25 Ways to Spread Kindness during the Holiday Season (…without breaking the bank)

President John F. Kennedy once said, “One person can make a difference and every person should try.” We think that sounds like the perfect Thanksgiving prescription to spread a little (or a lot!) of goodness this year.

You don’t have to be a millionaire to save the planet or to make a difference in someone’s life. You can make a difference today, everyday… and change the world forever!


25 Ways to Spread Kindness this Thanksgiving (without breaking the bank):

1. SMILE!  “Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”  ―    Mother Teresa

2. Hold a food drive. Enlist help from family,  friends, and members of your community to host a food drive, collecting canned  goods for your local shelter or fresh produce for a local soup kitchen.

3. Donate old sneakers to Nike-Reuse-A-Shoe!  They’ll turn them into safe playground surfaces for children.

4. Bake a Difference!  Bake cookies for a local fundraiser to support a chosen cause or host a charitable bake sale of your own to benefit Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

5. Give!  Give what you can, when you can.  As Anne Frank said in The Diary of Anne Frank, “No one has ever become poor by giving.” There is always something you can give.

6. Test Yourself. Learn new words with the free vocabulary test at FreeRice.com, and for every answer you get right, the site’s sponsors will donate enough money to purchase twenty grains of rice to the UN World Food Program.

7. Do consider using your skills, experience and talents to help out as an alternative to giving money.

8. Clean your closet and donate career attire to Dress for Success for women or Career Gear for men. Your donation will provide professional clothing to low-income people seeking employment.

9. Surf for the earth. Powered by Google, Ecosearch.org returns search results with an environmental kick: The site donates 100 percent of search revenues to nonprofits, such as Rainforest Alliance and the Sierra Club.

10. Tutor. Whether you’re helping a student understand Macbeth or teaching an adult the basics of reading, literacy tutoring can be a fun–and important–way to donate your time. Log on to LiteracyDirectory.org to learn more.

11. Get crafty. Put your creative talents and hobbies to work and make afghans for needy families or quilts for seriously ill or traumatized children.

12. Invite a solo friend or acquaintance to your holiday meal.

13. LOVE! “Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, and don’t put up with people that are reckless with yours.”  ―  Mary Schmich

14. Volunteer to walk and play with homeless animals at a nearby pet shelter.

15. Give gifts that give back.

16. Donate books to a good cause (a nearby school, hospital or library).  You’ll give the tomes a second life and spare the landfills.

17. Give Blood. One pint of blood can save up to three lives.  Donate blood at your local Red Cross. Community drives happen regularly and many large communities have places where you can donate throughout the year.

18. Don’t worry about giving “small” – “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”  ―    Desmond Tutu

19. Give a small loan to help budding entrepreneurs by lending to a Kiva project.

20. Volunteer a few hours at a local food bank, community kitchen, hospital, elderly home or charity drive.  Your time is one of the greatest gifts you can give!

21. Knit for good. Knits hats for the homeless, blankets for newborn babies, teddy’s for foster children.  There’s nothing quite like a handmade gift.

22. Deliver Thanksgiving dinners to housebound people.  Contact your local Meals on  Wheels group and offer to deliver holiday meals to elderly and sick people in your area.

23. Donate coats.  Provide winter warmth for children and families in need: Donate jackets, mitts, scarves and the like to local coat drives or schools.

24. Thank a soldier! Show your appreciation for our Military Men and Women and Thank the troops. Send a card of thanks to a hero.

25. Make it simple, make kindness your religion. The spirit of Thanksgiving is all about the thanks and the giving.  It’s about  gratitude for your blessings and sharing with others. Express gratitude this holiday season with graciousness and gratitude.  And don’t forget — be kind to yourself too!  You deserve it.


TurboTax Giving $100,000 To Charities via Facebook

TurboTax, the tax filing-software company, is getting into the holiday spirit by giving away $100,000 to charities of consumers’ choosing on Facebook. TurboTax promotes charitable giving at the end of each year to help people secure last minute tax savings. This year, they are taking things one step further by launching Giving Gives Back on Facebook and donating $5 in consumers’ names to causes ranging from emergency preparedness to lending a helping hand to America’s youth.

You can donate to your favorites by “Liking” TurboTax on Facebook and selecting your charity here.

Included below is the release explaining the charity giveaway.

SAN DIEGO – December 7, 2010 – Tis’ the season for spreading holiday cheer. Not only will charitable contributions help those in need, in many cases, it can boost your tax refund as well.

“There are a number of ways to save money and give back. Charitable donations made before Dec. 31 can be an easy way to lower your tax bill and give back to the community,” said Bob Meighan, CPA and vice president of TurboTax.

Tips for Making Giving Give Back:

· Think about it: Consider the types of charities you want to give to. What really moves you and makes you want to give?

· Make it count: Before you open your wallet, open your browser. A quick search will help you pick an organization that is eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions so that your contributions count.

· Act fast: Dec. 31, 2010 is the deadline for making charitable contributions count on this year’s tax return.

· Don’t forget the little stuff: Some out-of-pocket expenses like parking, supplies and mileage driven to and from volunteering at a qualifying charity are deductible.

· Keep documentation: Make sure to keep receipts for both cash and in-kind charitable donations. Every receipt should include the charity name, date, amount of your donation and the resale value of any items you may have received for your contribution.

Let TurboTax Donate for You

Through Dec. 31, 2010, TurboTax will donate up to $100,000 to a selection of charities on behalf of consumers. Causes range from emergency preparedness to lending a helping hand to America’s youth. Simply visit the TurboTax Facebook Page or givinggivesback.com to find out how you can have TurboTax donate $5 to the charity you select. For tax tips and tricks all season, visit the TurboTax Blog.

About TurboTax

TurboTax is the nation’s No. 1 rated, best-selling, do-it-yourself tax preparation software. Available on desktop, online and mobile, TurboTax helps more than 20 million people a year easily and accurately claim every deduction and credit they’re entitled to, so they get the biggest tax refund possible. For more information, visit the TurboTax press room.

About Intuit
Intuit Inc. is a leading provider of business and financial management solutions for small and mid-sized businesses; financial institutions, including banks and credit unions; consumers and accounting professionals. Its flagship products and services, including QuickBooks®, Quicken® and TurboTax®, simplify small business management and payroll processing, personal finance, and tax preparation and filing. ProSeries® and Lacerte® are Intuit’s leading tax preparation offerings for professional accountants. Intuit Financial Services helps banks and credit unions grow by providing on-demand solutions and services that make it easier for consumers and businesses to manage their money.
Founded in 1983, Intuit had annual revenue of $3.5 billion in its fiscal year 2010. The company has approximately 7,700 employees with major offices in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India and other locations. More information can be found at www.intuit.com.

Intuit, the Intuit logo and TurboTax, among others, are registered trademarks and/or registered service marks of Intuit Inc. in the United States and other countries.

Give Back with a Charity Drive with FREE Glad ForceFlex Bags

The holidays are just around the corner and there is no better time to be an everyday hero and give back than during this time of year when the most help is needed! One way to give back is through GLAD ForceFlex’s new Bag Bank program, where they’re encouraging consumers to host coat drives and other items from their closets to help someone in need. Clothing can then be donated to organizations that distribute gently used clothes to those in need, like One Warm Coat, an organization that provides coats to anyone in need, free of charge, Making Memories, a breast cancer support and advocacy group, which sells donated wedding dresses and uses the proceeds to fulfill the wishes of women with terminal breast cancer, and SAFE (Stuffed Animals for Emergencies) an organization which collects gently used toys to be redistributed to emergency personnel and organizations to help kids cope in difficult situations.

Whether you’re collecting coats, dresses or stuffed animals, you can help address the toughest challenges in your community with the help of the GLAD Bag Bank. You provide the idea, volunteers and inspiration, GLAD will provide ForceFlex trash bags.  For more information, please visit CLMClient.com/GladForceFlexIPK to set up a drive in your community.

Your donations are a gift, you should treat them as such by preparing them with care. Charities often have to throw away donations if they are dirty, broken, unsafe, or otherwise unusable. In general, donations of used clothing and other household goods must be in good to excellent condition.

• Keep it Clean ~ Wash clothes and linens, separate clothing (for men, women, or children), and pack them with some thought—i.e., don’t shove a clean white dress shirt into a bag with shoes. You wouldn’t pack your own stuff this way, would you?

• Air out any heavier ~ bedding like blankets or sleeping bags. Wipe down toys or small appliances to
get rid of any grime.

• Keep it Safe ~ Don’t give away an item that’s been the target of a safety recall (especially toys). If in doubt, check the Consumer Protection Safety Commission’s website (cpsc.gov), which lists product recalls.

• Keep it Fresh ~ Don’t give away books with missing pages or babies’ board books that have been chewed or stained beyond repair. You can deodorize musty books by placing them in a bag with a dish of baking soda for about ten days. Try to separate books by category, and you’ll save a volunteer a lot of work on the other end.

National Philanthropy Day 2010

Today is National Philanthropy Day and for everyone who gives back, THANK YOU!

National Philanthropy Day is the special day set aside to recognize and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy—and those people active in the philanthropic community—have made to our lives, our communities and our world.

In 2010, the 25th anniversary of National Philanthropy Day, more than 125 communities and 50,000 people around the world will participate in NPD events and celebrations. These events include award ceremonies, galas, luncheons, seminars and other special events. Outstanding donors, volunteers, corporations, foundations, small businesses, youth in philanthropy and others will be honored on NPD in recognition of their work in improving their communities and their world every day.

You are invited to join in the celebration. Use the links on this page to find a local National Philanthropy Day® event in your community and learn more about the importance of giving and volunteerism.

Your giving, compassion and goodwill really do make a difference!

Day 26 of 30Days/30Ways to Give Back: DONATE A PROM DRESS

Every girl deserves to feel like a million bucks on her prom night—but she shouldn’t have to spend a million bucks.

There are a number of organizations across the country that collect new and gently worn formal wear and accessories for girls who could not otherwise afford prom night finery. Many take shoes, too, so donate those strappy sandals that kill your feet. And don’t forget the matching handbag! Volunteers with these projects often act as personal shoppers and help girls pull together the perfect outfit. Even though some of  these organizations are regional, almost all accept donations from around the country. So pass on your old prom/bridesmaid/formal dress and give a young girl a prom to remember.

Today’s Give Back Action: Be a Fairy Godmother

The following organizations collect new and gently worn formal wear and accessories (handbags, sandals) for girls who could not otherwise afford prom attire.

The Glass Slipper Project

Fairy Godmothers, Inc

Operation Fairy Dust

The Prom Project 

Ballroom Blitz

And, Donate My Dress (which has a national network of dress drive organizations that collect and distribute prom dresses to girls in need.)

Day 19 of 30 Days/30 Ways to Give: NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK 2010

National Volunteer Week, the biggest celebration of volunteers and volunteerism is here. The 2010 campaign lands this week of April 18-24, and The Everyday Philanthropist wants to make sure that you are prepared to get involved!  This week’s blog features just a sample of the many ways you can celebrate National Volunteer Week through giving back.

With everyone’s busy lives in mind, I’m going to present 3 actions each day (in part with our National Volunteer Month’s 30 Days/ 30 Ways to Give Back initiative) that anyone can start and finish within the course of one day, often within an hour or less.  Pick one (or a few) of the actions you can manage and make your mark.  Each day you’ll be offered a wealth of resources, social media tools and products to get you giving back – in no time at all.

Today’s Actions:

1. Smart Shopping. If you’re shopping online, go through a charitable shopping mall such as iGive.com Goodshop.com or bringpetshome.org. Choose your favorite non-profit, shop and the organization receives a contribution based on the amount of your purchase. 
2. Hit the bank (the food bank, that is). Whenever I go to the store, I pick up something that costs less than $1 (baby food, crackers, etc.) and put it aside for my local food pantry.  I find that every month I have accumulated a full bag of groceries to donate, without making a negligible difference to my food budget. To find food banks in your neighborhood, visit Feeding America’s Food Bank locator.

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

Lastly, in honor of National Volunteer Week, I’d like to thank all of the generous individuals who give their time, talent and treasure to the causes they care about in order to make our community and world a great place to live. These are the selfless individuals who demonstrate their genuine compassion for the well being of others and in support of essential causes, by taking action and by making a difference.