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5 Ways To Donate To Charity While Sitting At Your Computer

Updated on October 29, 2014

The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.

— Oscar Wilde

The holiday season seems to be the time of year when most people feel like giving back. It would be nice if people did it all year, but Christmahannukwanzadan (I hope I spelled that properly) really brings out the good in people more than say, Halloween. Except on Black Friday. That brings out the pushy and shovy in people. But anyway, maybe you want a way to help people without ever leaving your computer. Perhaps you're too young to drive or work, or you don't have enough money to donate, or you're a cave-dwelling hermit too busy waiting for a party of adventurers to come by so you can teach them how to save the world (Tim the Enchanter?). First you need to learn how to save the world yourself, so check out these websites. They are Free Rice, Care2, Charity Engine, Goodsearch, and Games for Change.

Don't worry if you don't have any change to spare. You can still help other people with empty pockets, from your own computer desk!
Don't worry if you don't have any change to spare. You can still help other people with empty pockets, from your own computer desk!

Free Rice

This site is great if you like trivia games. I first heard about this site in my high school Latin class, when my teacher took us to the computer lab and had us do vocabulary questions. Basically, for every question you get right, the site gives ten grains of rice to someone in another country through the World Food Programme. Ten grains may not seem like a lot, but it adds up over some time spent answering questions. Now they've expanded to include many more subjects, like math, chemistry, and even an SAT prep section, which would have come in handy back when I was in high school. You can also sign up now to track your totals. It's a great idea to help stop world hunger, and I think it's a really fun way to learn things as well. It's a win-win situation.

Do you know the right chemical symbol for titanium?
Do you know the right chemical symbol for titanium?

Care2

Make this site part of your daily routine. The idea behind Care2 is that one click on a link donates to the cause you clicked on (the donations are paid by ad revenue from various businesses, as well as some charitable organizations). You can help sponsor a child in need for a day, save 7.2 acres of rainforest, offset the cost of your daily computer energy use, and do many more good things for the world with just one click. Unfortunately, they only let you click once per day, so the amount you can help is limited. If you join the site, you can also sign or create activist petitions to campaign for causes you care about, and earn butterfly credits to buy special donations or gifts for various causes. For example, with 500 butterfly credits you can get someone somewhere to plant a tree for you. You don't even have to get dirty. Unless you want to. Then you can use the site's volunteer board to find volunteering and nonprofit career opportunities to do in person. If you come back to the site every day and tell friends, family, or even your cat about it, however, you're doing good right there. Especially if your cat likes to sit on your computer. You never know, he may click one someday.

So many acres of land have been set aside by Care2 visitors for endangered big cats like tigers. Every click here could save a tiger's life and give him a home.
So many acres of land have been set aside by Care2 visitors for endangered big cats like tigers. Every click here could save a tiger's life and give him a home.

Charity Engine

This is a program you can download that uses your spare computing power to earn money for charity. Here's how it works: Companies send difficult computing jobs to the charity engine and the engine breaks the problem down and sends it to the computers of people who downloaded the program. Your computer solves their problems while you are doing whatever you do on the computer. Then the computers that finished their parts send it back to charity engine headquarters, where the code is pieced back together and the finished product is given to the company. Finally, the company donates money to charity, typically 10-20 dollars for every 1 dollar of computer power you used. Pretty cool, right? All you have to do is download the program once and it automatically runs in the background. For those who want incentives for being good, you can even win prize money for participating! I've tested this myself and it hasn't given me any viruses and seems to work like the website says it does, so try it out if you want.

The program runs in the background and earns money for charity without bothering you. All you have to do is download it and it'll start working immediately.
The program runs in the background and earns money for charity without bothering you. All you have to do is download it and it'll start working immediately.

Goodsearch

Goodsearch is a search engine that donates money to a charity of your choice every time you search. Currently they've been able to earn over 9 million dollars for all of the charities they support, so like the tagline says, people are making a difference. You can also get them to donate a percentage of the profit when you shop online or eat out at a restaurant, too. For example, if you buy a book off of amazon you can use one of goodsearch's coupons and get a discount on your order, and the amount that you saved goes to your charity. Searching for things online is something you already do, so why not help out people in need while you're doing it?

Goodsearch kills two birds with one stone: you can search for information you need and donate to your favorite cause at the same time!
Goodsearch kills two birds with one stone: you can search for information you need and donate to your favorite cause at the same time!

Games for Change

This site has games that raise awareness for specific causes, for all ages. You can learn about social issues in modern society while raising money for projects that will help to solve the problem, and have fun at the same time. The money is mostly donated by large corporations, or celebrity sponsors, although visitors to the site can donate money directly. They have a lot of different games, so whether you like action-packed button mashing or like testing your mind's capabilities with tough strategy games, you will find something that you enjoy. There are even iPhone apps available for downloading and playing for charity. The site became part of the Tribeca Film Festival in 2014, and hosted many celebrities and industry experts, who talked about all of the ways their games have improved the world. Games for Change has created a lot of buzz, and will be influential for years to come.

Garbage Dreams, one of their particularly addicting games, is a simulation where you are trying to get the people of Cairo to recycle as much as they can within an 8 month timespan, to earn money and build a recycling plant empire.
Garbage Dreams, one of their particularly addicting games, is a simulation where you are trying to get the people of Cairo to recycle as much as they can within an 8 month timespan, to earn money and build a recycling plant empire.

Which of these sites are you most likely to try?

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Tips To Donate To Charity

The sites I have listed here are all for donating money to charitable organizations with no cost to you. If you would like to use your actual money to give to charity, look at these tips by financial advisor Ric Edelman:

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What great ideas contained here. I love the spirit of this article. Well done!

    • Lissa Clason profile image
      Author

      Lissa Clason 2 years ago from Fayetteville, North Carolina

      Yup, they have so many fun games on there. It's very innovative that there are websites now where you can enjoy playing a game, and help make the world a better place at the same time.

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 2 years ago

      Thanks for telling us about these sites. I'll have to check them out. The game one sounds really fun.