5 Minute Philanthropy

Who among us doesn’t want to give something back to the world?  And in today’s super-speed world, most of us don’t have the extra time to volunteer or dedicate to the causes we care about.  We would like to help, but finding a way to give back usually becomes overwhelming and we push it off until another day.

But today can be different…

In just 5 minutes you could:
  • Donate your old cell phone to 911CellPhoneBank.org, they distribute to provide emergency communications to people.

  • Schedule a pickup of your used clothes or household items with Goodwill

Even five to ten minutes is enough time to start shaping your ideas of what it means to do good.  Every little bit counts!

Hot Website to thank overseas troops…

Thank the Troops!

LetsSayThanks.com is an easy way to send a free patriotic postcard to military personnel serving abroad. Pick a postcard on their website, write your message, and Xerox will print the card and send it overseas. These cards let soldiers know that we’re thinking of them here at home and appreciate their… sacrifice. http://www.letssaythanks.com/Home1280.html

Click your Mouse to help Haiti

Care2.com’s daily action is Click to Help Haiti. If you have 30 seconds, you can make a difference.

Click to Donate websites are probably one of the most ridiculously easy ways to harness the Internet for everyday philanthropy. When you log on to certain service-oriented websites, like Care2.com, you can click on a variety of causes and make a small donation in the process (at no cost to you—this is completely free). Advertisers and other sponsors will make a charitable contribution on your behalf (usually ranging from a few pennies to 25 cents) toward whatever cause you select.

Go to http://www.care2.com/dailyaction/homepage.html to click and 100% of the donations raised go directly to Oxfam America and help provide emergency water and sanitation services to earthquake survivors in Haiti.

It couldn’t be any easier and every little bit counts! What are you waiting for? Combine your computer time today with some everyday philanthropy!

Baking to change a life

Gretchen Holt and her husband were shattered to learn that their two-year-old son, Liam, had been diagnosed with neuroblastoma, an often-deadly form of pediatric cancer with a 30% survival rate. Gretchen wanted to know why the prognosis was so grim and learned that, compared to other cancers, very little money had been spent on neuroblastoma research. With pediatric cancer the number one cause of death by disease for children, Gretchen knew something had to change. She came up with an idea for a massive community bake sale to raise funds and awareness for under-funded pediatric cancer research—with the help of 250 community volunteers, she baked and sold 96,000 cookies. And raised nearly half a million dollars in the process.

Eventually the media got wind of this incredible feat fundraising and people began requesting information on how they could stage similar sales in their own towns. Gretchen realized this event was bigger than a single community event and she started Cookies for Kids’ Cancer to help communities set up similar fundraisers at local schools, churches, and other venues.

Make holiday fun time a lot more meaningful this year. 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 (cookiesforkidscancer.org). During the months of November and December, the Glad Company will match all money raised for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer (up to $100,000)!

Create a World of Change

Just in time for the holidays and holiday shopping. HP announced the launch of a pilot program that allows U.S. shoppers to donate 4 percent of the purchase price of any product to a featured charity of their choice when they purchase through the Create Change program online at the HP Direct Store.

The objective of the program is to harness HP customer purchasing power to help make a difference in communities throughout the world. By buying any product at the HP Direct store through the Create Change portal at www.hp.com/go/createchange customers can support a range of charities in the areas of conservation, education, enrichment systems, healthcare support, disaster recovery and the battle to fight worldwide poverty. Contributions can be made to seven worldwide organizations: American Red Cross, CARE, DonorsChoose.org, Junior Achievement, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and World Wildlife Fund.

As part of the initiative, customers are encouraged to raise awareness of their cause of choice by personalizing a widget that can be shared on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter or MySpace. Customizable widgets also are available for blogs and personal websites to accelerate awareness through social platforms and encourage others to donate when making technology purchases from HP.

“The Create Change program extends HP’s long history of contributing to the communities it operates in, but places the decision about where donations are made into the hands of our customers,” said Michael Mendenhall, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, HP. “This program provides HP a powerful opportunity to ignite social media platforms, develop brand advocates and expand social investment in a new way.”

In 2008, HP made contributions totaling more than $46 million, with particular emphasis on advancing education and promoting entrepreneurship. Since 2001, HP has invested nearly $246 million in social projects. Additional information about HP’s Create Change program is available at www.hp.com/go/createchange. Follow HP on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/hpnews.

Clip Coupons for Charity?

This is so great! There is a new coupon site called Common Kindness, that allows you to clip coupons to save money on everything from groceries to magazine subscriptions, all while giving something back to non-profits in need. Common Kindness shares up to 60% of its profits with charities and social causes you select.
You save big money by clipping free coupons, and various advertisers pay an ad fee to Common Kindness that results in a share of profits with charity.
Common Kindness is completely free of charge to join to both non-profits and the public.
Do yourself (and your favorite charity a favor) and check out this site. And be sure to tell your friends, family and colleagues about Common Kindness.

Goodreads Review of Nicole’s book

GoodReads.com book Review of How to Be an Everyday Philanthropist: 330 Ways to Make a Difference in Your Home, Community and World – At No Cost, by Nicole Bouchard Boles

Jennifer‘s review
rating: 5 Stars
status: Read in November, 2009
It is the annual season of giving and there is no shortage of requests for donations to charitable causes both in our local areas and nationwide. While someone, somewhere is in dire need of help, it seems as though the demand is higher than ever before. People, families, and children less fortunate than us desperately need a helping hand. The sheer numbers are overwhelming to be sure, but there is a lot we can do that does not always entail writing a check.
A new book, How to be an Everyday Philanthropist, has hit book stores just in the nick of time for the giving season. With brilliant strategies and thorough research, Nicole Boles lists a plethora of charities in which you can donate your time and talents and that will make a measurable difference in the lives of those in need. Reading through How to be an Everyday Philanthropist I was shocked, but delighted, by the types of charities you can volunteer your time to at home like reading documents to the blind over the phone or becoming an e-mentor to a young girl.
As a busy mom, these are the types of charities that piqued my interest first and may pique your interest as well. Giving to charitable causes does not always mean giving money, especially as the economy continues to do scary things to our savings accounts and discretionary income. But there are always ways of giving that utilize our skills and talents that really make a difference in the lives of others and that you can even do at home. Learn more about charities that can benefit from your skills and devotion in How to be an Everyday Philanthropist by Nicole Boles.”

Free Book Giveaway Contest

How are you making a difference? Are you volunteering in your community or online? Do you knit, sew or crochet for charity? Are you using your voice to raise awareness for your favorite cause?

What are YOU doing to make life better for others?

Enter your comments at FrugalNYC and enter to win a free copy of How to Be an Everyday Philanthropist!

10 Everyday Ways to Protect the Planet.

In honor of Blog Action Day 2009 I wanted to offer some everyday actions any philanthropist can take to protect our planet!

There was a time when long-haired, peace-loving hippies were the only people that cared about the environment. Now, the issues surrounding global warming and climate change are on the minds of almost every person. The situation seems challenging, to say the least, and it is easy to get discouraged by the mountain of ways we seem to be harming our planet. But, take heart! Change is possible!

Little by little, things like reusing rainwater, recycling everything (and by everything , I mean every thing, not just cans and bottles) and teaching your kids to love the outdoors are all ways you can do your part. So, put on your priorities in place, grab some friends and get out there. Your planet needs you!

1) Plant a Tree. This is one of the oldest environmental tricks in the book but still one of the most effective. Trees absorb carbon dioxide for years to come, provide habitat for birds and small animals and encourage plant growth around it. Choosing a tree species that is native to your area is even better because they are more likely to thrive. For more information check out plantnative.org or wildflower.utexas.edu/plants/.

2) Nurture Nature. It’s never too early to teach your kids to love and respect the outdoors. Fond childhood memories of time spent camping, hiking, fishing, or really participating in any outdoor activity, are an excellent foundation upon which to build an eco-friendly life as an adult. Not only is outdoor activity good for your kids, it’s good for you. How much more fun is to hike in a real forest, with real hills rather than simulating them on a treadmill? It’s true, there tends not to be so many blackflies and mosquitoes in the gym but a few bites are but a small inconvenience compared to the fun you’ll have. Ecokids.ca and audubonintl.org/projects/kids/ are good places to go for more information on activities you can do with your kids.

3) Harvest Rainwater. Considering how often we get something for nothing, it’s a wonder that more people don’t take advantage of rainwater. All you need to do is set up a rain barrel or a simple gravity system that drains all the water from your eaves straight to the garden. Barrels are available inexpensively from many city councils as well as garden centers. Why not join the online rainwater harvest community at harvesth2o.com and see how others are getting involved.

4) Carpool. Millions of people drive over a hundred miles a day to work, alone in their car. What if everyone shared their car with at least one other person? Emissions would instantly be halved and the number of people picking their noses or starring in Pop Idol: Camry Edition show would be greatly reduced. When you look at it this way, carpooling is a public service in more than one way. To find a carpool location near you, see Erideshare.com and carpool.com (Canada) to get on board! You never know, Ray could end up being the only other person you’ve met who can sing all the songs from Labyrinth from memory.

5) Make a Compost Pile. It’s so easy it’s almost silly to explain it. All you need to do is take your compost and make a pile outside. After you’ve done that, composting is a one step process…you just add more compost. Done. For the uninitiated, compost is any organic waste and including vegetable matter, eggshells, tea dregs, fruit peels and paper towels. Meat is not recommended because it attracts rats and other pests. There are plenty of fancy compost boxes on the market, but all you really need is a sturdy bucket with a lid. An old garbage can will do the trick. Giving it a stir with a pitch fork every once in a while is helpful and if you’re really feeling gung-ho, you can add vermis worms to accelerate the decomposition. For more information, go on over recyclenow.org/r_composting_tips.html.

6) Proper battery Disposal. Long after your batteries have died, they go on to live another day in the landfill site, releasing harmful chemicals like mercury into the soil when they breakdown. Once this seepage builds up, it can contaminate the ground water. It’s not just your regular double As that are the problem. Cell phone batteries and those used in cordless power tools are all culprits. Recycling programs are available where batteries can be disposed of safely. The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation at rbrc.org/call2recycle has information about recycling depots in your area. Don’t forget to take the bunny with you when you go. We’re all tired of him.

7) Telecommute. Imagine not having to rush out the door only to sit in traffic for an hour, fifty weeks a year for forty years only to do the same thing in reverse 8 hours later. That’s 20,000 hours of your life spent listening to inane morning radio shows and inhaling exhaust. With instant messaging, cheap long distance, do-it-yourself conference calls and that business stalwart email, with a little planning, it is entirely feasible for much of your work to be done from home. There are currently over 30 million Americans working from their homes at least one day a week and it is expected that this number will continue to rise. Need some help convincing your boss that telecommuting is the best thing since sliced bread? The Telework Coalition at telcoa.org has stats and benefit lists galore. Imagine….working in your favorite sweats. Now that’s living.

8) All Things Can Be Recycled….even motor oil! Research done by the American Petroleum Institute (recycleoil.org) indicates that just two gallons of recycled motor oil can generate enough electricity to run the average household for almost 24 hours. Imagine how low your energy bill would be if everyone recycled their oil? This is an idea that is really catching on and to date, there are more that 12,000 community-based oil-recycling programs across the country. Check with your local garage or auto parts store to see if they participate or visit earth911.org for more information.

Earth911 also has information about recycling hazardous household chemicals. Things like antifreeze, automotive batteries and fluids, fertilizers; ant, rodent and weed killers as well as household cleaning products all require specialized disposal to prevent them from leeching into the water table at the landfill. Many cities have annual household chemical clean-up days and specific drop-off points in city landfills.

9) Perform A Paper Audit. Choose a typical day and write down every bit of paper you use. You’ll be amazed at how much is wasted everyday. It’s true, paper can be recycled but the most efficient way to keep the Earth forested is to reduce the amount of paper you use altogether. Challenge your work mates to do an audit and then see if they can change their habits over the next month. Other suggestions include use a reusable bag to pack your lunch; opt for online billing; use cloth napkins; switch to thinner paper and, of course, recycle, recycle, recycle. For more ideas, check out the Cutting Paper website at eetd.lbl.gov/Paper/.

10) Don’t Be A Big Foot. Take the Ecological Footprint Quiz to discover the amount of ecologically productive land and water area it would take to sustain your current activities. Factors such as your use of energy, food provenance, number of car and plane trips and recycling practices are all taken into account. To find out how your current lifestyle choices are impacting the plane, go on over to earthday.net/footprint.

Want to Get into a Disney Park for Free? Then, Volunteer your time!

Disney parks are hoping to inspire 1 million people to volunteer a day of service beginning January 1st 2010, with their Give a Day, Get a Disney Day promotion.

During 2010, one million people who perform volunteer service for a participating organization will receive a free one-day admission ticket to Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., or Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla.

How do you participate? Easy! Starting Jan. 1, 2010, go to http://www.disneyparks.com/ for the United States and Puerto Rico or http://www.disneyparks.ca/ for Canada to search for volunteer opportunities available in those areas through Points of Light‘s, HandsOn Network and sign up for a day of volunteer service. You must pre-register and sign up for eligible volunteer opportunity. Ticket quantities for this program are limited and you must be at least age 6 to participate.

Have fun!

Lighter. Safer. Greener.

Enter the “Lighter. Safer. Greener.” contest at http://www.lightersafergreener.com/ and help families see a greener world, literally and figuratively.

“The Green Mom,” Beth Aldrich, and Airwear invite environmentally-conscious consumers to share their visions of a greener world by sharing creative ideas for how they are making the world a greener, more sustainable place. You will be entered for a chance to win Airwear eyewear for your entire family.

Go to www.LighterSaferGreener.com to enter and learn more about Airwear’s new eco-friendly practices, and view more of Aldrich’s tips to live healthy, well and wise this fall.

“Love your Veggies” School Grant

Tweet to win a “Love your Veggies” grant from Hidden Valley!

As part of its continuing efforts to help schools instill a life-long love of vegetables in children, the makers of Hidden Valley Salad Dressings have announced that as part of its fourth annual Love Your Veggies™ grant program the company will also award one $10,000 grant to an elementary school through a special Twitter contest Sept. 21-Oct. 2 at @HVRanch.

Elementary schools will be asked to tweet their 140 character application—which can include a link to a Web site or photo—to @HVRanch and then launch a re-tweet campaign for their chance to win. Full rules and regulations on the Twitter contest will be available at LoveYourVeggies.com starting today.

Please follow Hidden Valley on Face book at http://www.facebook.com/hiddenvalley and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/HVranch

Help Kelly Ripa TEXT FOR A CAUSE!

With the onset of new technology – it’s easier than ever before to support your favorite causes! Take texting for example. During the month of September, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Electrolux and Kelly Ripa are holding a text-a-thon to help raise funds and awareness for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund!
So, how does it work? Easy…
Americans can help the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund by texting “Kelly” to 85944 on their cell phone. A one-time donation of $5 is charged to your wireless bill or deducted from your pre-paid balance.
You can log on to http://www.kelly-confidential.com/ and input your mobile number and hit “Donate $5”. You will also be entered for a chance to win a luxury front-load washer and dryer from Electrolux in Turquoise Sky, the color inspired by the teal ribbon of ovarian cancer awareness.
Want more ways to support this great cause? Visitors to Kelly Confidential, during the month of September, can spread awareness by sending a virtual T-shirt to a friend for free. For every “T-mail” sent, Electrolux will donate $1 to the OCRF. Visitors can also purchase a limited edition T-shirt designed by Ripa; 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the T-shirts will go to OCRF. And, for every Turquoise Sky laundry pair purchased, Electrolux donates $200 to OCRF, as part of their $500,000 commitment to fight ovarian cancer.
Check out Kelly’s PSA for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month here.
Thank you Tara for the great tip!