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The Power of a Click: How to Give Back Online

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In this day and age, it just keeps getting easier and easier to contribute to a cause online. All you have to do is click a button and bingo—you’re a philanthropist. So whether you’re whiling away a boring afternoon or incorporating online giving into your daily routine, we’re breaking down the easiest ways to give back online. Drum roll please …

Just Click
Greater Good has a series of “click to give” Web sites that allow you to make a contribution to causes you care about with just a swift tap of the figure. The sites use advertising revenue to pay for contributions to the causes for each click they receive.

Here’s the list:

Make one of the sites your homepage, so you remember to click each day. The sites also offer a reminder service, which will notify you by e-mail to do your daily click!

Surfin the Web
Instead of using your old standby search engine, try a Good Search. Good Search lets you pick the cause you want to donate to, and every time you search using their site (powered by Yahoo), they give back to your charity. Good Search also has a shopping site called, you guessed it—Good Shop, where you can find coupons to make your online purchases and donate up to 30 percent back to the charity of your choice.

Play Time
Everybody needs a break from the monotony of their daily routine. Make your fifteen minutes of distraction count with Games That Give. You play, they give. It’s that simple. Every second you spend on Games That Give, they donate advertising dollars to the nonprofit you choose. The six minutes I just spent on Games That Give provided polio vaccinations for seven children.

Free Rice tests your vocabulary prowess and for each correct answer you give, you get ten grains of virtual rice. If you’re not feeling the vocabulary lesson, you can test yourself on your math skills, your Spanish vocabulary, and more. The virtual rice you see on your screen translates to real food provided to the world’s poor by the U.N.’s World Food Programme. Since 2007, Free Rice contributions have topped 71 billion grains—that’s about a half a billion bowls of rice provided.

Online Shopping
When you’re doing your holiday shopping or just perusing online merchandise in general, look for gifts that give back. Invisible Children’s MEND collection lets you purchase bags made by women in Uganda with the proceeds going to pay their wages and help support micro economic programs. (RED) lets you track your socially conscious (RED) purchases made so you can see how much your buying contributes to fight HIV/AIDS. You can find (RED) products at Gap, Starbucks, even Apple has a (RED) iPod. You can also check out eBay’s fair trade gift shop, A World of Good.

Make giving a part of your wedding registry. Sites like allow you to add charitable giving to your lists of wants before you say “I Do.”

Virtual Volunteering
Better the World lets you give by volunteering your virtual time. You pick the cause you want to give to, and then take action to earn points to support the nonprofit. You can earn points by spreading the word via Facebook and Twitter, using the fundraising sidebar to generate ad revenue for your cause and so much more.

By Sarah Nelson for


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