Here’s an important life lesson: no matter how tough you think your life is there’s always someone who has to face challenges that are even tougher than yours.
And it goes in many different directions. Not only basic things like making money, getting food, or having a place to rest at night, but also the possibility of taking part in some entrepreneurial projects or getting proper education.
For most people in the US, Europe, East Asia, etc. these things are much less challenging. With the internet at hand we can take part in almost any project imaginable, compile a team of people of different professions and talents, and start immediately.
We can get a coffee at Starbucks, or a steak at the nearest steakhouse, and so on. But what would you do without electricity or a place to buy some clothes, not to mention getting a computer with internet access?
Giving back is among the most important and valuable things an entrepreneur can do. Period.
And I’m not talking about giving back in terms of “offering a cheap product,” or “doing something for free in exchange for advertising space.” This isn’t giving back. This is simply business.
Giving back is where you give, and then nothing happens. No benefits for you, no recognition, nothing tangible gets sent your way. Your biggest and sole reward is the realization that you’ve made a significant change in someone’s life. And if not “significant” then a positive change nevertheless.
This post is not designed to help you make your business grow, but it will help you grow as a human being and make a lot of other people happy if you decide to take action on the advice here.
What follows is a list of online charities of different types that make it possible for you to help others live a better life and even start their own entrepreneurial projects.
I’ve been a member of DonorsChoose for quite a long time now, and it’s my favorite online charity. Here you can help classrooms from all around America. The rules are simple as with every online charity. You start by selecting a project you want to help, decide on the amount you want to send, transfer your money … and that’s basically it.
No matter what amount of money you end up donating you get full transparency and feedback from the site. You know where your money is going to and what the result of the project you’ve decided to help is. DonorsChoose even provides photos of projects taking place, and you might also get some teacher and student letters.
The idea of this kind of help for public schools around the US was born in one of Bronx’s high schools where teachers were experiencing the scarcity of learning materials. One of the social studies teachers – Charles Best – decided to create the site sensing that many people understand this problem and would like to help distressed public schools.
Kiva isn’t a charity strictly speaking. Kiva is an online loan platform. After signing up for an account you get to help other entrepreneurs around the world by lending them small amounts of money. Even though most projects require large sums to get off the ground your help still counts because your loan gets combined with what other people have sent, so in the end, every project can be fully funded, and then carried out.
At Kiva you will find projects to choose in many different sectors. Just to name a few: agriculture, arts, clothing, education, health, manufacturing, retail, services, and more.
The way Kiva works is actually pretty simple. I think it’s best if you just watch this official video from Kiva:
Other Charities and Fundraising Communities
This is where my personal experience ends. I’m only the member of DonorsChoose and Kiva. But there are a lot more places where you can go to help people.
I really encourage you to do so, and read a word or two about each of these sites before deciding which ones you want to become a member of. Here’s a list of additional places worth checking out:
- Causes. Said to be the world’s largest platform for activism and philanthropy.
- Network for Good. A website for anyone who wants to give and volunteer over the internet without leaving their homes.
- Razoo. A place for donors to easily find a cause to support. Also a place to start raising money for worthwhile causes.
- Charity Navigator. Donating through Charity Navigator is a way of making sure that your money goes exactly where you want it to go.
- Freerice.com. This is a simple online game in which you’re answering some questions, and whenever you get the answer right 10 grains of rice get donated on your behalf to the United Nations World Food Program. A very cool thing.
That’s all I have for this short post on online charities, fundraising, and giving back. I have only one advice to give you now. Visit the sites above and choose one that speaks to you the best. Start by donating a small amount of money, and see how great it is to help others. In the end, this is what money is meant to do – improve people’s lives.