Best Free Volunteer, Charity, and Donation Technology

 
Introduction

 

There are many free ways to volunteer, give to charity, and use the Internet to help other people.

WFP's Red CupsI. Most Interesting Charity/Volunteer Services on the Internet

       One of my favorite places to investigate charities is at the Charity Navigator. You can find charitable organizations to help you donate cars, support the troops, find charity events, or feed the hungry. One of my favorite free programs for volunteer helping is BOINC. It helps turn PCs into engines for scientific projects that seek to advance our knowledge, cure disease, or find other intelligent beings across the universe! And they can't do their work without volunteers.

II. Play Games for Charity

       You can also help charity for free! An interesting option is free Internet games like FreeRice.

III. Click a Day for Charity

       You can use The Hunger Site and similar sites to fight starvation and support many other causes, and all you have to do is click everyday or leave a website/application open. They give to selected charities based on the amount of fees they get from advertisers or organizations.

IV. Charity Search Engines

       A flexible option is the GoodSearch toolbar or its search box that aptly replaces your current search engine (Google, Yahoo!, etc.). You pick your favorite charity or organization, use the search engine like normal, and watch GoodSearch divert some of its fees from advertisers to your charity. All for doing what you would normally do anyways.

V. Volunteer Sites on the Internet

       But other places provide massive databases for volunteer opportunities, volunteer ideas, and virtual volunteering or charity opportunities: Idealist.org, VolunteerMatch, USA Freedom Corps, and Network for Good.

VI. Volunteer in Collaborative Knowledge or Wiki Sites

       The Internet allows for us to share information in elaborate and easy ways. You can volunteer your time, energy, or expertise and have fun in the process! Many scholars discourage using sources such as Wikipedia because some of its articles might be written by some kid in his basement. But then if you follow around those same scholars, you have a very high chance of seeing them use Wikipedia over and over and over again!

Notes

I checked all websites with WOT (www.mywot.com). Some people left comments on WOT wondering how you can be certain that free online charity sites actually make the donations they say they do; I'm not entirely sure how to discover this, but it's a good guess that the information is available to the public since the websites name the charities to which they donate.

FreeRice, for example, is actually mentioned right on the website of its charity of choice. And popular charities named on GoodSearch would be fairly angry if they never received a check. If in doubt, contact the named charities and ask.

Feel free to help me by adding to this list. Consider writing a comment below about your favorite places online for free charity, volunteer helping, volunteer opportunities, charity events, etc.

The Volunteer and Charity List: Find the Best Websites, Webware, or Freeware to Help Other People Online
 

I. Most Interesting Charity/Volunteer Services on the Internet

Guide to Intelligent GivingCharity Navigator. Read several tips about giving charity from the Charity Navigator. They have excellent financial reviews of charities. They strive to help you make the most impact with your money, time, donations. I found an interesting list of the top ten most inefficient charities and many other top ten lists.

Charity Navigator has a "Donate" link on its site that automatically adds charity donations over in a cart at Network for Good, but I like to use it mainly to learn more about charities. It is especially helpful for evaluating free click websites to see if they make donations to effective charity partners.

But for many this is not a primary concern since even if a charity is spending a large percent of its finances on advertising or administrative costs, you may still want to support it for the importance of the cause (and sometimes to make their cause successful they may need to spend). But one of the best features on Charity Navigator is the ability to compare similar types of charities to see if there is a major difference. This gives you a tremendous tool to make intelligent gifts to charity.

Related Sites

  • American Institute of Philanthropy: An important watchdog group that produces grades on charity organizations based on detailed financial analyses. It has an interesting top-rated list and about 500 ratings overall. I especially enjoy their articles and their "Tips" page.

BBB Wise Giving Allience: Provides a search engine for a collection of Better Business Bureau accreditation reports. In order to get certified a charity must pass its 20 standards of accountability. The reports sometimes grade charities on a scale of A+ to F. It also provides contact details and allows you to file complaints against charities. But I found the site a bit difficult to navigate, and I had some trouble finding the charities I was looking for until I had it limit search results to charities and to BBB accredited charities. It's an excellent source to read about charity details, but it seems a bit like GuideStar in that it leaves a lot of the analysis to the reader.

GuideStar: I'm less favorable about GuideStar for most users. Some information is only viewable by premium visitors and it requires you to register. I didn't like having to put in a zip code. Though, check it out if you want more information on a specific charity of interest. If you just can't believe that a certain charity gets low ratings on Charity Navigator, then you can look at their IRS forms and make your own judgment. But GuideStar doesn't perform comparative ratings and it is really better as a tool for researchers.
 

BOINC research screensaversBOINC Research Manager. The SETI@home manager and screensaver came out of work at Berkeley, but they developed BOINC as a more general and secure research tool. It harnesses the collective computing power of home PCs to help "cure diseases, study global warming, discover pulsars," and further many aims of science. You could volunteer some of your computer's processing power to help create a powerful supercomputer.

SETI@home, for example, is endorsed and supported by the SETI Institute (3/4 stars from Charity Navigator), so some of these BOINC projects are serious scientific pursuits (well, as serious as SETI can get!).

There are many different versions to download, supporting Windows 98-Vista, Mac, Linux, and XP-Vista 64 Bit. After you download and install BOINC, you can use its setup wizard to add projects and create your preferences. Or if you want a simple way to setup BOINC projects, then try one of the suggested account managers: GridRepublic or BAM! or World Community Grid.

The account managers help sync settings to the BOINC manager, divide the workload between different projects, and queue applications based on their report deadline. But the research projects are the same no matter which manager you use since they are run independently by the researchers. The project manager runs from the tray on a schedule or constantly, and it's separate from the BOINC screensaver (installed automatically).

Here are general guides for choosing projects:

  • The BOINC website provides several tools to help you evaluate and choose projects: a few tips for how to go about choosing projects, a list of the top volunteers (get ideas by looking at projects others like to choose), and a link to published results of research done in the projects. It provides links to project homepages so you can evaluate their research.

You might want to limit your choice of projects by looking at the Berkeley BOINC project list, a hand selected list based on their communications with representatives from the projects. In general the BOINC website stresses the importance of the intellectual goals of the project, the published results, and the nature of the project (profit/non-profit and whether any published results are freely available or not).

The BAM! website also has a helpful list of the most popular projects.

Since the BOINC project manager runs independent, you don't need to use the BOINC screensaver. You could choose to use some other screensaver or none at all. And the manager itself displays graphics from the projects and allows you to open them in a separate window.

You can control many preferences for the BOINC manager. The "simple view" allows you to set workloads to run on a schedule or to connect online only at certain times, limit max CPU and memory use (it may at times go over the max limit you set, but it seems to limit itself to the max you set for each individual task on average), and set it to run only after a certain amount of idle time. It also has a handy "snooze" button that pauses workloads or applications.

You can also set preferences online to allow you to import the same settings on multiple computers. The online settings and the local advanced preferences (from the "Advanced view") are more elaborate and allow much more control. For example, after I registered and added a couple of projects, it started to run two applications from the selected projects locally. You can restrict it to use 50% or so of the processors and then it will only run one application at a time.

It is not primarily a screensaver, but the screensavers are amazing and show data from the projects. If you have multiple projects, then it automatically changes to the screensaver for whichever project is currently running. See radio signals with SETI@home, folding proteins with Rosetta@home, constellations and pulsar locations with Einstein@home (my personal favorite so far), etc.

The Folding@home software application is based on a similar distributed computing project out of Stanford, except it's now specially designed for its protein folding project (to help look for cures to diseases). I found it interesting that the site says: "our application needs not the hundreds of processors found in modern supercomputers, but hundreds of thousands of processors [like those found in PCs!]. Hence, the calculations performed on Folding@home would not be possible by any other means!"

The BOINC site says much the same thing. In other words, only volunteers can make this sort of research possible. There are also many academic papers listed on the folding@home website, and it asserts in the FAQ section that it's completely non-profit and purely academic in nature.

 

II. Play Games for Charity

Play and Feed a Hungry Person!FreeRice. Play educational quiz games to help fight hunger around the world. Click on the "Subject" tab for many more quiz games, including famous paintings, math, English grammar and vocab, geography (including world capitals), and four other languages. The question difficulty adjusts to meet your ability.

Each answer you get correct contributes 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). The website loads in a flash and has very minimal clutter. It is by far the best of its kind that I have seen so far.

I'm fairly certain that the WFP gets this donation -- I checked the WFP website and it has a huge FreeRice banner in the lower right corner in which they thank it for providing "food rations for over 20,000 refugees from Myanmar who are sheltering in Bangladesh. [In addition] pregnant women in Cambodia, schoolchildren in Uganda and Bhutanese refugees in Nepal received rice thanks to the award-winning site."

 

III. Click a Day Sites

The Hunger Site

The Hunger Site. Consider clicking everyday at The Hunger Site or one of its other related sites. "The staple food funded by clicks is paid for by site sponsors and distributed to those in need" by two charity partners to help stop hunger: Mercy Corps (3/4 stars on Charity Navigator), Feeding America (formerly America's Second Harvest), and Millennium Promise. In addition the website claims: "100% of sponsor advertising fees goes to our charitable partners. Funds are split between these organizations and go to the aid of hungry people in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and North America."

If you are a supporter of these charities, then you might want to receive an email reminder to click everyday, send ecards, receive their free e-newsletter, link to The Hunger Site, Stumble them and this list(!) to help others to find them, and so on. Dialup visitors may have some problems connecting and it is a slow and high traffic website, but you probably won't have problems at least clicking when you get to the site.

One of the best parts about The Hunger Site is the choice to support several different causes operated by CharityUSA/GreaterGood, using the same click a day feature (you can access all of the following from tabs at The Hunger Site or at the following links):

  • The Breast Cancer Site: Your clicks benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation (4/4 stars from Charity Navigator) to help fund free mammograms.

The Child Health Site: Your clicks benefit Mercy Corps (3/4 stars from Charity Navigator), Prosthetic Outreach Foundation, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (3/4 stars), and Helen Keller International (4/4 stars).

The Literacy Site (at The Hunger Site): Your clicks benefit First Book and Room to Read (both get 4/4 stars from Charity Navigator).

The Rainforest Site: Your clicks benefit The Nature Conservancy (4/4 stars from Charity Navigator), The Rainforest Conservation Fund, The World Parks Endowment, and Rainforest2Reef.

The Animal Rescue Site: Your clicks benefit (quoted from site) "Fund for Animals' renowned animal sanctuaries (including Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Texas and the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in California), pet shelters supported by the Petfinder Foundation, North Shore Animal League [1 star organization at Charity Navigator], and other worthy animal care facilities supported by the GreaterGood.org foundation." Some of these are very vague assertions and many are not rated by the Charity Navigator as of yet, but all the possible charities that get the donations are listed at GreaterGood.org.

EcologyFund: it's a mess like most CharityUSA sites and I haven't investigated the charities it donates to as of yet (and most aren't listed at the Charity Navigator), but it gets an "excellent" from WOT (with 3 web bugs, more than the usual one -- Google analytics -- for these family of sites above). This is a separate site and not a tab on The Hunger Site, but it is run by the same group.

 

Care2Care2 also has a long list of click a day sites. It's a collaborative community with social networking and informational features, such as petitions to sign, click a day sites to visit, newsletters to get, eCards to send, groups to join, and many ways to contribute collaboratively. It's mission is to "make it easy for everyone to live a healthy, green lifestyle and impact the causes they care about most." It's basically a "green" site, with a few "liberal" partnerships (in the US, the ACLU is generally considered to be on the left of the political spectrum, but it's contentious and the ACLU would probably provide counterexamples!). I like that its click a day sites post the favored charity front and center so that you don't have to search around for them:

 

IV. Charity Search Engines

GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!

GoodSearch. Search using GoodSearch to benefit a charity of your choice. This site directs a minimum of 50% of its revenue from advertiser fees to various charities for each valid search.

The best part is the flexibility to give to most any charity. For example, I doubt many websites would create an entire free click donation site for something like the Ayn Rand Institute, but I was able to easily name them as a charity. The same would go for many other charities or non-profit organizations (schools, hospitals and clinics, volunteer services, political organizations, fraternal organizations, professional associations, religious organizations, governmental agencies, etc.), but only one at a time. You could also get their toolbar for IE (or add them to your search box for IE, Firefox, or Google Chrome).

The search engine is powered by Yahoo!, so if you use it daily it will not decrease the quality of your search results. Plus, you don't have to deal with all the clutter of Yahoo!. You can click on an "Amount Raised" button to track the impact of the site on your charity. It suggests that in the past it has given 1.3 cents per valid search, but they officially estimate that it will be about 1 cent per each valid search. It is sort of like a "penny for charity" searcher!

With a high number of visitors the math is favorable: "if 1,000 people search an average of twice a day = $7,300 for charity, and if 10,000 people search an average of twice a day = $73,000 for charity" (per year). I love the idea that it has no maximum level of contribution. It has a minimum of $20.00, but you could always concentrate on your favorite charities that already have sufficient support.

If you want to search the site every time for the same charity, then create a custom bookmark or homepage by including the charity ID to the URL:

"http://www.goodsearch.com/?charityid=xxxx" (replace "xxxx" with the Charity ID located on the Amount Raised page and leave out the quotes).

Warning: Some searches do not count toward charity. These include searches for images, videos, stock quotes, URLs (search terms ending in .com, .org, .net, .edu), well known URLs (HotMail, ESPN, MySpace, Facebook, GMail, AOL, etc.; I don't know if they have a complete listing?), word definitions, Yellow Pages searches, searches without a charity selected, and fraudulent uses of the site.

By fraud they mean non-human use of the site or repeated manual clicks (I think they mean that you can't just sit there and click on the same search over and over and over). These actions could get you banned from the site or your charity delisted. The general anti-fraud rule is to use the site as you would any other search engine. This seems like a lot of exceptions and suggests that it's mostly for profit (I would say it's half a profit organization, but many searches do not count for charity).

More math: GoodSearch will not send less than $20.00 to any charity, however; and it sends out checks only once per year (in December). So you need to search 2000 times in order to ensure that your charity gets a check of $20.00 ($20.00 divided by .01 cents), which is an average of 6 searches a day for the year. If a charity gets less than $20.00, then the money is allocated to other organizations that have met the minimum (and maybe to an organization you like or do not like?). The best part is that it turns your normal, everyday searching habits into free charity (free for you, anyways) and you get to pick the charity!

Other Yahoo! based search engines

  • FreeRice: Now FreeRice provides a charity search engine and toolbar (called Search the Web). If you don't want the toolbar, you can uninstall it and just keep its search engine in your search box.
 

V. Volunteer on the Internet

idealist.org -- Action Without BordersIdealist.org. Learn more about volunteering and connect with others around the world. It has a broad vision of providing "an interactive site where people and organizations can exchange resources and ideas, locate opportunities and supporters, and take steps toward building a world where all people can lead free and dignified lives."

It has a nice news blog, a new section specially for volunteering abroad, a unique forum, and an extraordinary section of resources. They have a large database of volunteer opportunities, places to find out about career fairs and graduate fairs, and groups to join to find people like you.

 

VolunteerMatch -- Where volunteering begins.VolunteerMatch. Find listings of volunteer opportunities in your area. It has a search engine by zip code and keyword. But best for this list is a search engine in the lower right corner for Virtual Opportunities. Many of the virtual listings request help from web developers, research assistants, grammarians (grammar checkers), grant writers, and other specialists. So you could find the charity or cause of your liking and then donate some of your skill and time to help them out.

They define "virtual" as having no set location, so some searches may bring back options that are not strictly online opportunities (some may be by phone, mail, etc.). You must register (free) to get contact information and read more about the volunteer listings. It also allows you to use Google Earth to find volunteer needs. But be sure to check out the helpful Google map to locate disaster volunteering opportunities or you might want to read some of the inspirational personal stories of volunteers.

 

Make a Difference. Volunteer.USA Freedom Corps. It was created after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 to help citizens volunteer. It has an impressive search engine powered by Network for Good in the top right corner of the website. It provides an advanced search and many search features. You can search by zip code, state, and area of interest on the simple search interface.

Your search results simply provide links to other volunteer websites, so it is more of a central hub of information and a true mega network of volunteering opportunities. It provides links to VolunteerMatch, Idealist.org, and many other organizations. And it also has an excellent additional list of services: http://www.usafreedomcorps.gov/about_usafc/partners/index.asp.

Related Sites:

  • Volunteer.gov: Volunteer to help improve "America's natural and cultural resources." It emphasizes volunteer jobs to help preserve natural resources on public lands in the U.S. It allows you to search for government volunteer opportunities by state and location. Check out the events calender for a few new volunteer opportunities, including virtual jobs like web designing, or writing and editing articles for websites. It also has a RSS feed for recent volunteer opportunities.

VolunteeringinAmerica.gov: Another government site but oriented towards data and research: "The most comprehensive look at volunteering in all 50 states and 162 cities across the country. Included in the Web site are volunteer rates, rankings, and area-specific trends as well as additional information and analysis" (quote from the website).
 

VolunteerNetwork for Good. Use a search engine powered by both VolunteerMatch and Guide Star. Here you can search for volunteering opportunities by state, keyword, or name, and there is also an advanced search. It's founded and sponsored by a few major organizations (Yahoo!, AOL, Cisco) and provides many charity options, but some of these will obviously cost money. But you could also just stay to searching for volunteering options.

It easily allows you to search for volunteering, charities, or both. The "Volunteer" tab takes you to a search engine automatically setup to search just volunteering options. Plus it provides several other links and information for volunteering, but I couldn't get all of the links to work so some might be dead.

 

VI. Volunteer in Collaborative Knowledge or Wiki Sites

Write at Tech Support AlertGizmo's Freeware. How could we miss the chance to plug our own site? You might have heard of submitting news stories for numerous websites (Drudge Report comes to mind), writing letters to the editor or pooling your knowledge with others at Wikipedia (and at many forums across the Internet), so consider writing for Gizmo's Tech Support Alert. Share your experiences with free computer software and help others with computer problems by leaving comments, editing or contributing articles, participating in the forum, or volunteering as a category editor. Help people get back to work and get the full power out of their computers!

 

Wikipedia. The "fourth most visited website" in the world (but ranked 6th right now by Alexa). It's a great resource for its quick updates, broad coverage of information, and quick loading articles. It falls under a charitable organization, called the Wikimedia Foundation (rated 3/4 stars from the Charity Navigator). Wikimedia projects also include:

  • Wiktionary - multilingual, free dictionary
  • Wikiquote - database of quotes from "famous people, books, speeches, films, or any intellectually interesting materials; also proverbs, mnemonics, or slogans."
  • Wikibooks - free ebook resources for students and teachers (whether self-taught or in school)
  • Wikisource - collection of texts that are free and open sources (laws, classics, other free works)
  • Wikispecies - a species database for taxonomy (aimed for scientific users)
  • Wikinews - reports the news on a wide variety of subjects
  • Wikiversity - dedicated to learning communities of all levels, and research
  • Wikimedia Commons - "central repository for free photographs, diagrams, maps, videos, animations, music, sounds, spoken texts, and other free media."
 

Open Directory Project. Volunteer editors provide a massive web directory. It's administered by a small staff under the Netscape Communication Corporation. DMOZ stands for Directory Mozilla. I noticed that WOT site advisor works nicely for its listings.

  • The Google Directory enhances the directory listings from DMOZ. The results are ranked by popularity, and the search results use Google's search engine. Alexa uses a similar DMOZ directory listing and enhances it with its own popularity ratings.
Others for Quick Reference

These are other possibilities which were brought up in comments here, noted from other sources, or found in a search engine. As they are not in the review, I am listing them here with brief descriptions and links to their sites for ease of reference.

  • Easy Donations: Lists a selection of donation sites, geared towards easy possibilities. There are email accounts to help the Amazon rain forest, grid computing, search engines, and information about lights, recycling, junk mail waste, and shopping.
  • Green: I just noticed a Firefox add-on that replaces ads wherever you surf with its own ads! It then diverts some of the revenue for its specially placed ads to fight global warming. Get the add-on for firefox here. "We use the ad revenue to purchase and retire carbon credits from suppliers like CarbonFund. Carbon credits are a standard mechanism for funding environmental projects" (FAQ).
Related Products and Links

Hot Finds at Gizmo's Freeware site:

Other Interesting Webware Lists-Articles:

 

Share this
4.545455
Average: 4.5 (11 votes)
Your rating: None

Comments

by Mr.Mugabe Mark (not verified) on 1. December 2011 - 21:20  (84251)

Dear Management and friends,
Greetings from Uganda-

We have seen the great work done for the world by this organization and we trust it has the capacity to provide a solution to our children most of whom are orphans and HIV infected and affected..

We're a an NGO working in Uganda. Our
areas of intervention include:-
- Combating HIV/AIDS

- Caring for orphans and vulnerable children

- supporting marginalized rural poor.

- We're seeking for a one time grant of any amount possible that can assist our children who are badly in need.,and Volunteers willing to work for the sake of love for suffering children.

our orphans are badly in need of food and healthcare.

For further information on what we do kindly visit our fundraising website at:
FEED AND EDUCATE 600 ORPHANS IN UGANDA FOR 1 YEAR- GLOBAL GIVING.

Yours in Service

Mark Mugabe,

President,EDAPO organization,

P.O.BOX 37034 KAMPALA.

Email:edapo.uganda@gmail.com.
Tel: +256 782 003 822

by Drongo on 30. June 2011 - 2:04  (74543)

After my wife died in April, I looked for a place to set up memorial donations easily.

In Australia, http://www.everydayhero.com.au/ allows you to set up pages so that you can have donations made in the name of the deceased to their favorite charity.

This site is linked to by the Royal Flying Doctor Service and others and over 94% of the money donated via the site actually goes to the chosen cause.

You do have to be careful with some charity sites, some of them eat up almost every penny in "expenses" and it isn't unusual for some of them to actually take 80% in administrative fees with the paltry remainder going to the charity.

Richard

by Remah on 29. June 2011 - 2:54  (74495)

What a surprise to find this! Well done Rizar.

by Rizar on 29. June 2011 - 12:56  (74508)

Thanks Remah!

by donation (not verified) on 6. August 2010 - 6:15  (55527)

Due to heavey monsoon rains in Pakistan, many part of Pakistan are under flood. Thousands of homes are destroyed, till now more than 500 people have been reported died. Please help these floody people in Pakistan. Help to provide them food and shelter. Your single penny can save a life.

Please create an awareness in people and give you charity, zaka, donations to these needy people.

You can see damages of flood in Pakistan at

http://www.forumpakistan.com/monsoon-rains-and-flood-in-pakistan-t57016.html , We request from all charity organizations to setup their office in Pakistan and help these people.

A humble request for the people who are in disaster and needed help. Hope you will listen us.

Thanks.

by Rizar on 14. January 2010 - 15:11  (41014)

Haiti Charity Relief: Help Earthquake Victims

I. Charity Navigator: One of the best ways to give with confidence and efficiency is to focus on charities rated highly by the Charity Navigator or similar service. It lists 3 or 4 star charities related to disaster relief in Haiti, as rated by the Charity Navigator. It also provides two informational articles on avoiding scams and tips for giving during times of crisis. I highly recommend Charity Navigator as it's a well respected source and is often cited by charity organizations on their websites: Help the Victims of the Haiti Earthquake.

The 4-star charities that look interesting to me are Doctors without Borders (treating people on the ground currently), CARE (will be distributing food with the UN; 100 strong staff), Americares (providing medical supplies), Partners in Health (organizing volunteers and medical supplies), and Save the Children (regularly strong Haiti presence with its 100 member staff to provide food & water and safe places for both kids and other charity organizations). But many others look just as good too (see the Charity Navigator or Network for Good for a larger list).

II. Larger efforts: Though some charities are excellent and require some administrative costs and advertisement money. For example, the American Red Cross gets a 3/4 star rating, but it's one of the biggest charities in the region and one that we know is in Haiti distributing aid.

I also saw on TV that the United Nations are playing a big role, so although I can't provide a star rating, the World Food Programme is one to take a look at just because you can see them right on TV doing their work. They also have a FreeRice game in my article below.

The White House / USAAID now has a devoted page to information on how to help Haiti survivors; it emphasizes the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund allows for easy donations to the Clinton Foundation (4/4 stars on Charity Navigator) or the Communities Foundation of Texas (3/4 stars).

Related Links:

1. Charity Navigator: Help the Victims of the Haiti Earthquake

  • Lists 3 or 4 star charities related to disaster relief in Haiti, as rated by the Charity Navigator. See the table on the right. It also provides two informational articles on avoiding scams and tips for giving during times of crisis. I highly recommend Charity Navigator as it's a well respected source and is often cited by charity organizations on their websites.

2. American Institute of Philanthropy: The Best Way to Support Relief Efforts in the Aftermath of Haiti's Earthquake

  • Another excellent charity rating site. To make the list, a charity must "spend at least 75% of its budget on program services" and "spend no more than $25 to raise $100". It also gives tips to avoid scams at the bottom.

3. VolunteerMatch: VolunteerMatch Disaster Alert Center

  • I know many people don't have money available. Some people are out of work or way in debt, so here are some volunteering opportunities. VolunteerMatch has an alert on its website, advertising opportunities in the American Red Cross. You can also use the map or search engine to find a volunteer area of interest.

4. Idealist.org: Haiti Earthquake Response

  • Idealist.org has a brief article with additional links and news sites to see what's going on with disaster relief. The CNN link goes to a huge mega list of suggestions. And the link to NPR's article emphasizes the Red Cross and Mercy Corps. But you could use the Charity Navigator or other more selective lists to see if you are interested in any of the various charities on the
    CNN/FOX/CBS/ABC lists.

5. Google: Information, resources, and ways you can help survivors of the Haiti earthquake

  • By the way, for any non-Google users, Google is providing a charity list as well. It emphasizes UNICEF and CARE. Someone at Google knows their stuff since both charities are 4 star organizations! Plus you can donate right through Google.

6. Forbes: How To Spot Dubious Haiti Charity Pleas

  • Another safety oriented source. It provides a link to its list of the top 200 charities and it notes three sources to check for the validity of charities: BBB Wise Giving Allience, Charity Navigator, and Guide Star. It also provides a few safety tips to avoid scams.

7. NonProfit Times: Getting Relief To Quake-Stricken Haiti Is Perilous For Charities

  • An investigative article (from NonProfit Times) that gives extra details on the problems in Haiti, and discusses several charity efforts. I noticed that two charities it mentions are also on the Charity Navigator list: CARE and Direct Relief International. Some of the other charities in the article are on the AIP list (see link 2).
by wdhpr on 14. January 2010 - 23:51  (41053)

I have always liked the Red Cross. They almost always seem to show up within hours of a catastrophe.
I also would like to thank Rizar for turning words into action :)

Cheers
Wdhpr

by MidnightCowboy on 14. January 2010 - 19:47  (41037)

Thanks for taking the initiative on this one Rizar. At least visitors to TSA can now contribute if they wish without fear of being linked to one of the scam sites.

by Rizar on 14. January 2010 - 22:27  (41047)

Thanks, I added VolunteerMatch since it also has an alert about volunteer/charity opportunities with the Red Cross, a solid 3/4 star organization. I'm also going to add an article by Idealist.org and the US president once I look at them a little more.

by Rizar on 31. December 2009 - 4:59  (39875)

I did some heavy editing recently, mainly to remove any sites connected with commercial grid computing technology.

Due to privacy concerns and low site ratings, I removed Pluraprocessing for the time being and sites using its technology (SuperDonate/DonateBot, etc.). Some of these sites are no doubt safe and have positive site ratings, but it makes sense to me that as their vendor falls off the list, so should they and sites heavily connected to them (Charitii).

Site Rating Reports:
http://www.mywot.com/en/scorecard/www.pluraprocessing.com (yellow)
http://www.siteadvisor.com/sites/pluraprocessing.com (green)
http://www.browserdefender.com/site/pluraprocessing.com/ (green)

by Anonymous on 31. May 2009 - 16:14  (22741)

How about this one for volunteering opportunities:

http://www.helpfromhome.org/

It provides information on easy, no commitment volunteering opportunities that can all be performed from the comfort of a person's home. Most of the 450 plus actions will cost nothing or very little to complete and take no more than 30 minutes to accomplish. The website claims you don't even need to get out of your favourite chair or pyjamas to perfom most of them! Blimey.

by Rizar on 31. December 2009 - 2:29  (39869)

I did find one red warning from WOT so far, so some of the links need caution. Only browse the main site if you have a site adviser. That said, I'm still investigating it and it has some very useful links.

For example, it has a link to FreeRice and other sites I put in the article. SocialVibe is interesting, except it requires way too much information for my taste.

Some of the volunteer links are very funny, such as watching for the Loch Ness Monster. Though I would argue its feeds the flame of superstition!

The cool Cyc Knowledge Base would definitely interest users on our site. Supposedly you answer questions to help a program somewhere improve its AI. But I couldn't get the site to respond.

Though I did already find an awesome site from Kirk Pearson (distributed computing). But with a major reservation. The Distributed Computing site below works fine on the link provided, but when I clicked to go to its home page it ran Firefox's CPU way up, perhaps for some sort of distributed computing connections. I'm not sure. So I would make sure to have NoScript on or have it blacklist the site before looking around.

by Anonymous on 18. May 2009 - 21:23  (21805)

Heres a couple of 'green' sites;
Jogo Green (similar to freerice)- http://jogogreen.com/
Ecocha search engine - http://www.ecocho.com.au/

by Rizar on 31. December 2009 - 2:39  (39870)

Thanks for these. Jogogreen is down right now.

It looks like Ecocha is another Yahoo! based search engine, but I will have to investigate its charities much more so. Does anyone know how carbon credits work!?

by Anonymous on 2. March 2009 - 19:34  (17059)

I'm shocked that you don't mention the World Community Grid.
Check it out-
http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org

by Rizar on 2. March 2009 - 21:45  (17062)

Thanks, I added it as an additional BOINC manager. I'll have to take a look at how it does with it.

I like that it has links to research for users to evaluate:
http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org/projects_showcase/viewResearch.do

by Anonymous on 21. February 2009 - 19:12  (16517)

A project similar to Boinc is DonateBot. You can choose from 4 charities and it can run directly from your web browser or as a Windows/Mac/Linux application. As you use the program it tells you how much food, water, education or rain forest land you have donated so far.

[Moderator Note: Plura has privacy and other concerns from WOT as of now, so I'm unlinking any sites connected to its grid computing.]

by Rizar on 22. February 2009 - 6:19  (16543)

Hi, Thanks.

The site seems free of malicious content, judging from LinkScanner Lite. But it seems to automatically start a Java application, so I left the link in your post but removed the hyperlink.

This will let users decide whether to click on it and run the process; just copy and paste the URL into the address box. And it will give us time to evaluate it further. I'd like to see more information about it. The website seems rather slim on details.

I'm very unclear about the connection between contributing computing power to search for E.T. and giving charity to CARE or one of the others. What science projects does it help?

by Anonymous on 24. February 2009 - 8:48  (16706)

Hi Rizar,

The Java applet on the home page is the program that lets users contribute their CPU power in exchange for donations to charity. Fortunately Java applets were designed to be safe for users to run, so there is no way for the program to access your files or personal information.

This project uses a somewhat confusing concept but I'll try to explain how this works. There are organizations out there that need lots of computing power to solve enormous computational problems -- searching for E.T. or finding large prime numbers for example. Rather than buying and maintaining a bunch of computers to do this, they can use a distributed computing service to solve their problem. Organizations are willing to pay money for access to this distributed computer service. This money earned is then what DonateBot gives to the charities. The kind of science/math projects that get solved is really up to the organization paying for the CPU power. However, regardless of what the service is used for, the money earned goes to CARE, etc.

DonateBot uses the distributed computing network built by a company called Plura Processing to earn money in exchange for CPU processing power. Amazon has a similar service called EC2 that companies are also using, so it's not a totally new idea.

Tom

by Rizar on 24. February 2009 - 19:53  (16746)

Thank you for the response.

The FAQ section does provide some helpful information on DonateBot about the charity feature, but I am still very unclear about the volunteer-science-project angle.

But I would like to learn more about the volunteer feature of the whole idea. If someone wants to volunteer to help scientific projects, then they might like to have more information. For example, BOINC asks 4 noble questions of projects (the first 2 and the last one definitely apply here):
http://boinc.berkeley.edu/projects.php

It asks about the goals of the project, the published results, and the nature of the project (profit, results freely available or not, etc.).

It might be interesting to volunteers to know whether their contribution leads to the advancement of our knowledge and supports the open and verified scientific method. If no one sees the research findings, then they could be lacking in validity. BOINC does allow just about any project to participate, but it has a good list of projects it has communicated with.

These projects might be purely academic in nature, or they might be run by non-academics.

Plura Processing says that its customers, for example, include those that engage in oil exploration. That is a bit of a different project than SETI, and might not produce scholarly papers for the benefit of other researchers; it might even try to prevent information from getting out to competitors.

Now, of course, oil exploration is important and I think Plura Processing is really interesting technology. It has won a bunch of awards, judging from its website and it seems to be integrating its technology in games.

I still want more information to better inform potential volunteers of these projects. I will probably send them an email to ask a few questions.

by Rizar on 26. February 2009 - 0:36  (16804)

[Moderator Note: Plura has privacy and other concerns from WOT as of now, so I'm unlinking any sites connected to its grid computing.]

Here are some of the answers to my questions:

Do you have a list of charities and organizations that receive revenue from you?


Right now we are helping three organizations: DonateBot, Together In Hope, and the Rainard School. We have not put as much effort as we'd like into finding other non-profit/charitable organizations to support, but we'd certainly like to help more! DonateBot is a great use of Plura, and we'd love to see more like it.

Do you have a list of customers who receive the computer processing services?


We have two main customer right now. One is a financial modeling firm. The other is a web-scale application platform you can read about at http://www.80legs.com. 80legs is close to launching their service, which will help drive demand for more computing power (in other words, more organizations to donate to).

What process does Plura use to accept new customers? Does it reject any?


We are currently accepting new customers on a very limited/selective basis. For instance, right now we're exploring with a company that provides scientific computing algorithms to a variety of companies. We do not allow anyone to use Plura. I will say that because we are a for-profit company, we must include the financial return of working with certain customers and we can't just look at the intellectual laurels of potential customers.

Thanks to Plura Processing for this speedy reply and helpful information. It's an exciting use of this new technology of grid computing.

by peter on 24. February 2009 - 11:14  (16713)

Thank you veru much for the info.

by Anonymous on 21. February 2009 - 12:39  (16495)
by Anonymous on 4. February 2009 - 22:07  (15355)

I would like to make a comment of how to make it easy to join BOINC projects. There is a nonprofit called GridRepublic who is working in collaboration with BOINC to make it simple and easy to join. They bring the projects together to one site which is easy to use, understand, and with simple point and click begin helping the projects you want.

GridRepublic: http://www.gridrepublic.org

by Rizar on 5. February 2009 - 4:38  (15370)

Thanks so much for the recommendation. It looks very good. I added it along with BAM!

by mr6n8 on 1. February 2009 - 14:00  (15065)

GoodSearch contributes money to your chosen charity if you use their Yahoo powered search engine.

From their FAQ:

How does it work?

* On the GoodSearch homepage, choose from thousands of organizations or add your favorite cause to our list.
* Search the Internet just like you normally would — the site is powered by Yahoo!, so you'll get high-quality search results.
* Fifty percent of the revenue generated from advertisers is shared with the charity, school or nonprofit organization of your choosing.

They estimate that each Web search will generate approximately $0.01 for the designated charity or school (image, video and site-specific searches are not included).

Also, if you shop at one of their GoodShop partners, a percentage of your purchase goes to your favorite charity.

There is no cost to the user for either of these.

Steve

by Rizar on 1. February 2009 - 16:26  (15069)

Everyone thank Steve!

Good find, of course I added it to the top with some comments.

Rizar

by mr6n8 on 2. February 2009 - 16:41  (15141)

I think the thanks should go to you for the excellent idea of this category.
Thanks
Steve

by Rizar on 2. February 2009 - 17:38  (15146)

Thanks Steve!

Rizar

by Anonymous on 31. January 2009 - 8:10  (15010)

It's nice to see people banding together and finding ways to help others...even with the economy in the tank!

We work with an organization thats been instrumental in helping developing countries and it's a recession proof income for all of those involved as well. We currently sponsor 10 thousand children in 6 different developing countries and we're on track to sponsor 1 MILLI0N more by 2013! We've also built 2 hospitals, 15 schools and 4 biogas digesters.

Have a look at our website if you get a chance

http://www.protrackerplus.com/3013/gtbp.html

We're building the Largest Humanitarian Army in the WORLD...and we could always use a few more soldiers!

Cheers,
Kenny & Erica Jones

Gizmos Needs You

Gizmo's Freeware is Recruiting

 We are looking for people with skills or interest in the following areas:
 -  Mobile Platform App Reviews for Android and iOS
 -  Windows, Mac and Linux software reviews       Interested? Click here