How To Give Back Online
By: Andrea Eldridge, CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, an on-site computer and laptop repair service company.
With the holidays fast approaching, it is indeed the season for giving. The fact that there are so many charities and worthy causes in need of support makes weeding out those fake charities even tougher than it was before. Luckily, the Nerds have put together a few online resources to make sure that your donation or time is going to a charity that will use your donation to make a difference in the lives of those who need it most. This is our guide on how to give back online.
If you are on the fence about making a donation to a certain charity, start by going to CharityNavigator.org. CharityNavigator has a database of over 8,000 charities with unbiased, objective, and numbers-based rating systems. These ratings are based upon the charity’s financial outlook, transparency, and accountability. This way you can be sure that no matter how much you give back the donation will be used efficiently based on the programs and services that have been sustained throughout the past. If you already have a charity in mind, simply use CharityNavigator’s search option, or check out their great top 10 lists to see what charities make the most of their donations. You can even search by category to make sure that you give back to a cause that matters to you.
For those that have more free time than money to give back, VolunteerMatch.org is an incredible resource. VolunteerMatch offers volunteer opportunities in your community, or ways that you can give back from your own home. With over 100,000 active non-profits can be found on VolunteerMatch, and many offer positions with flexible hours. To navigate this website, you can search by cause area such as animal rights, community, children &youth, or seniors; as well as by organization. Recently, they have began to offer virtual volunteering which allows you to give back remotely through phone support positions, writing grants or outreach, or making things like blankets or homemade cards. No matter how well off you or our family is financially, you can still give back and make a difference with nothing but your time and effort.
Many of us know of a family member or a close friend that is going through a difficult time in their lives. Whether it is a medical bill, bereavement or family support after a loss, a vet bill, or another type of fiscal or emotional emergency, GiveForward.com is a great place to start. This crowd funding website allows users to create a free personal fundraising page for a loved one in need. Usually these pages involve a story of tragedy or information about the person or family in need. Users can set up a wish list for people to sign up to provide meals, rides to the hospital, childcare, house cleaning, and much more. Visitors to the profiles can also leave personal messages to the families or person in need. GiveForward has raised nearly $180 million for people and families in need, making it one of the most powerful tools for those looking to give back to others in need.
These days there is an app for anything and everything. A few mobile apps you can install give small amounts to various charities, but it is important to be sure that that app is doing exactly what you think it is. Before you start to give back through an app, do your research and see how much of the money raised goes to the charity, and how much do those charities put towards helping those in need? You may be surprised to find out that a large portion of your donation is ending up in the hands of advertisers or administrators of these charitable programs.
The Nerds on Call recommends ShareTheMeal for a great app to give back. The United Nations World Food Program can feed a hungry child for only $0.50 per day. All you do is download the app, enter a credit card, and click the button whenever you sit down for a meal. When you click the button, you donate $0.50 to the World Food Program, which is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting world hunger. Another great app to help you give back is One Today. One Today offers highlights of a different charity every day. Based on what you read and see, you can choose to donate $1 to a charity if you believe in the cause they are fighting for. If you find a truly inspiring organization, you can share it with friends, or match a friend’s donation if they have shared a charity with you. These $1 donations are tax deductible and grouped together for easy tax reporting at the end of the fiscal year.
There are countless opportunities to give back to those people or groups in need without ever leaving your own home. Whether you are donating money, time, or support, you are performing an important and valuable service for your community. For more information about the upcoming holiday season, great deals, or if you just love what the Nerds have to say, be sure to like us on Facebook so that our posts appear in your news feed!
Walt: This the season for giving. If you like to give back in your community or to those in need this holiday season, Jack Stehn from Nerds On Call is here to share some online resources that can help you find a reliable charity or a worthy cause to make a difference with your donation. Jack welcome to the program. Nice to have you here.
Jack: Thank you.
Walt: Would you consider yourself to be a nerd?
Walt: You would, and you’re cool with that. Because I feel weird sometimes interviewing. It’s like Nerds on Call, they make me sick. But you’re cool with that?
Jack: Yeah, I am fine with that.
Jack: I got these big glasses not for show.
Walt: Okay, all right. That’s all good. Okay, so you’re the real deal. What’s a good resource for getting a recommendation to donate charitably?
Jack: Yeah, there is a website online called CharityNavigator.org. On that website there is a whole bunch of reviews of different charities and unbiased objective number-based ratings, based on things like transparency, accountability, financial health. You want to know that your donation is being used efficiently and that the programs could stick around.
Walt: What about if you…? And also probably a big thing with that is with the charity, how much actually goes to the charity and how much is maintenance and overhead, correct?
Jack: Yeah, exactly.
Walt: Okay, all right. So what about if you have more than money to give, you want to be involved, where do you go for that?
Jack: Yeah. Well, if you want to volunteer, there is VolunteerMatch.org. You can find tons of volunteer opportunities. It’s the largest volunteer network in the United States I think on the web. There is over 100,000 active nonprofits and you can search by category, if you have something you want to do, or by organization, if you have something or somebody you already want to work for. They have flexible hours. And if you can’t actually be there, you can lend your virtually for remote work, phone support, writing grants, and sometimes making blankets or even writing cards.
Walt: Okay. Now on so much is done on mobile now, is there an App to help me with that?
Jack: Yeah, there are apps, but it’s important to do research. I mean apps can make things easy…
Walt: Can you do the research for me? Because this is why I need you.
Jack: Yeah, so it’s important to know things like how much of it goes to the charity, and like how the charity itself uses it. There is an app called Share The Meal. Share The Meal is this really cool app. For 50 cents a day, you can feed the child that needs to be fed. So when you sit down to eat a meal, you hit a button and you donate 50 cents and feed a child that day. It’s Walted by the world’s largest humanitarian agency to fight hunger.
Walt: Okay. And you mentioned the One Today, the One Today app which would also do the same thing but with a different charity.
Jack: Well, it’s kind of like that. They focus on a new charity every day. If you like the cause that you are seeing there, you can donate a dollar to it, and for example you can adopt a coral reef with a nature conservatory, and share things on social networks, match your friend’s donations. And at the end of everything it’s really cool. At the end of the year, they group all of the donations together and give you that statement so you can use it to…
Jack: …deduct from your taxes.
Walt: That makes it easy. What about moving forward, giving forward, paying ahead a little bit?
Jack: Yeah, so crowdfunding. It’s a really large thing, so you have somebody that needs something for stuff like medical bills, stuff like that. GiveForward.com is this place where you can set up a page for people you care about to raise money for things like medical bills, bereavement, and also set up things that are non-financial, things like meals, rides to hospitals, childcare, and housecleaning and…
Walt: You sure these sites are okay? You guys have checked these out?
Jack: Yeah, we’ve made sure.
Walt: Okay, yeah. I mean it’s good to give suggestions, but I think people want to know that you’re not sending me the Prince of Faisal and it’s going to offer me $10 million, like with gone, right?
Walt: So you’ve got that all checked out?
Walt: All right. Jack Stehn, nice to have you here.