I know it isn't Friday. But since I wasn't around this past Friday, I decided to catch up today (Monday).

This time of year, so many people are searching for the best gifts for their techie family members and friends.  I got to thinking…why not combine the love for gadgets with a philanthropic spirit?  Here are some great technology-inspired gifts that have the added benefit of helping others.

One Laptop Per Child.  Through December 31, 2007, you can participate in OLPC's "give one, get one" program.  For $399, you get one of OLPC's laptops for yourself, and an additional unit gets donated to a needy child in a developing country.  

Oxfam America Unwrapped. On Oxfam America's website, you can purchase items in the name of your friends or family members that people in any of Oxfam's 26 operation countries need. For example, you can donate the purchase price of a camel. Your friend gets a personalized card with a picture of a camel on it, and an impoverished village will receive the camel or other needed items.

Kiva Gift Certificates. We've mentioned Kiva on TBR before. It's a great website that helps individuals "connect with and loan money to individuals and small businesses in the developing world."  Now, you can buy your friends Kiva gift cards. These allow you to donate money to Kiva, while the recipient of the card determines how it is spent and what project on the site will get the loan. (You can find a similar program at GlobalGiving.com)

Send an eTree. Have a friend who's into virtual reality? Send them an eTree at Mokugift.com.  Here, you send someone an "eTree" (sort of like an e-card) for $1. Your friend gets an email with some info about the tree and access to their eIsland, where all their eTrees grow online.  At the same time, Mokugift plants an actual tree in the real world, helping the environment.

And since this post is about giving, I'll give you a bonus link:

NonProfit Shopping Mall. This isn't actually a gift…but it's a place where you can find gifts for others. This site aggregates products from online stores where you already shop, like Amazon.com, iTunes, and Target.  These stores then donate a percentage of the purchase price to a charity of your choosing.

Good luck with your holiday shopping. Maybe this year you can combine your love for technology with helping others.