Everyone wants to give back whenever they can, but sometimes it can be so hard! Who has time to dig deep into the depths of the internet, searching through page after page of the thousands of charities out there, just to find one or two that fight for something you care about!? Giving should be easy, not work. You should be able to spend your time actually helping people, not wasting it weeding through research and bureaucracy. That's why I've done a little of the research myself and compiled this quick list of 5 charities that support various different causes. These charities have been handpicked for the quality of their websites (i.e. easy-to-use) and, most importantly, for how easy it is to give to them. In just a few clicks, you can give a small gift (as low as $25!) and start getting involved with reinvesting in humanity.
Charity Water: Digging Wells for Clean Water
Charity Water uses your donation to fund "water projects," which consist of digging and building wells in the villages of developing countries where clean water is hard to come by. The villagers often have to walk several hours every day to fill up plastic canisters with dirty water and then lug them back home. Despite all this work, the water is seldom clean enough to safely drink, so water-born disease is rampant. To help alleviate this problem, Charity Water builds wells that dispense clean water much closer to the village. This not only benefits the villagers' health, but it also frees up their water-fetching hours to engage in education and other income-earning activities. They can start growing gardens, they can start cooking with clean water--the doors of opportunity fly open. If you have a heart for fighting disease and supporting people in developing countries, you should definitely take a look at Charity Water.
Kiva: Boosting Developing Economies through Micro-loans
"Micro-loan" has become somewhat of a buzzword in the charity sphere lately, and Kiva is an excellent way to get in on the trend. Kiva will take your donation and lend it out as a small business loan to entrepreneurs in developing nations. These entrepreneurs are the driving force that builds developing economies, and they've got every thing to make it happen: creativity, drive, strength, dedication--all they need is a little startup cash. And remember, even just a little bit of your money can often buy a whole lot in these developing economies. You can help plant farms, start general stores, renovate retail venues, build clothing business, you name it! And the really neat part is you actually get your loan money back. The entrepreneur pays back their micro-loan just like a normal loan, and that money gets deposited right back into your Kiva account, where you can withdraw the money to use yourself or you can go back and reinvest the money in another loan. Kiva makes the whole process very simple, and at the end of the day, you're helping these entrepreneurs to build a solid future for themselves and their families.
Oxfam America Unwrapped: Give a Goat!
Oxfam America is an international organization that seeks not just to help the world's poor, but to create permanent solutions to poverty. They accomplish this massive undertaking through their impressive network of partner non-government organizations, as well as on-the-ground teams that ask and assess what it will take to eliminate the poverty cycle--and, of course, through your donations! Oxfam America even makes your gift a little more tangible (and fun) by suggesting what your gift might be used for. You can give a goat or a pig for $50, a dozen chicks for $45, or help start a farmer's market for $25. You can also give a donation as a gift to someone else, and Oxfam will send you a card featuring a picture of your gift that you can give to them, so that your friend or family member knows just how their gift is helping out around the world. If you're passionate about ending poverty and upholding Human Rights, you should take a look at Oxfam America.
Conservation International: Taking Care of the Earth
If you have a passion for Saving the Whales and preventing climate change, then you may want to support Conservation International. Conservation International is a world-wide coalition that engages governments, businesses, scientists, and every human who shares in the bounty of our Earth to work towards six "Initiatives": Climate Change, Fresh Water, Food, Health, Culture, and Biodiversity. They pursue these lofty goals by attacking the problem at all levels: negotiating preventative policies with local governments, encouraging businesses to follow Earth-healthy practices, and using science to pinpoint and protect at-risk areas around the globe. If that catches your interest, Conservation International offers several creative ways to give. You can "Protect an Acre" of forest for $15, or you can "Save a Mile" of ocean for $75. You can also receive a gift for your donation, including holiday cards, a water bottle, or a t-shirt, to demonstrate your support for conserving the planet. If you want to join the mission to keep the Earth safe for future generations, Conservation International is a great charity to support.
ASPCA: Saving Puppies!
Who doesn't love puppies!? Since it's been around since 1866, you've probably heard of the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals). You've also probably "awwwwww"'d at their advertisements featuring pictures of adorable and helpless-looking puppies and kitties. Well, you can help those puppies and kitties! Donations to the ASPCA support rescuing and caring for abused and abandoned animals, as well as prevention of abuse through animal cruelty legislation. The ASPCA offers several ways for you to get involved, including participating in marathons, running ASPCA fundraisers, and giving donations. You can give a one-time donation or set up a recurring monthly donation for $25 and up. There is also ASPCA merchandise for sale through their website so you can show your support, with items such as t-shirts, baseball caps, iPad cases, frisbees, bags, and pet accessories. So don't let those poor puppies down! If you're a pet owner or just an animal-lover (like me), ASPCA might be the perfect charity to start supporting.
There's a quick list of 5 charities spanning several different interest areas that you can jump right into and start supporting today. Unleash the philanthropist inside of you and put your dollars to good use by helping someone else!