Choose Three Causes You’ll Support

There are thousands of charities out there doing great work. Some are local while others are worldwide. No matter what your beliefs, there are plenty of charities that will compliment your views and you would do well to support. If you aren’t sure about a certain charity, you can go to Charity Navigator which evaluates charities to learn more about how the charity is run and where the money it gets ends up going.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you need to give money to any of these charities to help them out. As this blog will show, there are plenty of things that you can do that won’t cost you a dime, but can greatly help out the charities that you support, but in order to do that, you need to know which causes you support.

If you haven’t already done so, find three causes that you believe in. While I support a lot more than three, these are the main ones that I use when people ask me:

  • Modest Needs: A charity that gives one time financial help to those who would otherwise lose their house or job.
  • KIVA: The charity that this blog supports which gives microloans to entrepreneurs in less developed countries that would not qualify for them at local banks.
  • Doctors Without Borders: Helps those with medical needs in some of the most desperate places on this planet.

When you have chosen three that you support, please leave a comment with a link to the causes that you have chosen (your comment might not show up right away as the links will cause it to go in the moderation line, but I will approve those that aren’t spam on a daily basis). Not only will it add an extra 10 cents to the microloan fund here, It will be an excellent way for others to learn about other charities and causes (plus I’d really like to know!)

If you enjoyed this post and would like to learn about other ways you can help others without spending a lot of time or money of your own, please consider signing up for free updates which will add another 25 cents toward a microloan. Thank you to all that have told friends or family and I hope that you will continue to do so. It’s greatly appreciated.

Get Paid $25 To Do Good

Now here is something that you can scream far and wide to all your friends and they will love you for it. Not only are you helping a great cause, you end up getting paid $25 to do it for about 5 minutes work. How can you beat something like that?

If you haven’t done so already and you live in the US, you can get a free $25 Kiva gift certificate (the $25 will eventually become yours to do with as you want, so you are actually getting paid $25 to do good) to make a microloan of your own to any entrepreneur on the Kiva site.

Think MTV and Kiva have teamed up to make this special offer. You need to do the following steps to qualify:

1. Create a account (it takes less than 5 minutes)

2. Once you have created and confirmed your account, go to Kiva’s profile

3. Click the green “Support this Organization” button in the top left hand box on the page. If you scroll down, you can also learn a little more about this offer.

4. Wait. You will receive a message in your Think MTV Inbox (not your email, so don’t forget) within 1-3 business days in about a week (confirmed that this offer is still valid). The email will contain the $25 Kiva certificate and explain how to redeem it to give a loan to the entrepreneur of your choice.

5. Comment here. Let us know that you received the certificate and who you made a loan to in the comments so we can add another 10 cents to fund a microloan.

Once you make the microloan, it will be paid back over the period of time indicated on the loan (usually between 4 and 18 months). Once it has been paid back you can decide whether to keep the $25 and move it to your bank account or reloan it to another Kiva entrepreneur.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to learn about other ways you can help others without spending a lot of time or money of your own, please consider signing up for free updates which will add another 25 cents toward a microloan. Thank you to all that have told friends or family and I hope that you will continue to do so. It’s greatly appreciated.

**Special thanks to Ron who pointed out this offer in the comments**

Give A Compliment

One thing that you can never give enough of is compliments to others. I’m not talking false compliments, but genuinely letting others know how you feel. Far to often we censor ourselves or simply assume that others somehow know how we feel which is often not the case (and even if it is, it’s still good to let them know how you feel on a regular basis).

For those that you may not know well, a genuine compliment can be the difference between a lousy day and one that all of a sudden looks a lot brighter than before the compliment was made. There really isn’t anything like a deep, warm, sincere compliment to make a person’s day.

If you haven’t given a lot of compliments in the past, it can take some courage to do so. I know it still does for me sometimes, but I also know that compliments for the most part are accepted with great joy and almost always brighten up a person’s day. My philosophy is to error on the side of giving out too many rather than too few.

If you get a chance today give someone a genuine compliment. It doesn’t matter if it is someone that you know well or just someone that you just happened to meet. Spend the day looking for good things in all the people you see and when you find them, let the person know. Feel free to share any compliments you make (or have made in the past) in the comments to add an extra 10 cents to the growing microloan fund.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider signing up for free updates (which will also add an extra 25 cents to fund loans) if you haven’t done so already. And always feel free to let others know if you think this is something they would enjoy. It’s greatly appreciated.

What You Can Do In Under 5 Minutes

In the last 4 minutes and 38 seconds before writing this post I was able to do the following without it costing me a cent:

  • I offset 1 pound of carbon emissions or roughly the equivalent amount to taking hot shower.
  • I saved 7.4 sq. ft. of American Prairie.
  • I helped to fund the airing of a public service announcement protesting Canada’s baby seal hunt.
  • I generated a donation to help save our oceans.
  • I helped support 11,314.29 sq.ft of Jaguar habitat.
  • I donated enough to feed an orange to a hungry primate.
  • I donated enough to fund 41 minutes to provide a child with medical care and education for 30 days.
  • I helped prevent one litter of unwanted kittens.
  • I helped generate 3 letters of support to stop violence against women.
  • I helped to eliminate environmental causes of breast cancer.
  • I gave the value of 1.1 cups of food to the hungry.
  • I helped fund a free mammogram to help a woman in need.
  • I helped fund healthcare for a child in need.
  • I helped fund the tools needed to attain literacy for a child in need.
  • I helped protect 11.4 square feet of rainforest.
  • I gave the value of .6 bowls of food to rescued animals.
  • I gave 10 pieces of kibble to a dog in an animal shelter.
  • I gave 10 pieces of kibble to a cat in an animal shelter.
  • I gave 20 grains of rice to help feed the poor.
  • I gave 10 cents to help fund a microloan.

Don’t believe me? Here is how I did it and how you can do it too. Feel free to get out your stop watch because I bet you can probably do it even quicker than I did if you want.

1. Go to the free click to donate global warming and click the “reduce 1 pound of carbon” button. Once finished, click on the tab for “rainforest” above. Click through and then move onto the other tabs: seals, oceans, big cats, primates, children, pets, stop violence and breast cancer.

2. Go to the The Hunger Site and click the “click here to give – it’s free” button. Once finished, click on the tab for “breast cancer” above. Click through and then move onto the other tabs: child health, literacy, rainforest and animal rescue.

3. Go to Free Kibble and answer the question. When finished, click the “click here to feed cats too!” link and answer that question as well.

4. Go to Free Rice and answer a question (you must get it correct — you can also stay longer and donate a whole lot more rice if you have extra time as well).

5. Come back here and leave a comment as to how long it took you to make all the free donations.

If you can complete those 5 steps, then you will have given similar amounts as I have listed above and the entire process should take somewhere about 5 minutes to complete. Pretty darn good way to spend five minutes when you have the free time.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider signing up for the rss feed which will add another 25 cents toward a microloan. Also feel free to spread the word and tell friends or family who you believe may also enjoy this blog. It’s greatly appreciated.

Give to Fund the Fight Against Breast Cancer

breastcancersiteHere’s an oldie but goody that you may have forgotten about. By simply clicking on a button, you can help fund mammograms for women that aren’t able to afford them at The Breast Cancer Site.

When you click on the button, a host of sponsors will appear and the 100% of the amount they paid will go toward funding the mammograms. It’s a simple click that takes less than 5 seconds so the only reason not to do it is because you forget.

When you have a free few seconds (like now), go to The Breast Cancer Site and click on the button. In the time it takes for you to click a mouse, you will have done good for the day and you can’t beat that. Once you have, feel free to come back here and leave a comment about what you think of these click sites or your thoughts about breast cancer. Each comment will add 10 cents to the growing total for microloans we fund.

I truly appreciate that you felt it was worth the time to visit my blog and do good today. If you enjoy this blog, please sign up for the rss feed which will add another 25 cents toward a microloan. Also feel free to spread the word and tell friends or family who may also enjoy it.

Give Free Rice

I’m guessing that most of you are aware, or at least have heard, of the Free Rice website — but it’s certainly worth mentioning here as an easy way to do good that doesn’t cost you a dime. Basically, you are given a vocabulary word and four possible meanings to choose from. If you click on the correct meaning, 20 grains of rice are donated to the United Nations World Food Program. You can play as many times as you want and the more answers you get correct, the more difficult the vocabulary questions become.

The site has become so popular that it has actually expanded beyond vocabulary and now there are numerous quizzes you can take to give free rice. These include Famous Paintings, Chemical Symbols, English Grammar, English Vocabulary, Identifying Countries on the Map, World Capitals, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Basic Math (Pre-Algebra) and Multiplication Table. There should be something that can grab your interest while you help feed those less fortunate than yourself.

The site gives away over 100 million grains of rice most days and has given away over 56 billion grains since the site was started. It is a great way to waste 15 minutes or whenever you have a bit of free time.

When you have a chance, go to Free Rice and see how many vocabulary words you can get correctly in a row. I just managed 56 which donated over 1000 grains of rice (it doesn’t matter if it’s only one — that’s 20 free grains of rice that will go to feed someone). When your finished, come back here and leave a comment on how many in a row you were able to do, the concept about free rice or anything else about helping stop hunger. Each comment will add 10 cents to fund a microloan.

If you enjoyed this post or the blog in general, please take the time to tell others that may also enjoy it – it’s most appreciated and the more people comment and enjoy doing good, the faster we can fund these microloans.

Let Someone Go Ahead of You

I was at the store the other day and was watching an old lady, cane in hand, slowly make her way across the atrium area to a door for a department store. When she reached the door, a man swung it open so hard that it would have knocked the old lady over if she hadn’t been just out of reach, then he continued on his way without even giving the old lady a glance. Several other people stepped to the side and used the other door as the old woman struggled to open it and quickly went on their way without stopping to offer and help. There was an opportunity for at least 5 people to help, but none of them did and the thing is, I don’t think that any of them even realized that they hadn’t helped. They had been so busy and focused on what they were doing and where they were going that they had simply failed to recognize that someone could use a helping hand.

It reminded me of the story of Joshua Bell and the experiment he did about this time last year. For those not familiar, Joshua Bell is one of the premier violinists in the world — you would expect to pay $100 a seat or more to listen to him play. He decided to take his talent and play as a street performer at a Metro station in Washington DC with his $3.5 million 1710 Stradivari in hand.

You would expect that someone of such talent would create quite a stir, but it didn’t quite turn out that way. For the 45 minutes he played, a total of 7 people out of the over 1000 that passed by actually stopped to listen. While the article is rather long, it’s a great read and well worth your time.

I’m a bit ashamed to admit this, but the article actually made me cry and I’m not one to cry easily (in fact, I’m not sure if any other article has ever made me cry). There was something about it that I found profoundly sad — that so many would pass by too much in a hurry to listen to the beauty that was right in front of them. It also hurt because as much as I wanted to believe I would have been one of the seven that stopped, I knew in my heart that I was more likely to be one of the other 1000 that simply walked on by.

After reading that article last year, I decided that I needed to slow down and that I needed to pay more attention to the things around me. And a funny thing happened. I started to notice that there are a lot of people like the old lady with the cane that could use a little bit of help if anyone noticed.

If you get the chance, slow down a bit today and let someone go in front of you. Open the door and let them go in first, wave them ahead of you in line or yield the right of way to them on the street. Not only will they appreciate the gesture, I think that you’ll find that you like yourself a whole lot better when you aren’t so focused that you forget to see what is going on around you.

Feel free to leave a comment about the Joshua Bell article, any experience you have had letting others go before you or just your general thoughts about slowing down and paying attention a bit more. Each comment will add 10 cents to the microloan fund. If you enjoyed this post or the blog in general, please tell others that may also enjoy it. The more that comment, the more microloans we can give.