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Make 2012 A Giving Year: 10 Creative Online Social Good Resources

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"No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted." ~ Aesop

A question often asked: "What are some helpful sites for helping online?" There are so many, it can be a challenge to select some choice ones for lists. We are all becoming more generous, in part because of online resources, as Forbes notes in "Today's 'G' Generation: Replacing Greed With Generosity."

Blackbaud, a leading provider of software, services, and research for nonprofits, has illustrated a year-over-year increase of 10.6% in online giving as of Fall 2011, and that trend looks to continue. Because the "anytime, anywhere" online model is so convenient, here are a few useful resources to try that might be new or unexpected; they range across volunteering, fundraising, research, donating, pro-bono, mobile giving, and a couple very cool celebrity-backed ventures. All of them are excellent tools. Many of them require only a few minutes here or there... and every kind gesture, no matter how small, adds up! Just click on the name to pay them a visit, and start your New Year off on a Giving note.

Philanthroper

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The daily deals site for charity! Get introduced to a new cause every day and give $1 when you're interested. Awareness plus micro-action! Making doing good an easy daily habit.

Sparked

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An opportunity to micro-volunteer anytime, anywhere, online. Projects range from 2 minutes to 2 hours and include many fun, techie things like reviewing social media or translating documents.

Crowdrise

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Ed Norton's baby, Crowdrise leverages crowdsourcing for social good fundraising. Any site that uses the mantra "If you don't give back, no one will like you" is on the right track! Look for their fabulous IYDGBNOWLY T-shirts and set up a fundraising site for your favorite cause.

Kiva

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Welcome to the world of micro-finance! Lend a global budding entrepreneur as little as $25 to provide an opportunity for sustainable business. Kiva supporters have already funded close to 600,000 businesses worldwide.

Catchafire

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"What will your Butterfly Effect be?" Catchafire helps you use professional skills like marketing and PR on a pro-bono basis, growing your own professional contacts and helping social good organizations at the same time. More probono opportunities can also be found at the Taproot Foundation.


Give.Mobi

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Let your favorite charity know about this resource, and check who's here that you support. Since give.mobi's mobile donation platform works on any smartphone or tablet, it's simple to set up and use to give a real-time mobile donation (or pledge). Perfect for nonprofit events or to call out on radio or TV interviews due to its easy-to-remember name.

KarmaGoat

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Free your stuff, shop from friends, do some good! This works like Craigslist, with all proceeds going to charity. Got something too nice to just give away? Some electronics? A gift you'll never use? Create some good Karma with it. It will get a new home and love, and a great cause will get a donation.

CharityNavigator

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Along with GuideStar, this is a great site to research organizations. It's similar to a Better Business Bureau, for charities.

SixDegrees

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It really is a small world! A partnership between Kevin Bacon and Network for Good, Six Degrees helps you see what causes you have in common with friends and celebrities, and you can "pay it forward" with Good Cards that can be redeemed for charity donations.

VolunteerGuide

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Self-directed Ideas and resources for volunteering for 15 minutes, a few hours, or on a volunteer vacation. Includes many easy 15-minute activities. You can also search for specific volunteer opportunities locally with another great site, VolunteerMatch.

There are nearly unlimited ways to do good. These are a few easy, fun ones to get started with - how will you use them? Please let us know in the comments below!

Special thanks to Tony Hastings at The Top 10 Blog for the photos, courtesy of each site.

Amy Neumann is a writer, speaker and consultant on social good marketing. Check out her CharityIdeasBlog and follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas.