Simple Ways To Make A Difference Today

November 23, 2009 · By Sloane Davidson, Founder and CEO, Hello Neighbor

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Last month I started a series called "$5 or 5 minutes = 1 Way to Make a Difference" and I got an incredible response. It seems like there are a lot of way to give back online that are SIMPLE and EASY, but it can be hard to find them. So here's my helping hand with 6 "Look, there's a quick and easy way I can make a difference TODAY." I present you with the 2nd edition of how you can give back either with a donation, your time or the click of a button. Simple yet meaningful.

I could say, "In the spirit of the holidays" but I think you and I both know this kind of behavior - getting into the habit of helping others - doesn't have an expiration date or time or year, it's evergreen.

Some of the opportunities below do expire, so act today!

1) VOTE. L'Oreal's Women of Worth campaign highlights women in the community making a difference. In addition to all of the finalists having $5,000 donated in their name to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, the nominee with the MOST votes by end of day Tuesday, November 24th, will receive $25,000 for their nonprofit of choice.

I voted for Halle Tecco, an amazing woman who was a Kiva intern this summer and I met at my Kiva Fellowship training. She started a nonprofit called Yoga Bear that provides yoga mats and studio time for cancer patients and survivors. All of the women nominated are worthy of the grand prize, but if you want my recommendation, vote for Halle & Yoga Bear HERE.

2) TEXT. DONATE via your cell phone: text FEED to 90999 and your phone company will donate $5.00 to Feeding America! Your donation will provide 35 meals. Feeding America's provides food to more than 25 million low-income people facing hunger in the United States every year, including more than 9 million children and nearly 3 million seniors. With a network of over 200 food banks serving all 50 states, more than 2.5 billion pounds of food and grocery products are distributed annually.

UPDATE - An anonymous donor is MATCHING all texts to YOUR TEXT is now worth 70 meals!

Great campaign by MashCast. See their flash mob to raise awareness at the top of this post. Follow @mashcast on Twitter for more information about this campaign which runs through the holidays. Make any additional donations HERE.

3) SHOP FOR GOOD. I'll be writing more about gifts this holiday season with a purpose and attached to a cause. One I'd like to highlight today is Macy's Path 2 Peace program. A collective of Rwandan women, they weave baskets and bracelets to earn money for their families. After the genocide in Rwanda, the population was almost 70% women, weaving, as an ancient tradition brought them hope and also provided a means to earn an income. This Macy's campaign first launched in 2005 and now employees thousands of women. You can follow the campaign on Twitter at #Path2Peace and buy the products HERE.

4) STAY HOME. I know what you're thinking, "But you just told us to buy something!" Listen, it's not all black and white here. We do buy gifts at the holidays and we like doing it. But please, for a minimum of 5 minutes or for the whole day on Black Friday - think about how you're spending your money this holiday season (and let's face it, in general). The constant acquisition of STUFF has to STOP, but it won't unless you think "Hey, do I need this? Do I need to buy that?" Enter BUY NOTHING DAY. It's a boycott of Black Friday and it's an opportunity to consider your purchasing power and reevaluate your list of "wants" and the list of wants from your loved ones. Look at #bnd09 on Twitter for more ways people are choosing to buy nothing this Friday.

5) DONATE $3. 9th Ward Field of Dreams is a nonprofit in New Orleans that is in the FINAL fundraising stage to build a football field in the 9th ward of New Orleans, an area still recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. This field will be the ONLY public field in the 9th ward and provide a state-of-the-art facility to the entire community. The passion and drive of the founder, Brian Bordainick is contagious and this final push is looking for 250,000 people to donate $3. Simple, easy, do it TODAY.

Donate $3 (or more) today to help them reach their goal. Follow 9th Ward Field of Dreams on Twitter HERE or see their website to make a donation.

BONUS: 6) HASHTAG #TWEETSGIVING. I wrote about Tweetsgiving last week, the campaign runs 48 hours starting at 10AM Tuesday the 24th. By tweeting what you're thankful for using the #tweetsgiving hashtag, attending a Tweetsgiving party in your area or making a donation, you are helping Epic Change change the lives of children in Tanzania by directly proving support to build a school, an orphanage, or provide educational supplies.

More details about Tweetsgiving can be found HERE.

There you go! I hope you enjoy. And if you have suggestions of campaigns to include in future editions of this series, send me an email at

If you liked this post, you might like: TGIF Video: Mercy Corps New Kiva Borrower Profiles Giving Back On Your Birthday; The Doug Campbell Interview