This is the season when nonprofits amp up their fundraising efforts before the end of the year. And while we're all in favor of supporting charities (which is why we're hosting a Cookie Swap for a Cause to support Cookies for Kids' Cancer on December 18), we also understand that not everyone has a huge budget for donations.
With that in mind, we've rounded up a few of our favorite ways to contribute to charity, most of which require no money at all.
- Search smart.
If you search online for movie listings, travel deals, or job openings, then consider searching through a site like BetterHumanRace and GoodSearch. A portion of the ad revenue from your search supports charitable causes. If you're like me and you instinctively start typing at the top of your Chrome window, you can install a toolbar in your browser so you won't forget about it.
- Shop for a cause.
Still shopping for holiday gifts? Buy online through sites like ShopforCharityNow or iGive and a portion of your purchase will go towards the charity of your choice. Or if you're shopping for someone who already has everything, consider a charity gift card from CharityChoice or choosing a symbolic gift like a dozen chicks from Oxfam America Unwrapped or a flock of ducks from Heifer International. (Your recipient gets a card about the gift, and a worthy household elsewhere in the world gets the animals.)
- Let the games begin!
FreeRice is an online word game that tests your knowledge of English vocabulary. For each correct answer, the United Nations World Food Programme gets 10 grains of rice donated. If you're addicted to Words with Friends like I am, you'll probably like FreeRice, too. It works on the iPhone so I sometimes use it entertain myself on long car rides.
- Send an ecard.
There are a number of charity-related ecard offerings, including Care2, the Breast Cancer Site, the Rainforest Site, and the Hunger Site. It's generally free for you and the recipient, though there are other sites that offer ecards as an incentive for donations.
- Add a badge to your blog.
Started by Kevin Bacon (yes, the Kevin Bacon), SixDegrees encourages people to leverage their network and fundraise for charity. You can see what celebrities are interested in a certain charity, add a badge to your blog, and more to help spread the word. Along the same lines, JustGiving offers a widget that can create a badge for your Outlook email signature.
Image courtesy of markuso / FreeDigitalPhotos.net