website

The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
“This is another great and less known organization to civilians. They help with financial relief to active duty members and families, whether it’s through a loan to buy groceries or assistance to purchase a plane ticket for a family emergency.”
Visit their website

The Army Emergency Relief Organization
AER is the Army’s own emergency financial assistance organization and is dedicated to “Helping the Army Take Care of Its Own.”
Visit their website

Donate Your Frequent Flyer Miles (Fisher House)
You can donate your unused frequent flyer miles to wounded or ill service members and their families. The program “Operation Hero Miles” provides airline tickets to service members, or to their family members allowing them to travel to where the wounded soldier is receiving treatment.
Visit their website

Provide Phone Calls Home (USO Operation Phone Home)
This USO program provides prepaid international phone cards to deployed troops allowing them to stay connected to their family and friends.
Visit their website

Pick Up the Check
This one actually got me a little verklempt, I’ve never had the opportunity to do it myself. It’s a very personal gesture, and as you can see a very meaningful one for our Veterans.  “The most moving thing personally that has happened twice, is to be out to dinner and be told that someone already paid our tab and thanked Jeremy.”
-Dani, U.S. Marine Corp. spouse, currently stationed in Japan



Raising Awareness For A Favorite Charity

Looking ahead at October holidays there are a lot of crazy ones listed on the internet (and if they’re on the internet, they must be true.)

Did you know that October is Sarcastic Month? Although, I’ve been celebrating that one all year. October is also Eat Country Ham Month, Cookie Month, and National Pizza Month; none of which are going to help Shannon with her self-proclaimed holiday “Get Your Butt Out the Door and Run Month.”

As with all months there are also a lot of important awareness holidays that remind us that there are people and organizations doing great work to help others who may be struggling, in pain or in need of a hand up. Some of the notable holidays in October include:

* Adopt a Shelter Dog Month
* Breast Cancer Awareness Month
* Domestic Violence Awareness Month
* Fire Prevention Week, Oct 6-12, 2013

You can create a gift that suggests donations to a cause close to your heart.

One of the things that we love about giftbug is the flexibility that we built into our registries. We know you’ve heard us say before that you can link to an item on any website.  Of course this means that you can also link to your favorite charity.