By Tracy Evans
I have a long list of gripes but what working mom doesn’t? However, the problems I encounter in my little world are itsy bitsy compared to the gut-wrenching obstacles some people face in life. Honestly who cares that my daughter just spilled milk on the couch but me and my husband and maybe the dog? When you’re in the daily parenthood grind it’s easy to forget about life’s real dilemmas like cancer, global warming, or animal abuse. That’s why it’s so important to stay connected to what really matters: giving back. .
Now that we’re on the right track and thinking about the planet’s problems what do we do about them? While some moms (and dads) are very committed to traditional charity work I don’t have time or honestly the energy to attend fundraisers, join the peace corps or follow in Angelina Joile’s footsteps as the latest UN Goodwill Ambassador. But thanks to the internet giving back has never been easier. With a click of the mouse you can donate to your favorite cause in an instant.
Here’s a sampling of some fantastic sites:
Searchandgive.com : One of the easiest to use sites, Microsoft’s, Search and Give has just been revamped. It’s still free but now more user friendly than ever before. It’s also easy on your bank account. You don’t shell out any money for your favorite charity or school, Microsoft does. Every time you conduct an internet search at Search and Give a penny goes to your selected cause. Now that may not sound like much but it adds up over time. You can generate a maximum donation of $5 (or 500 searches) per month. Microsoft will then make an annual donation to your cause based on collective donations generated through the Search and Give site for that organization. There is no limit to how much an organization can receive. However, if the total donations for your chosen organization are less than $10 in twelve months from all contributors, those funds will be re-allocated to the American Red Cross. Simply go to the site, register, pick from over 800,000 non-profits and 100,000 public and private schools, then search and watch the money roll in.
Oneclickatatime.org : This is another great way to give back for free. The sites motto: “Help Us Save the World One Click at a Time”. It’s one stop shopping for click to donate charities. Instead of searching the web for charities that generate donations every time you click your mouse this site has gathered a list of all such charities. So you simply scroll down to find the charity of your liking. “Stop Violence Against Women”. Hit the link, and you will be taken directly to that organization’s site. Then click on the donation link. Congratulations your click just generated a donation for the charity. If you want to donate to another charity simply close the separate window to return to the home page. All funds are sponsor driven.
KIVA.org : This clever site provides business loans to struggling entrepreneurs. The ambitious men and women featured on the site are from all across the globe. Each has a great business plan but needs your help because they live in an impoverished part of the world. Some of the loan candidates need help getting a business idea off the ground others need help keeping their business going. After deciding who you’d like to help simply donate a full loan or just a partial one. And guess what? They pay it back. That’s right the loan receiver has a certain amount of time to repay the funds, usually six months. Once the money is back in your KIVA account you can then loan it to someone else in need. I told you it was a clever site.
Volunteermatch.com : If you’d like to volunteer for a good cause but don’t know where to begin check out Volunteermatch.com. Type in your city or zip code, charitable interest and the site will list local organizations in need of help. When I punched in my
ECHOage.com : If you’re a parent who shops at Whole Foods, uses recyclable bags and digs organic cotton chances are you’ll love this site. ECHOage promotes the budding philanthropist in your birthday girl or boy. Guests are invited to an ECHOage birthday party online. Instead of bringing a wrapped and packaged present, guests simply RSVP and give a secure online gift of money. Payments are pooled for the purchase of ONE special gift for the birthday child and to support ONE meaningful cause of the child's choice. ECHOage will arrange everything, so no need to drive, shop, wrap or even pick up the phone to make a donation. What's more, the birthday child's parents will receive a tax-donation receipt!
Of course, this is just a partial list of online charitable organizations. Don’t forget that traditional charities like the Red Cross also have a strong web presence these days. However you decide to spend your time and money online is up to you. So go head give back. Remember, every time you help somebody out you’ll feel better too. Promise.