You needn’t be a Rockefeller to participate in philanthropy, especially if you visit the sites listed below. Each one lets users donate to charity free of charge, providing both princes and paupers a way to give back. Many also have online stores, which offer tax-deductible holiday shopping options that let you reward yourself while you do for others.
GreaterGood Network: Easy Ways to Be a Do-Gooder
The granddaddy of free online charitable giving, the GreaterGood Network of websites is organized under the nonprofit site GreaterGood.org, which is owned and operated by CharityUSA.com. This group of online donation sites generates funding for a variety of charitable programs and includes the Click to Give sites, which offer you a quick, cost-free way to support these causes. Each Click to Give site donates money to a particular cause every time you click on a homepage’s “Click Here to Give – it’s FREE” button. Donations are funded by site sponsors and determined by the number of unique user clicks each site receives on a daily basis, with 100% of the money going directly to a designated charity. You’re allowed to click on each site’s donation button once per day; any more than that will not be counted. If you also have some money to spend, you can offer additional support by purchasing items from these sites’ online stores. Regardless of whether you’re in the money or out on a limb financially, make sure to stop by each of these sites and give them your support:
The Hunger – Since it began in 1999, the GreaterGood Network’s flagship Click to Give website has funded 500 million cups of food to feed the hungry throughout the world and averages 220,000 site visitors per day.
The Breast Cancer – This site’s funds help to provide women in need with free mammograms. So far, it has donated funds for 11,000 mammograms in the U.S. The site also generates research funding to find a breast cancer cure.
The Child Health – This Click to Give site helps to fund the efforts of national and international charities that provide critical child healthcare services. In 2007, it helped half a million children worldwide.
The Literacy – The GreaterGood Network’s newest Click to Save site, it was started in 2004 to promote children’s literacy. Last year, 28 million user clicks bought 307,000 books for children in low-income families.
The Rainforest – This site provides funding to several charities that work to preserve the world’s rainforests. In November 2008 alone, almost 3.5 million user clicks funded the preservation of 39.6 million square feet of rainforest, which is slightly more than 910 acres.
The Animal Rescue – Last but not least, this site donates money to feed and assist animals in the U.S and worldwide. In the six years since it was launched, it has funded more than 126 million bowls of food that were given to rescued animals residing in shelters and sanctuaries.
Other Sites to Visit During the Season of Giving
FreeRice – The sister site of an independent website called Poverty.com, FreeRice.com allows you to donate rice for free through the UN’s World Food Program in order to help feed the hungry. To donate, you’ll first need to play at least one of the site games, which will quiz you on various subjects that include vocabulary in several different languages, math, art, chemistry and geography. For each quiz question you answer correctly, you’ll donate 20 grains of rice to feed the hungry. That may not seem like much, but it adds up quickly, especially since the simple website games are surprisingly addictive. To date, site users have donated approximately 53.5 billion grains of rice.
Let’s Say Thanks – Even if you’re short on funds this season, you can still contribute a meaningful gift to a serviceperson who is helping to defend our nation’s gift of freedom for you. Sponsored by the Xerox Corporation, the LetsSayThanks.compostcard program is part of the nonprofit organization Give2TheTroops.org, which provides care packages to active members of the U.S. armed forces currently stationed overseas, many of them in combat zones. When you visit theLetsSayThanks.com site, you can choose from a variety of postcard designs, and then type in a message to an unknown serviceperson. You’re allowed to send as many good tidings of thanks and encouragement as you wish. Your postcard(s) will be printed out by Xerox and then sent along with others in a care package to a group of soldiers serving abroad. If you’re feeling particularly patriotic, you can also go check out Give2TheTroops.org and donate either cash or other goods listed on their Items Requested page.
Coupon Quiz – Another site where you can offer patriotic help, CouponQuiz.com helps military families stationed overseas. These families have limited budgets that make it difficult to afford groceries and other essentials. They can reduce the cost of their food bill by using coupons when they shop at military commissaries, but there is often limited access to coupons where they live. Coupon Quiz helps by donating $0.50 worth of grocery coupons to a specified overseas military basis (chosen on a rotating monthly basis) whenever you correctly answer one of the site’s trivia questions. It saves military families money on their grocery bills and lets you contribute to the effort without paying the expensive postage costs of mailing out them yourself.