Posts Tagged ‘charity’

Good Done Great Manages Your Giving and Volunteering

iPhone in man's hand about to click on app iconGood Done Great is an online platform, and now a mobile app as well, that helps you track and maximize your philanthropic giving and your volunteering efforts.

They are the first mobile giving app to connect users to charities, corporations, and causes, and it streamlines your giving opportunities to a network of over two million non-profit organizations all around the world. You can also set up monthly giving arrangements in the app or GIVING savings accounts that will be tracked for you. You can do all this management yourself, of course, but the app leverages technology that brings lots of features into one place. Additionally, you can follow charities to see their latest programs and projects, search by name or location to find charities, and the app learns your preferences and recommends new non-profits that may interest you based on your history. You can also follow your employer’s impact with their giving and support of charitable causes.

Good Done Great also works directly with Fortune 500 and other corporations to help them maximize their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) efforts so they are able to increase their impact. They are a B Corporation and have, thus far, processed over $500,000,000 for over 28,000 charities globally.

Check out the website, and load the free app on your phone (Apple app store or Google Play) so you can simplify your giving and turbocharge the difference you can make.

Do Your Due Diligence – Give Well

coins stacked up in pilesSo many of us are staring the Tax Man down in these last weeks running up to April 15, and one of the deduction categories I am always wishing my wallet would allow me to use more is Charitable Contributions. I was able to donate more in 2015 than in some previous years, but wish I could support every race, walk, dance-a-thin, head shaving event, GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and volunteer gig that every one of my friends undertakes as well as the many issues and organizations to which I am already loyal.

When you are donating to a good cause, especially if it is new to you (or one you think you’ve understood for a long time…witness trouble with some of the largest charities in our country and how much of their donated money actually goes toward their mission), do you dig in a  little and find out more about them before you hit the digital PAY button or write your check? Please do–it is easier than ever to get the skinny on charities and non-profits.

One terrific tool to use is the online site Give Well is like other charity scoring organizations, but perhaps a bit more faceted and nuanced than the review sites that simply break down dollars toward overhead, administration, and service. Give Well focuses on a more modest number of charities for its examination—the ones they feel are most likely to succeed and best accomplish their mission. Then they take a deep dive and ferret out how an organization does on many levels, not just spending, but how they genuinely impact the world. Their analysis is evidence-based and thoroughly vetted, inclusive of open and transparent conversations with the organization themselves (instead of coming from a secret shopper separate status). Site visits and interviews with stakeholders mean the heart-driven business of a non-profit is not judged like a high schoolers GPA–numbers alone rarely tell the story we care most about–but on real change.

Check out the site, discover something new to engage your passion, and share what you find! We’d love to hear about what fires you up in the comments below.

#GivingTuesday, It’s The One That Counts

678948_33343200Black Friday

Super Sale Saturday

Cyber Monday

They are all just prelude to the important one, tomorrow, Giving Tuesday. Tomorrow, take a step back from the consumer cliff’s edge, and reconnect with your priorities. Support the non-profit organizations and charities that matter most to you. Yes, there’s been a ton of (deserved) bad press lately about some of the biggies: Salvation Army and Goodwill having strayed from their missions of doing what is best and doing, instead, what is best for them at the expense of others…but don’t let that dissuade or discourage you. Find a smaller organization with their fingers more firmly on the pulse of the communities they wish to serve, and lend your dollars. If you don’t have dollars, give hours, of volunteer service. Or give both. Times are tough for people, we know it all too well, and times are tough for charities too. Donations become optional and trimmed out of household budgets, and that is disastrous for foundations trying to make a difference. The end of the year holiday season is when most tax-deductible donations get made…but don’t wait until 11:59pm on December 31 to give…the holiday season is also the time of greatest need for many service organizations that ramp up their projects in an effort to bring some cheer to those in need. Is it a program for the hungry? Animals? Something through your place of worship or employer? (see if they have matching donations and double the good you do) Shelter? Disaster response? Working for peace? Service members? The elderly? Ecological issues? Disease prevention and education? Business and learning opportunities? Mentoring and teaching? Politics? Equality issues? Surely there is something that sparks your passion–something that if the Thanksgiving dinner table conversation got going, you could get fired up about sharing. Get behind your issues tomorrow, and give. Then jump into the comments section here on the blog and share who or what you are supporting this year. Some of us may be searching for inspiration–and this is how we can learn of the great work being done–from each other. Post on your social media as well–people do want to know what matters, and people do want to discover others are fighting the good fight as well.

Giving Tuesday

VH1 Do Something Awards Tonight

Tonight is the broadcast, on VH1, of the 2012 Do Something Awards. This is a national award for community service, honoring those under the age of 25 who are committed to making big changes in our world, and already moving mountains to do so. A whole lot of entertainment powerhouse performers will be on hand for the show to present awards and keep the evening moving along. Some of the big names on tonight’s star roster are Ben Affleck, Kristen Bell, Beyoncé, Will Ferrell, Kelly Osbourne, and Dax Shepard. The young finalists are an amazing and inspiring group of people who have created foundations and programs in their own back yards or across the world, to have a positive impact on the environment and social issues that are most pressing right now. Some of this year’s finalists are taking on issues in the Sudan, hunger, homelessness, arts education, artisans and sustainability, health in Nepal, international micro-grants, brain tumors, at-risk urban youth, classroom environmental education, and more. is a website I hope the young folks in your life already know about–it is a huge information clearinghouse that makes volunteering and being of service cool to teens and tweens, providing inspiration and direction for ways to get involved in your community, or maybe even start your own movement, like the people receiving awards tonight. Find out more, watch with a young person. Giving back really is the best thing going on right now.

One Hope: Wine, Travel, and Giving

This is a beautiful blend in my mind: Doing good, Travel, and Wine. ONE HOPE Wines is a wine company that gives a portion of every purchase to charity. It varies among the wines you choose, but donations average about 10% to 15%, sometimes as much as 50% (and the company additionally donates 50% of its profits to charities) per bottle. The causes also vary: breast cancer, autism, AIDS, children’s hospitals, environmental organizations, supporting the troops, and more. ONE HOPE has become the socially conscious wine choice for events like the Grammys, BAFTA awards, the American Red Cross Gala, VH1 Save the Music, and the Sundance Film Festival.

Where does the travel part come in? ONE HOPE has partnered with American Airlines –and American is featuring their Sauvignon Blanc on flights–for each bottle the airline serves, ONE HOPE will plant a tree in addition to the monetary donations, and shoppers who buy the wine via the portal get an additional 20% off the price. The Chardonnay is also served on AA flights, and 50% from those bottle goes toward breast cancer charities.

So book a flight somewhere fabulous for a volunteer vacation, toast your hard work while you are en route, and know that your reach is extending even further than you thought.

Giving Miles

This time of year, are you turning your pockets inside out to find nothing but lint? Wondering if you can stick an I.O.U. in a stocking that’s hung by the chimney with care? Believe me, I get it. I’m flipping sofa cushions looking for spare change. And we’re all so busy around the holidays that it can be just as tough to donate hours as it is to donate dollars to charities that depend on us.

You may, however, have an unexamined and unrealized resource to help you keep the spirit of giving going while not putting you in the red. Those frequent flyer miles that you’ve accrued but can never seem to redeem can be donated to your favorite charity or sometimes specific partner charities of the airlines. You needn’t open your wallet to make a difference. You can help without trying to get blood from a stone.

Your favorite charity may have  system in place to make use of your donated miles, and your air carrier’s website will have their own specifics for donating, but here’s a quick roundup of links to explore:

American Airlines Miles for Kids in Need

Continental Airlines OnePass Charity Partners

Delta Sky Wish

Northwest Air Cares

United Mileage Plus Charity Miles

US Airways Miles of Hope

Wide Awake

Pretty much anybody with a computer can set up a website, and while once upon a time you had to be a certified non-profit [501(c)(3)] organization to append your web domain with .org, now anyone can be a and fool us in to thinking they are a charity. I like to think that most are genuinely committed to the important, life-changing work as represented on websites, but a great tool would be an information source that vets charities to be sure they are really doing what they say. If I donate money to someone who says they’re building a school in Bangalore, how do I know that’s where my money goes, as opposed to some webmaster’s pocket?

Wide Awake is an online charitable marketplace and community where you can get involved in grassroots projects that are on the ground in the communities they serve. So far, their reach is limited–thirteen affiliate organizations in eleven countries, but each has been scrutinized for ethical practices and efficient use of funds. And these are tiny, world-shifting programs and projects that don’t get a lot of press or international awareness. Kenya, Russia, Nepal, Uganda Ukraine, Gambia…from hungry children to recovery from natural disasters, women’s empowerment to helping the developmentally disabled…you can feel confident supporting their work. Something here will tug at your heartstrings, and you’ll want to tell your family and friends.

Tell them already–what’re you waiting for?

Don’t Tread on Me

FamilyWShoesLRSoles4Souls is a charity putting shoes on the feet of needy kids and aduts across America and farther afield. They’re happy to take the donation of your new or gently used shoes and will give them to folks without shoes in disaster regions and particularly oppressed or financially struggling zones (from poverty pockets of New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, etc to Honduras, Mexico, and more).

In addition to accepting donations of revenue or shoes, they will help you arrange shoe donations, events, and drops in your area, and inspired volunteers can even travel with the organization for “shoe drops” to hand them out.

They currently work in 45 of the United States as well as 61 other countries. There are millions of people whose health and well-being could be improved by the simple protection of foot covering. Cuts, abrasions, burns, infection. How much do we take the old pairs kicking around our closets for granted? How many pairs of flip flops do we need? Just because those running shoes don’t put the spring in your step any more and you’ve replaced them, they can still keep glass and rocks from ripping into another’s toes and heels.

Soles4Souls makes it easy with drop off centers and mailing options, and your donations are tax-deductible.

What a concept to potentially see the corner of your closet again…and change some lives while you’re at it.

These boots were made for walking (not collecting dust).

Weird Day

With the untimely deaths of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, today is a day to perhaps take a look at the things in your life for which you are grateful. The president and first lady spent part of today filling backpacks with toys and fun gear for children of military personnel–part of their “Summer of Service”

What did you do? If Thursday wasn’t a day you could devote to making a difference, what can you do this weekend? Is it time to perhaps donate that old cell phone you stopped using once you upgraded? Cell phones are always needed by shelters and fire departments in many towns take them, erase personal information, change out the chip, and re-tool them to be useful only to call 911 or other emergency numbers. Your old phone collecting dust in the drawer can literally mean the difference between life and death for someone who cannot afford to buy such easy-to-use portable communication. Take out your sim card (the chip with all your stored numbers, text messages, photos, billing, phone number, etc) and lighten your load this weekend.

Making the difference between life and death is a fair way to spend a few minutes.

Check out these website links as a starting place:

Charitable Recycling

Shelter Alliance

Charity Guide

There are plenty more places to donate…


Rainforest SOS

Get involved…somehow…some way…get involved