Whether in a meeting, by mail or in messages, I find myself simultaneously trying to raise money and being confronted by requests from others.
Selling (or buying) tickets, candy or wrapping paper, washing cars or manning a game booth, even giving an extra dollar in a store purchase can help a worthy cause.
It’s hard to beat the value and satisfaction of being personally involved. Other times, such as disaster recovery, teach us there is a time for serving and a time for opening the wallet.
Believers also have opportunities to support the church or a ministry through “giving by living,” generosity funded by everyday activities. Perhaps these options can benefit you and others, too.
Goodsearch.com is the hands-down winner of flexible efforts, benefitting more than 100,000 non-profits and schools through a variety of everyday activities.
J.J. Ramberg, host of MSNBC’s Your Business, and husband Ken founded Goodsearch. Working on the idea while reporting on Hurricane Katrina, they were moved by needs there and elsewhere, while inspired to utilize the billions earned annually by search engines.
Three main options are offered. The home page donates approximately a penny for every Internet search utilizing their Yahoo!-based search engine. Goodshop contributes a percentage of online purchases at 2,800+ stores at no cost to you. And Gooddining, when you dine at one of 10,000 participating restaurants, gives up to 6% of your bill without adding to it. Currently there is no smartphone app.
The “Good family” also has expanded to include more promotional ideas and creativity for a list that keeps growing:
- A toolbar, browser plug-in and button allow users to donate without visiting the Goodsearch site first (and offer coupons, too).
- Have time to fill out surveys? These can raise about one dollar each.
- Goodgames lets you choose from more than a dozen online games to earn money for charities.
- Use your credit card
- Watch videos and television ads
- Participate in market research
In addition to Goodsearch, you can choose from more than 1,300 retailers at iGive.com. When you shop online, a portion of your purchase can benefit more than 36,000 causes. OneCause.com takes a portion of more than 1,000 online stores to benefit one of over 82,000 causes and school.
Not as robust, Charity Giveback Group contributes a portion of online sales from 700+ online stores to religious-based groups such as Focus on the Family, Liberty Counsel and Family Research Council through a toolbar.
Socialvest.us helps more than 1.5 million charities by using a registered credit card or through shopping at more than 600 retailers online.
JustGive.org provides options related to life events. Buying a gift? Designate an amount with gift cards, letting the recipient pick the charity. There are also charity wedding and memorial registries, or you can create your own online fundraiser or activity for a cause.
Shopkick.com (Android/iPhone download) is unique in that it will contribute to you or a charity for merely walking into a store, along with other actions to earn redeemable “kicks” — no purchase necessary.
Competitive? Budge is an iPhone app that allows you to challenge family and friends with the loser required to give to a charity.
Need encouragement? Instead.com is an Android/ iPhone app that lets you know how much you save when you live below your means and encourages you to donate what you have saved.
The sites listed above allow you to designate where you want to give. A host of other sites encourage you to give in other ways and to preselected causes:
- “Click to give”: GreaterGood.com
- Playing games FreeRice.com and the unofficial Android app Rice Vocabulary
- Creative themed fundraisers: FiveDollarDots.com
- Charity apps with limited choices: Give2Charity
- Non-profit affiliate programs: Christianbook.com, DaySpring.com and Amazon.com's Tools for Nonprofits
- Matching funds programs: DoubletheDonation.com
- Give a dolllar to the nonprofit of the day (Andriod app): Google.com/onetoday
- Give as you exercise: CharityMiles.org
- Give by sharing a picture a day: DonateaPhoto.com
No matter how handy the program or how generous it may be, the biggest obstacle seems to be changing your habits — downloading a toolbar, installing an app or using a different search engine — so your actions can add up.
Ken Satterfield is a former media specialist and currently marketing coordinator for Word&Way.