Ah Thanksgiving. A holiday for being grateful for what you have. And celebrating it by pigging out on every piece of food you can get your hands on during the Thanksgiving dinner followed by maxing out your credit cards during the shopping frenzy we all know and love as Black Friday. Is that how you really want to ‘give thanks’ this year?
Now, I don’t meant to generalize. I know that many of us are in debt or in less than ideal financial situations. We’ve been watching our wallets and budgets, will likely have a modest Thanksgiving dinner and will be very careful in our spending or will be avoiding Black Friday all together. I know that for many of us, it’s a struggle just to survive the holiday season without accruing additional debt.
Under such circumstances, giving money to charity simply doesn’t seem like an option. Besides, which charity would you donate to? It just seems like too much work.
Well, I’d like to show you that no matter what your circumstance, you too can give. Check out the four organizations that I’ve highlighted below. All you need is $1 and as little as 30 seconds of your time.
It’s no secret that the recession has not been good for our education system here in America. From cutting arts programs to reducing the number of days children can attend school, it’s been rough for our schools and children to say the least. The situation may seem hopeless, but guess what? You can do something about it. Check out Donors Choose, an organization that “grew out of a Bronx high school where teachers experienced first-hand the scarcity of learning materials in our public schools.”
The founder of Donors Choose, Charles Best, is a former social studies teacher “who sensed that many people would like to help distressed public schools but were frustrated by a lack of influence over their donations. He created DonorsChoose.org in 2000 so that individuals could connect directly with classrooms in need.”
How it works: “Public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on DonorsChoose.org. Requests range from pencils for a poetry writing unit, to violins for a school recital, to microscope slides for a biology class.”
You can browse through these project requests and give any amount you’d like to the one that pulls at your heartstrings. Once a project reaches its funding goal, they deliver the materials to the school. For as little as $1, you can see the exact impact your donation has on our country’s education system. Now that’s powerful.
Enter Fill The Cup, a donation program by the World Food Programme, the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. In 2010, the organization provided food for 109.2 million people in 75 countries.
How it works: The concept is simple. Every dollar you donate goes towards filling 4 cups worth of nutritious meals for people at risk of starvation all over the world. All you need is one dollar to ensure that four people will be saved from hunger for at least one more day.
How many of you have bought a group coupon at a daily deal site, only to regret it later? Well, I’d like to introduce you to a new type of ‘daily deal’ site, where, instead of wasting your money buying fencing lessons for half off, you can donate $1 to a non profit organization and feel good about yourself.
How it works: Philanthroper is a website that works with and showcases a different charity every day of the week. Just like with daily deal sites, you can enter your email address to stay informed about ‘the charity of the day’ or you can simply make a one time donation to the organization featured on any given day. How cool is that?
And you know what else is great? They don’t take any fees or cuts from the money you donate. So, minus the PayPal and credit card fees, all of your money goes towards the charity that you decide to donate towards. The icing on the cake? Instead of asking you to donate as much as you can, they actually cap the donation amount to $10 per day. They’d rather have you come back, spread your donations around to a bunch of different organizations and make it easier for you to donate frequently than to have you spend it all in one go.
How it works: “Love Drop is a micro-giving network of people who unite as a community to help one person or family a month. Each month Love Drop delivers a unique combination of unexpected financial gifts, personal encouragement and the support of local and online communities.” Got a dollar? Use it to drop some love this month on Marci, a woman who’s battling breast cancer for the 3rd time.
These organizations make giving super easy and, dare I say, fun! Want to take it a step further? Introduce your favorite organization to your family and friends during Thanksgiving dinner and if you have a computer handy, allow them to sign up and donate on the spot. Now that’s a Thanksgiving dinner that everyone will remember and truly feel good about.
If you have a great charity that we should be aware of, post it in the comments (or tell us on Twitter). All of us here at ReadyForZero hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving no matter where you spend it or who you spend it with!