Oh mama – this Mother’s Day saw supporters from a wide range of causes coming together to honor moms around the world with gifts that make a difference. From goats to cookstoves to immunizations for babies, a lot of people were paying it forward this Mother’s Day.

Oxfam America Unwrapped - Goat

I love this not only because having an inbox full of cute animals and babies is a fun way to end the week, but also because moms around the world get to benefit from these gifts for years to come – way after the expiration date for a box of chocolates (as if chocolates ever stick around long enough to make it to their expiration date…) These were my favorite untraditional and utterly adorable Mother’s Day gifts from this year’s offerings – which one would your mom love?

1. A goat

Don’t worry – this guy won’t chew on your furniture. But as Oxfam Ambassador Kristin Davis told supporters, it will give moms in rural communities a resource for fertilizer, milk, and food. Oxfam America Unwrapped has gifts perfect for any holiday – from Mother’s Day to graduations to birthdays and more. The versatility of this program and the myriad of delivery options – print-at-home cards, mailed cards, and eCards – make this an easy sell. Personal testimony: My sister and I got this goat for our mom and she thought it was super cute.

Mercy Corps Gifts - Mother's Day2. Reading, feeding, and women’s rights

For Mercy Corps, Mother’s Day is about giving others the same opportunities that your mom once gave you. Supporters pitched in for education for girls, women’s rights, breastfeeding classes, and more. It’s hard to look at these images and not think about where you’d be if mom hadn’t given you a great start in life – and then want to help other moms do the same.

3. A shot at life

The UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign asked supporters to give moms around the world the ultimate gift for Mother’s Day by helping them immunize more than 1,000 children against the four most dangerous childhood diseases. By Sunday, they’d exceeded their goal and raised enough to immunize 1,447 children. To celebrate, they shared this great photo by Anne Geddes, who happens to be an enthusiastic Champion for their efforts to save lives.

UN Foundation - Happy Mother's Day

4. Nutrition in a time of need

“Moms are moms – no matter where they’re from.” UNICEF’s Mother’s Day campaign connected the struggles and love of moms around the world, with a focus on the nutrition crisis in the Sahel region of West Africa. Supporters were able to send a child survival food pack to malnourished children and receive a card and magnet picture frame to pass on to their own mom. Along with their other themed gifts, these efforts served as a touching reminder that kids – and the moms who care about them – are at the heart of UNICEF’s work.

UNICEF - Child Survival Food Pack

5. Flowers Accion MicroMarket - Flowers

I know, I know – I said no flowers! But if you’re still itching to buy mom some beautiful blooms, pair them with a sustainable gift that gives women a hand up in building their own businesses. Accion lets you buy flowers (and lots of other great gifts including free-range chickens, cooking pots, bee-keeping supplies and jewelry-making materials) in support of a microentrepreneur who can use your gift as a seed (pun intended) for starting or building her own business. Added bonus: women who become financially independent tend to use their profit to ensure that their kids are well-fed, safely-housed and well-educated.

Mother’s Day may be over, but Father’s Day is right around the corner! And it’s never too late to optimize your virtual gift-giving program for holidays all-year round. Check out our whitepaper on how to make the most of your gift-giving program.