Compiled by Rebecca Lattanzio, posted Sept. 23, 2010
1. Freerice.com — Free Rice is a non-profit website that is dedicated to ending world hunger and educating people. It is run by the United Nations World Food Program and has gained a lot of national recognition. The concept is simple, you participate in a vocabulary guessing game on the site. For every word you correctly guess the meaning of the UN World Food Program donates 10 grains of rice to the world hunger cause. It is such a simple idea that has become so helpful and addicting to many. Free Rice’s main goal is that everyone is able to participate even if you don’t have the money or resources to make your typical donations to charity groups.
2. charitynavigator.org — Charity Navigator is probably the most useful site on this list to the general public and to journalists in particular. The site details the financial state of charity organizations as well as their mission statements and their rating in relation to other charities. Their goal is to allow people to be smart donors and fully understand where their money is going. Charity Navigator even lists the leaders of each charity and how much money they make personally from the organization. Some of the best features of the site include a world map that allows you to look at the charities that are running in each nation and the tips and resources section, which provides articles like “Tips on Giving in Times of Crisis,” and “Guide to Donating Noncash Items.” The site is extremely helpful for donors and can be a great resource for journalists covering the working of a specific organization.
3. peaceloveworld.com — Peace, Love, World is a clothing company based in Miami whose mission is to promote the very ideas it’s name features. The site as well as their physical store locations sell clothes for men, women, children, and dogs as well as cell phone covers, bumper stickers, footwear, and stationary. Even though the entire company is dedicated to promoting a positive message my favorite part of the site is its ‘PLW Gives Hope’ section. Here customers can buy a funky t-shirt titled One Love One World. 100% of the proceeds from this shirt are given to Haiti relief funds. They also sell the Love and Hop shirts that support breast cancer charities like the Susan G. Komen foundation and the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. They also have an entire line of clothing and accessories dedicated to raising awareness of the dangers of texting and driving. PLW is a fun way to give back and, as a South Florida local, I love that is based out of Miami.
4. dogreatgood.com — Do Great Good is a metasearch engine powered by InfoSpace. It branched off of the Dogpile search engine and donates half of its income from each search to charities across the nation. Do Great Good started as a smaller site dedicated to helping abandoned and sick animals so its donations are focused on these charities like the American Kennel Club and the Missing Pet Partnership. As it has grown however Do Great Good has expanded and is now donating to groups like the American Hospice foundational and Doctors Without Borders. The sites search results are not very extensive, but for a general or quick search I don’t see any better alternative. Every time you search something Do Great Good reminds you of the difference you are making with a little note at the top of the screen that says “Thank you. Your search has helped support charity!”
5. ecorazzi.com — for anyone that reads blogs like Perez Hilton that log pop culture events in a fun and playful way there is now an eco-friendly alternative. Ecorazzi is the self-proclaimed “latest in green gossip.” Unlike most green sites that can get bogged down with dull recycling tips, Ecorazzi has a colorful interface and includes video clips, photos, and blog entries with witty titles like “Lady Gaga Meat Dress, The Latest in a Long Line of Fleshy Fashion Getups.” Ecorazzi was launched in 2006 and looks to lighten up the green conversation while still promoting a cause. The site has earned several awards and has been mentioned in the likes of Time and Glamour magazines.
6. warchild.org.uk –- War Child is a small organization with a huge mission. The charity works to raise the level of protection given to children in violent, war-torn countries. They currently work in Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. War Child prides themselves on being the charity organization that stays behind even when the dust and bullets have settled by reintegrating child soldiers with their families, and removing children from adult prisons in war zones among other things. War Child is the only child protection service remaining in some of these countries. The most interesting thing about this site and organization is how they get people involved. They have used music. They have released compilation albums, which include artists like Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney, whose proceeds go to War Child’s projects. They have had benefit concerts with artists like Lily Allen, and they have a “download to donate” link where you can download music and help the cause at the same time.
7. igive.com — iGive is an online shopping site that boasts the motto “You shop, they win!” With iGive you can choose your favorite charity, register with an iGive username and shop more than 700 stores online. With each purchase you make a portion of the proceeds go to you chosen charity. Unlike a lot of these similar sites iGive includes the stores that you probably shop in throughout your regular day anyway, they are well-known and well trusted brands that you wouldn’t be weary to shop online with in the first place. Some of the stores include Best Buy, Macy’s, and Urban Outfitters. But it’s not just stores; iGive also has an extensive list of services and websites that they are partnered with like Overstock.com, Orbitz, and QVC. Even if you don’t use the site every day it’s a great way to give back when you buy that new camera or plane ticket online.
8. soldiersangels.com — Soldier’s Angels is a volunteer based organization that helps keep people in touch with deployed U.S. soldiers. The group has helped send hundreds of thousands of letters, videos, and care packages overseas and has received congressional recognition for its work. The site offers opportunities to adopt a soldier that allows personal one on one correspondence or mot easily send a letter to a soldier. You can also look through a letter gallery to read what other writers have contributed to the cause. It is one of the most personal charitable experiences on the web today.
9. freepoverty.com — Free Poverty is another interactive charity site. You play a geographical trivia game and for every right answer you donate cups of water to poverty stricken countries. The site promotes educational fun and the importance of providing water to the one billion people who don’t have access to clean drinking water. Free Poverty has donated more than 200 million cups of water to date.
10. toms.com — Toms Shoes is an organization created by American Blake Mycoskie. Toms sells unique and colorful shoes and with each pair you purchase they promise to donate one pair to a child that goes without the basic need of footwear in an impoverished country. Toms has become nationally known and recently donated their one-millionth pair of shoes. According to Mycoskie, who was inspired by Argentinean children, going without shoes often mean that these kids aren’t allowed in schools because they need them as part of their uniform. The Toms website hosts hundreds of pictures of shoe styles and patterns to chose from.
11. goodsearch.com — Good Search is another search engine that donates with each search to a charity or school of your choice. The user has the option of choosing from thousands of charities and schools as the group that revenues are generated for. Fifty percent of the profits from each search are donated and according to Good Search a large school can generate up to $73,000 a year with only two searches per day. Like all other search engines the money comes from advertising. So why not donate simultaneously to searching?
12. shiftyourhabit.com — Shift Your Habit is a popular eco-friendly site that promotes a green lifestyle. The most useful information on the site, especially for someone like college students, if the information on how to save money and be green at the same time. The site is very clearly broken down into family, food, home, lifestyle, and work sections so that your green habits can span every part of your day. Shift Your Habits makes being green look simple and it has been raved about by celebrity personalities like Cameron Diaz and Mark Hoppus.