Posts Tagged ‘donation’

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.

Giving Tuesday | Be Thoughtfully Strategic

pexels-photoYou likely already know that today is Giving Tuesday, designed as a respite for all that spending we do on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Today is a great time, at the end of year (important for tax deductions) and in the spirit of the season, to do a big portion of your annual giving and support of non-profits and charitable organizations.

Be sure you know and understand the mission and purpose of the organizations you support. Many of us have gotten into a habit of giving to the large organizations with broad name recognition, because we assume they do the best, most potent work. Often, this is thinking that is sadly off target. Some of the best known are the least efficient at service, with huge advertising and fundraising budgets, bloated executive director salaries, and more energy put into sustaining the company than in fulfilling the mission.

Check out your cause or foundation in the database of an impartial third party reviewer, like Charity Navigator. If you discover your favorite charity is not doing the work you thought they were, don’t get discouraged about giving, just know that there are others in the same space, serving the same mission, who run a little more leanly and effectively and could put your dollars to better use. Here is a great resource list of the Highest Rated and Lowest Rated Charities by Cause compiled by Charity Navigator.

Giving Tuesday is an important and highly visible campaign to create a NATIONAL DAY OF GIVING at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations. We had our day for giving thanks, a few days for getting deals, now it’s a day for giving back. It’s not just big organizations that are behind it, small, grassroots charities drive the engagement and power behind the movement. There are #GivingTuesday campaigns in countries all around the world, with thousands of partners with special initiatives and projects tied to this day, so it is super easy for you to get involved. Choose your favorite cause and give: time, money, both (or a commitment to show up and volunteer soon)…then spread the word…be audacious and vocal about your good deeds, it will inspire others. If you let the rest of us know what inspires you most and who you support, it helps us discover new gems we might embrace in our own charitable giving–and THAT is how you spread a movement!

ALSO:

Keep your eyes peeled this time of year for programs that allow you to give or give extra or match your donations with no effort or extra outlay from you. For instance, when online shopping at Amazon, if you simply log in by typing smile.amazon.com you will go through their charity portal. Choose your charity and every eligible purchase you make will automatically generate a donation to your cause, without raising your price or requiring extra effort. Here is a blog post with more detail.

You Can Always Help: Auto-Giving That Doesn’t Cost a Dime

I know that I am not exactly the same as every other duck in the pond, and I know that the charge I get, personally, from volunteering might occur as a drag for someone else. No harm in that on either end, but I am also always on the lookout for ways to make a difference in a passive, non-energy-draining way. A way to give that doesn’t take extra effort, extra time, or extra dollars.

Well, here’s one of those. When you shop at Amazon, and a gazillion of us do, try logging in a little differently next time. Type in: smile.amazon.com, and you will go to Amazon’s simple, automatic way to support your favorite charity. With no extra cost or effort to you, the shopper, Amazon will donate a portion of all your eligible purchases (most of them) to your chosen non-profit. The page auto-loads with some big, national, well-known charities (Red Cross, Wounded Warriors, etc), but if there is a smaller organization that inspires you, you can choose your own charity, and if they are in the registry, they will be your delegated recipient of the donations that don’t cost you a dime. You only need choose your charity once, next time you come back to shop via smile.amazon.com, it will be there unless you change it.

Photo: AARBF.org, Isaiah with camp counselor

Photo: AARBF.org, Isaiah with camp counselor

If you kind of don’t care one way or the other, but still like the idea of since-I’m-shopping-anyway-I-might-as-well-help-somebody…I have a personal recommendation. When you go to smile.amazon.com and can choose your charity, consider AARBF (The Alisa Ann Ruch California Burn Foundation). This foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of burn-injured children and adults with direct services, care, education, and prevention. One of the largest programs of many that happen throughout the state (but you don’t need to live in California to support!) and throughout the year, is Champ Camp, a week-long summer camp for burn survivors ages 5-16. I am leaving tomorrow morning to be a counselor for these kids that have genuinely changed my life.

From the AARBF “Burn Bulletin”:

For many children, summer is a joyous time of the year in which swimming pool parties, trips to the beach and backyard barbeques are essentials for the season. But for thousands of burn-injured children, summer can be an uncomfortable time of the year due to sensitivity to sunlight exposure, susceptibility to skin sun damage, painful dryness and itchiness of the skin, difficulties regulating body temperature and anxiety and fear of unwanted stares.

The healing process for most burn survivors includes skin grafts, physical therapy, long-term doctors’ care, special diets, daily dressing changes, pressure garments and, in some cases, prosthetics and/or wheelchairs. But in addition to the physical healing, burn survivors must adapt to their physical limitations; work through and heal from their mental and emotional scars; regain their self-esteem; assimilate back into society; and overcome their feelings of isolation with support from others facing the same issues.

Burn camps answer the questions asked after the doctors save the life of someone with a burn injury: How do you get a burn survivor back into society? How do you get their peers and others to accept their new appearance and abilities? How do you get people not to stare, not to make fun of them?

The work really matters, and if your Amazon shopping can help get one more kid to camp or into other important programs, I hope you’ll consider it.

See you after camp!

-MONKEY (that’s my camp name)

#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

Bike to Work

Today is Bike to Work Day, in fact the whole week has been Bike to Work week, encouraging us all to pump a little less pollution out into the skies and pump a little more blood through our veins. Don’t let it stop today, take advantage of the season and your own pedal power—you definitely won’t regret it.

There are lots of bike-based volunteer options out there as well…think about getting involved with on eof these or similar projects near you:

Community Cycles helps reclaim discarded bikes and get them “out of the waste stream” so others can enjoy the physical and community benefits of riding. It is based in Boulder, Colorado, but there are probably programs around you that have a similar empowering way to explore your own passion and help others as well.

The Volunteer Trail Safety Patrol works with volunteers to operate the volunteer bike patrol helping support and protect trail users and natural resources (plants, wildlife, trail quality) in San Francisco’s East Bay trail network.

Community Cycling Center in Portland, Oregon has volunteer opportunities for all of its two-wheel community programs, the most beloved being the “bike drives” where donated bikes are collected, repaired, spruced up, and given to kids from low income families.  Is there a program like this in your town? There certainly ought ot be–maybe you can start one?

There is a bicycle project open to volunteer sin South Africa (as a week-long volunteer vacation stint) through Oasis Overland that gives you the chance to support user-generated transportation in small communities. It helps small communities save time and reduce carbon emmissions.

Charity Guide has a web page dedicated to creating volunteer opportunities to get discarded bikes to the homeless. It’s a volunteer effort where you can make a difference with just a few hours of work in your community.

You can volunteer to do bike path and trail mainteneance, making sure everyone has safe access to biking in a region, like this volunteer project in Marco Island, Florida.

Every one of the big Bike-a-Thons, AIDS Rides, Rides for a Cure, and other one-day or multi-day, high mileage rides (including the Amgen Tour of California, going on right now, May 16-23…get involved next year in this statewide, Tour de France-style elite race to raise money and awareness for cancer research) is run by volunteers. These huge, super-organized charitable fund-raising efforts are Herculean tasks of volunteers along every step of the way. If you don’t want to ride in the saddle yourself and log mileage for a cause, make it happen for those who will. It is all in service to amazing charities, and both sides of the equation are required for success.

And when the bike is simply done, unrecyclable, can’t function as a bik anymore…there is still a great opportunity before it gets put out to pasture. Globe Aware has a volunteer vacation program in Siem Reap, Cambodia, where the week’s work includes building wheelchairs for victims of landmines form old bicycle parts, and delivering them directly to patients. Talk about changing a life!

There are so many more–this doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface–so today, on Bike to Work Day, even if you didn’t pedal into the office–use the day to be inspired to find a way to make a difference.

3 for 5

dropletJust a drop in the bucket—that’s all you need to be—and it makes a difference.

20 million drops creates a wave of change.

The 3 for 5 foundation is making it easy to help save millions of lives—many of them children. Every 21 seconds, a child in the developing world dies from a disease associated with dirty water—that’s 1.5 million preventable deaths each year. The foundation’s plan is straightforward. You donate just $5, then commit to discussing water issues with three friends, asking them to do the same…donate five and invite three of their friends. The goal is to unite 20 million of us and raise 100 million dollars. The website gives you all sorts of ways to better understand this basic problem and ways to talk about it with others—no PhD required, just a desire to share. Share opportunities to help.

Clean water, sanitation, and hygiene are within our grasp—we just need to recognize how simple it is to make a difference that truly will save lives and change the day-to-day existence of community after community.

It takes almost nothing for you to really make a splash.

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). http://www.soles4souls.org