Help - FAQs
Below is a list of frequently asked questions about Changing The Present. If you
have a question that is not covered by this FAQ, please contact us.
ChangingThePresent.org and ImportantGifts, Inc.
Membership and Profile
Privacy and Security
Recognition for Donors
Shopping Cart and Checkout
What is ChangingThePresent.org?
ChangingThePresent.org and ImportantGifts, Inc.
ChangingThePresent.org is the website of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Important Gifts.
At the same time nonprofits have nowhere near enough money to fulfill their missions, Americans spend $250 billion Americans each year on birthday, wedding, and holiday presents.
We help channel to nonprofits some of that fortune.
You don't need to buy stuff to show your love. Instead, you can do something meaningful to make the world a better place, and we make the experience feel like a great gift. You can choose--and your friend will see-exactly what you want to accomplish. Wish lists and registries let you share with friends what you care about. Beautiful, personalized printed greeting cards and e-cards make it even more satisfying
Who is behind ChangingThePresent.org?
ChangingThePresent.org is the website of ImportantGifts, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. You can read more about ImportantGifts by clicking About Us from the top of each page.
How do I contact customer service?
Please click Help in the upper right corner of any page. There you will find this FAQ and a link to http://changingthepresent.org/feedback/new. Please describe your problem as clearly as possible. We will get back to you as soon as possible.
Are my donations tax-deductible?
Yes, all donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Please check with your tax professional for details. We email receipts for all orders, and you can also print out a receipt during checkout. If you sign up for a free username and password, then you can also view your order history and print receipts at any time.
How do donations work?
Visitors to ChangingThePresent.org make donations to ImportantGifts, Inc., a nonprofit organization qualified by the Internal Revenue Service as a §501(c)(3) tax-exempt entity. Donors may recommend that ImportantGifts grant that money to a specific nonprofit organization listed on the website and can specify the nonprofit should use the funds.
What percentage of my donation does the nonprofit receive?
ChangingThePresent.org passes 100% of the donation directly to the nonprofits. There is just a standard credit card transaction fee of 3% and 30 cents. This is the same fee nonprofits pay when you make a donation directly on their website.
When do the nonprofits receive the money that I donate?
We distribute grants at the end of the month following the month of donation. This distribution is subject to delays for such reasons as bank errors and credit card company holds or charge-backs.
Will I receive a receipt for my donation?
ChangingThePresent.org makes it easy to keep track of your donations. We will email you a receipt for your donation and a separate detailed breakdown of all the details of your donations and card purchases. If you join and create a username and password, then you can also print your order history and receipts at any time.
Will the nonprofit spend my donation money on the particular good or service I select?
All nonprofits displaying charitable gifts on ChangingThePresent must agree to the following:
1. All donation gifts must be goods or services or costs that are currently part of the nonprofit’s programs, and that it intends to continue.
2. If a nonprofit ceases to provide the goods or services or otherwise knows that it cannot spend in that way at least as much as it raises from the web site, it must deactivate the item.
3. The description and photo must accurately reflect what the nonprofit is currently doing.
4. The price must reflect the cost of providing that good or service, including the Transaction Fee of three percent (3%) of the amount of the donation, plus thirty cents (30¢), but not unallocated general overhead.
5. Participating nonprofits will endeavor to use donations they receive from ImportantGifts/ChangingThePresent.org in accordance with the directions of the donors. They may use those website donations to provide additional goods and services. Since we do not seek to control how they spend other funds, they may shift that amount of other funds from these uses to others. For instance, if a nonprofit planned on spending $100,000 for books for children and raises $10,000 through this website for that purpose, it may elect to spend $110,000 for books or shift up to $10,000 of funds that it would have used for that purpose to other uses. We want to avoid a situation wherein nonprofits spend less in total for a good or service than they raise for that purpose through the website. Of course, we recognize that needs change, so if, for instance, polio is eliminated, we do not insist that a nonprofit spends the money on vaccines that are no longer required. We also realize that there is sometimes a lag between the time of donations and the time the money can be spent.
Do you offer gift certificates?
Currently, we do not offer individual gift certificates. If you would like to buy gift certificates in bulk, please contact us.
How do I redeem a gift certificate?
To redeem a gift certificate, follow these steps:
1) Choose a donation gift on ChangingThePresent.
2) Add the gift to your shopping cart.
3) From the shopping cart, click "checkout."
4) Review your order and add a donation to ChangingThePresent, if you wish.
5) Click "continue."
6) In the Billing Information section, you will see "Click here to redeem a gift certificate." Click the link.
7) Enter your gift certificate code. The system will then locate your certificate.
8) Click "redeem now" to the right of the box where you entered your certificate code.
9) If the gift certificate amount is greater than or equal to the order total, you may skip the rest of the billing information section. If the gift certificate is less than the order amount, complete all fields in this section.
10) Fill out all fields in the Billing Address and Contact Information sections. You may leave "Address Line 2" blank.
11) Click "place order" to complete the order.
12) If your gift certificate amount was greater than the order amount, then you will receive an email with a new gift certificate code for the remaining balance.
Are the greeting cards environmentally friendly?
Yes. Our greeting cards and envelopes contain at least 30% post-consumer recycled fibers. They are completely biodegradable and recyclable, elemental chlorine-free guaranteed, and Forest Stewardship Council Certified.
Can I import multiple people into my address book?
Yes. If you have a Plaxo.com account, you can import all of your contacts to your ChangingThePresent.org address book by clicking "Import Contacts" from the address book. If you do not have a Plaxo account, you will have to enter each person into your address book individually. We plan to offer more options for importing large numbers of people to your address book in the future.
Can you tell me about the greeting cards?
When you make a donation in a friend's name, you can order a personalized paper greeting card to announce your donation. The cards are 5.5 x 4.25 inches and cost $2.75, plus 41 cents postage. When you order a greeting card, you can also choose to receive an e-card. Please note that unlike the donations themselves, greeting cards are not tax-deductible.
For the cover of the card, you may select a photograph and caption from our collection. You may also write a caption of your own. The inside of the card will display a photograph and description of the donation item on the top flap and your personal message on the bottom flap. Greeting cards do not state the amount of the donation.
We can send greeting cards directly to the person's in whose name you donated, or you can opt to have the card sent to your own address, to pass along to your friend or loved one personally.
Do you have e-cards?
Yes. When you purchase a printed greeting card to announce a donation made in a friend's name, you can also send an e-card. e-Cards are a great way to announce last-minute gifts. Just like our printed cards, you can choose to send the e-card to yourself (to print out or forward), or we can send the e-card directly to your friend.
How much space is available to write my own caption?
You may write your own personalized caption, which can be as long as 27 characters in length.
The inside of the card features your personal message on the top half of the card. The space allows 320 characters. Currently, we are not able to print non-English and other special characters. These also include symbols such as ", ', <, >, &, etc.
A photo and description of the particular donation item you chose will appear on the bottom half of the greeting card. The description will reveal specifically what the gift item provides and for what organization. For example: “A generous donation has been made in your name. With this gift, First Book will provide 12 books for children in the United States. These children join us in thanking you.” The photo of the donation will match the photo that accompanied the gift item you placed in your shopping cart.
Is the price of the greeting cards tax-deductible
Your donation is tax-deductible, but the cards are a purchase, and so they are not deductible.
What does the card look like?
The outside of the card features your choice of cover art and a caption. Images are provided for a wide range of occasions and holidays, in addition to several captions for your selection.
The inside top flap of the card features a picture and description of the gift. The bottom flap has your personal message and signature.
The donation amount is not included on the greeting card. However, each card includes the URL of a webpage to learn more about the gift. This is the same page that you saw when you made the donation, and it does include the price of the gift.
When will my greeting card arrive?
We print and mail cards each Friday (as volume increases, we will print more often). Greeting cards ordered by 5pm Tuesday are mailed out on the following Friday. Please allow additional time for delivery by the U.S. Postal Service.
We expect to increase the frequency of printing soon.
Will the dollar amount of the donation gift appear on the greeting on the card?
No, the dollar amount of the donation gift will not appear anywhere on the card. “Generous donation” will appear in its place.
The card includes a URL to a webpage with more information about the donation item. The text reads “For more information about this gift, please visit: http://www.changingthepresent.org/welcome/gifts/show/[gift number].” The text of this webpage does include the price of the gift item.
The card comes in a quality envelope, with your name and address, and that of the recipient, printed on the front (no impersonal mailing labels). The envelope will have a first class stamp (no impersonal postage meters).
How can I edit my profile?
Membership and Profile
Log in, then visit your profile by clicking "profile" on the top right of any page. From there, choose "Edit My Profile."
Is it free for individuals to join ChangingThePresent.org?
Yes! It's free! Click "join" at the top right of any page, sign up, and then you will be able to create a profile page, wish lists, registries, fundraising drives, and keep track of your order history and receipts.
How are nonprofits chosen for inclusion in this site?
We and our Board of Advisors went through a lengthy nomination, review and selection process to find outstanding nonprofits in each cause category.
Nonprofits were chosen based on the following criteria:
- A clear mission, vision, and sustainability strategy;
- A replicable model that could effect systemic change;
- Measurable goals and outcomes consistent with their mission;
- Transparency and a commitment to accountability to stakeholders;
- 501(c)(3) status (or equivalent, for international organizations);
- A mix of international institutions or programs, along with U.S.-based ones;
- A mix of large and well known organizations with others that are smaller or less well known; and
- A balanced approach to issues, geographical ranges, and goods or services provided.
We then heard from many nonprofits, asking to be added, and from many donors, who said they wanted to support their favorite nonprofits. We are therefore inviting all 501(c)(3) nonprofits. For information, please see www.ChangingThePresent-NGO.org
How can a nonprofit sign up?
To sign up as a nonprofit, please visit www.ChangingThePresent-NGO.org
How do I change the address on a nonprofit profile?
Please see www.ChangingThePresent-NGO.org
I love hearing from the nonprofits that I support. Will you give my name to the nonprofits that I designate?
Privacy and Security
I prefer not to receive mail from the nonprofits that I support. Will ChangingThePresent.org give my personal information to nonprofits?
If I give a donation in a friend’s name, will they start getting mail from the nonprofit?
No. We do not provide nonprofits with the honoree’s identity.
Is this website secure?
Yes. ChangingThePresent.org uses an SSL certificate for security on the page where you submit your credit card information.
Additionally, we make public only the information that you give us permission to share on your profile. We password protect all pages that have your private information, including address, and order history.
For added security, ChangingThePresent.org does not store the credit card numbers used.
How do I display on my profile the gifts that I have given?
Recognition for Donors
Each member has an Honor Roll on their profile page that shows which gifts they have given on ChangingThePresent.org. You can choose whether or not to display your Honor Roll by editing your profile.
Why isn't my country listed on the credit card form?
Shopping Cart and Checkout
We use PayPal to process donations. We currently accept credit cards from the following countries:
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States.
We are working to increase this list. If your country is not listed in the billing address section of checkout, then we are unfortunately unable to process your credit card at this time.
Why isn't my credit card working?
If you receive an error during checkout, please make sure that the address, security code, name, and credit card number are typed correctly. About 95% of our shopping cart errors occur when PayPal tries to verify the billing address on credit card transactions. This system is especially strict to protect our visitors.
Will I receive confirmation of my donation?
Yes, we send email receipts for all donations and greeting card orders. If you do not receive email confirmation soon after placing your order, please check your email's spam (junk mail) folder. To prevent receipts from ChangingThePresent.org appearing in your spam folder, please add email@example.com to your list of safe email addresses.
If you receive an error after submitting your order, and you do not receive an email receipt soon after you placed the order, please contact us to confirm that we received your order.