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Three Websites to Save the World

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Mandy Boyle
Staff Writer

Did you know that saving the world can be as easy as clicking a mouse? OK, well maybe not saving the entire world, but you can actually make a difference and do something meaningful by hitting up your internet browser. Non-profit organizations and charity-related websites are becoming increasingly popular for generating both interest and results. In many cases, these websites are well-built, useful, and actually fun.

Here are three websites you can visit to make a difference in our world:

VolunteerMatch.org
“The term virtual volunteer conveys things that you can do virtually anywhere. The idea that you are no longer locked into the needs of your immediate community means that you can connect to more opportunities, regardless of your skill set.” – Robert Rosenthal, Director of Communications, VolunteerMatch.org

VolunteerMatch, according to its official site, “strengthens communities by making it easier for good people and good causes to connect.” Basically, VolunteerMatch provides free online services to support networks of non-profits, volunteers, and business leaders so that civic engagement is a lot easier to manage. With millions of visitors each year and a reputation for being a preferred internet recruiting tool for more than 74,000 nonprofits (according to its 2009 annual report), one could say that VolunteerMatch is an essential site for organizations to know about.

Their main feature is a sort of free matchmaking service where volunteers can reach out to organizations and organizations can post ads searching for volunteers. Volunteers then respond to ads and work one on one with the organization to achieve a particular goal. Sometimes, it’s getting a brochure designed. Other times, it’s getting filing done in the offices. The tasks available appeal to a wide variety of talents and skills. So, if you’re looking to build your portfolio and professional experience while doing some good, consider checking out VolunteerMatch.org. There are opportunities there for writers, designers, techies, and anyone else who just wants to lend a hand.

FreeRice.com
“What if just knowing what a word meant could help feed hungry people around the world? Well, at FreeRice it does.. the totals have grown exponentially.” – Washington Post

According to its official website, FreeRice is a non-profit run by the United Nations World Food Program. Essentially, this site fulfills two of its missions. Firstly, it provides free education to people through word games that allow for users to win grains of rice. Secondly, it helps end world hunger by providing those rice grains to hungry people around the world for free. Play a word game and feed the hungry. It’s really that simple.
FreeRice is also incredibly popular. According to Compete.com, FreeRice.com gets hundreds of thousands of unique visitors each month, which means countless grains of rice are being donated to people in need. In 2009 alone, nearly 17 billion grains of rice were donated to the World Food Program – impressive for a charity who just launched in 2007.

GoodSearch.com
“In today’s troubled economy, Ken Ramberg’s recipe for fund-raising is simple: give people at all income levels a tool for benefiting charity without spending a dime. GoodSearch, the Los Angeles-based company that he and his sister JJ founded in 2005, tries to do just that.” – The New York Times
The premise of GoodSearch is simple. Every time you search something at GoodSearch.com, your charity or school earns money. The more you search, the more your organization makes. GoodSearch taps into the billions of dollars generated in search engine advertising so that some of those funds go to causes that people actually care about. As a result, you get the same quality search engine results you need when you’re researching something for paper while doing good for your community, club, or university.

So how does it work? Either go to GoodSearch.com or download and install the GoodSearch toolbar on your internet browser. Then, just search as you normally would and 50 percent of the revenue generated from the sponsored search advertisers gets shared with the organization of your choosing.
According to GoodSearch, a charity with 1,000 supporters searching the Internet twice a day will receive about $7,300 in a year. More than 93,000 organizations have signed up with GoodSearch, including Marywood University-related ones such as the Dance Team and Campus Ministry.
These are just three examples of how the internet can make a huge difference for our non-profits. Remember, you’re only a click away from doing some real good for real people.

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