January 31, 2011

Snap Happy

Vivanista, an online community for living and giving, is giving do-gooder photographers a chance to win cash for their favorite charity. Whether you’re an amateur snapper or a seasoned pro, just click here to submit a photo (along with a 140-character caption) that represents what you love about philanthropy. (Overuse of the word "love" in this post is explained below, BTW.)

Vivanista will narrow the field to 75 finalists, 25 each from three separate categories: person, place or thing. Then it’s up to
Facebook voters to pick the grand-prize winner, who will take home $1,000 for their charity of choice.

On February 14, (it's Valentine's Day! Geddit?) the site will share the “love” by showcasing a photomontage of the most popular submissions. How sweet is that?

You’ve got until February 7 to
enter your favorite shots and give the charity of your choosing some lust. I mean love.

January 27, 2011

Self Promotion

SELF Magazine is looking for extraordinary women (three to be exact) who do extraordinary things. Women who work tirelessly so that others may live better lives. Girls who SELFlessly (now you see the organic link between brand and campaign) devote their time, energy and expertise to the world around them, and gracefully give back to their communities. We're talking tough chicks who have the strength to transform the lives of others but don't miss a beat in the ongoing march of everyday life.

Basically, they’re looking for women who make a difference by doing good in the world. Hence the name of the contest: “
Women Doing Good."

Click
here to nominate yourself or someone else - in 500 words or less - before March 31. You’ll also have to provide a photo and a few bits and pieces of information.

Last year’s winners included Haley Kilpatrick, founder of Girl Talk, JJ Ramberg, co-founder of GoodSearch.com, and Lisa Scarpinto, CEO of Kitchen on the Street. Go on,
GoodSearch them and see what it takes to be a Woman Doing Good.

Each of the three winners will receive a $10,000 donation to her charity of choice, an all expenses paid trip to the Big Apple to attend the Women Doing Good Awards Ceremony, and a chance to be featured in the September and/or December issue of SELF.

Click
here for more details, rules, disclosures and all the other fine print.

January 26, 2011

Change It Up

If you’d like to make one small change toward giving back, it doesn’t get much easier than SwipeGood.com. Simply register your debit or credit card on the Web site, use said card to make purchases of food, booze, clothing, travel, entertainment, etc.; then just sit back and relax while SwipeGood rounds each of your purchases to the nearest dollar, and then donates the remainder to charity (minus a 5 percent fee, natch.)

There are dozens of deserving charities to choose from including
DonorsChoose.org, ASPCA, Invisible Children, Chrysalis Shelter, Loved Twice, Kids V Cancer, Food for the Poor and many others.

According to the site, most people’s “spare change” averages about $20 per month, give or take a few dollars and cents. I suppose it all depends on whether you’re more of a “paper” or “plastic” type of person.

Click
here to learn more about how you can swipe to do good, without texting, liking, calling, writing, referring, or e-mailing a thing.

January 21, 2011

Our Daily Bread

Not sure where this fits on the do-gooding scale, but it sounds delicious.

Hillshire Farms is on the hunt for America’s “Most Wanted Sandwich” and they’ve wrangled fifteen mom-bloggers to lead the quest. This hand-picked Hillshire Farm “Fresh 15” have been tasked with creating their favorite version of the All American Sandwich, one that incorporates not only the local flavors of their various hometowns, but also one (or more) of the many premium quality lunchmeats offered by Hillshire Farms. I suppose that's what you might call "the catch," ruling out as it does your fav arugula, goat's cheese and eggplant on focaccia.

You’ve got until March 20 to vote for your favorite sandwich (after signing in). The “Fresh 15” member with the most votes will win $5,000 and – wait for it – a $5,000 donation to the charity of their choice. I knew there was a reason I was writing about this.

I'm hungry.

Click
here for more delicious details and to cast your vote for America’s Most Wanted sandwich. With a Web site named www.gomeat.com, how can you possibly resist?

January 20, 2011

Els for Autism

Ernie Els is looking for talented amateur golfers who also possess superior skills at raising cash for a good cause. He recently announced plans for the “Els for Autism Golf Challenge,” a series of 32 (or more) tournaments across the country that will hopefully allow him to meet his goal of raising $3 million to help build a center for autistic children in Southern Florida.

In lieu of an exorbitant entry fee, the two-player teams must raise at least $2,500 toward
Els for Autism and donate their greens fees. The team with the lowest net score and the team that raises the most money will advance to the finals in Las Vegas. If you happen to suck at golf or can’t find a decent team partner, you can also advance by raising $10,000 large ones.

The lucky finalists will be whisked off to Vegas where they’ll join Els and his wife, Liezl, for two rounds of glorious golf. If that’s not enough to entice you, they’ve also lined up some pretty spectacular prizes including a luxury golf tour in South Africa and a six-day golf trip to Ireland.

For more information about Els for Autism, click
here.

January 19, 2011

On the Side of the Angels

All right, I’ll admit this one’s a bit strange, but it does meet my very broad criteria of having a charitable element, and has the added bonus of benefitting the awesome and heroic profession of nursing.

(Incidentally, that syrupy J&J commercial with the soulful "You're a nurse, you make a diiiiiiiference" must have drowned more prospective health care professionals in a large vat of melted caramel than it ever persuaded to join nursing's elite ranks).

Capsule, the leading provider of medical device connectivity (for those of you at the back, that's the connection of medical devices) just launched its “Nurse Story Contest.” This competition asks nurses in the U.S. to submit short stories about how they have dealt with situations in which they didn't have enough time to provide patients with the care they needed. You should also say what you would have done if you'd had enough time. In my humble opinion, it shouldn’t really be considered a short story contest, but rather a very-sad-non-fiction short story contest.

I told you it was a bit strange. Anyhow, applicants wishing to compete in the “Wish I Had More Time To…” contest can submit their stories via audio or video, or in writing. The deadline is May 6, which happens to coincide with the start of Nurses' Week. A panel of nurses will narrow the short stories down to 10, and the finalists will then be voted on by Facebook fans.

The winning nurse will be awarded $2,500 to his or her charity of choice, a luncheon in celebration of Nurses' Week, a subscription to the American Journal of Nursing and their very own nurse avatar and animated cartoon similar to Capsule's YouTube video, "Capturing Vitals," starring Nurse Sue. How many other contests can offer that?!

Click here for more information about you can turn your best/worst/saddest nursing memories into a bona fide charitable bonanza.

January 18, 2011

Deal

My name is Miss Do-Gooder and I’m a deal addict. Like millions of other Americans, I find it nigh on impossible to pass up a good discounted offer, and temptation seeks me out daily in the form of e-mails from companies like BlackBoardEats, Groupon, ideeli, Trubates, Eziba, Goldstar, HauteLook, Gilt Groupe, LivingSocial, Swirl and more.

But there's more to these bargains than food, fashion and folly. Green Deals – the brainchild of Green America (the leading green economy organization in the U.S.) – now offers discounts from local and national online green companies. How green you ask? Well, let’s just say they’ve all met Green America’s strict standards for sustainability and have received their green Seal of Approval.

More than 100,000 people have already signed up for Green Deals since the site launched earlier this month, so it looks like they're on to something. Click here to get your daily green deal.

January 14, 2011

Charity Kitty

I thought that Hello Kitty had pretty much conquered every product category imaginable including - but not limited to - jewelry, clothing, purses, toys, office products, car accessories, iPhone cases, greeting cards, pet products, water bottles, Bobbleheads, Christmas ornaments and even the beloved board game Monopoly. But apparently they’ve discovered a void in the marketplace: beauty products.

In celebration of the upcoming
Hello Kitty Beauty launch – sold exclusively at Sephora – the HK powerhouse is teaming up with eBay Giving Works to host “The Ultimate Hello Kitty Beauty” charity auction. From January 17-27, you can bid on once-in-a-lifetime VIP trips/experiences, and not so once-in-a-lifetime HK beauty products, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Items up for auction include a starring role in a Hello Kitty Beauty shoot, an all-expenses-paid VIP vacation for two in NYC, LA or Honolulu, Swarovski-encrusted silver compact mirrors, and a chance to meet Hello Kitty designer Yuko Yamaguchi.

Click
here for more information about how Hello Kitty (real name Kitty White) is doing her part to help children and their families cope with serious illnesses.

January 13, 2011

The Kidz Are All Right

How splendid would it be if there was a Web site that helped parents, educators, community leaders and other civic-minded grown-ups teach children the value of giving? Wouldn't it be cool if we could inspire our kids to contribute in their everyday lives, not just during times of catastrophe, or when they're encouraged to as a part of some high-profile charitable event?

Well, you’re in luck, dear reader(s), because not only do we now have such a site, but almost all of the services and products on it is FREE.

Tailored for kids ages 4-12,
YesKidzCan.com contains lots of cool information and resources including suggested weekly dinner topics like “What do you think the word "charity" means?" and "Eat the damn sprouts"; fun, easy craft activities; kids’ book reviews; a global bulletin board for posting creative ideas, comments, photos, and event information (as well as kudos for your kids’ kind acts); and cool community service projects, like baking and delivering dog treats to a local shelter, that take up just an hour or two.

There’s also a
blog, free “You Did Good” certificates of accomplishment, and loads of widgets, tees, totes, and other fun kid stuff.

YesKidzCan is also a super “social entrepreneurial” company, meaning it donatz (chuckle) 100 percent of its net profits to children’s causes. Click
here to say Yes to YesKidzCan.

January 11, 2011

Cookie Monster

It's Girl Scout Cookie drive time again. Talk about making giving back easy. These things are more addictive than crack, and for the next couple of months you'll be able to pick up cartons of them on strategically selected street corners near you.

With names like Do-Si-Dos, Tagalongs, Trefoils and Dulce de Leches – not to mention those dastardly and irresistible Thin Mints – I don’t see how you could limit yourself to just one variety. And at just $4 a box (with between 14 to 36 cookies per box), it only makes sense to sample all eight flavors, including their newest one “Thank U Berry Munch.”

Cookie Mania has already begun to sweep some parts of the country including both Carolinas, both Virginias, Florida, Texas, Virginia, Kentucky and Michigan. If you don’t happen to reside in one of these cookie oases, click
here to find out when troops in your area will begin peddling their tasty treats.

Or, if you’re really jonesing for a Samoa fix, check out the
GS Facebook page to find someone willing to ship cookies to you right NOW! Last time I checked there were loads of mothers anxious to make their daughter the #1 cookie seller in their area.

All proceeds from the cookie sales go toward supporting leadership, education and empower
ment programs for girls across the nation. Click here for more information about the Girl Scout Cookie Program.

January 10, 2011

MVP! MVP!

Dog photo contests. Irresistible.

Case in point, last January I told you about
Bissell’s Most Valuable Pet Photo Contest. Almost one year later to the day, the company has announced that it's launching its fourth annual search for the nation’s most photogenic pets. This year, the competition is open to both Americans and Canadians (Sorry, Mexico; maybe next year). Submit photos of your aspiring pet or vote for your favorites at www.bissell.com/mvp.

You have until April 15 to join in the photographic fun. Prizes include $10,000 for the pet charity of your choice, a $500 pet shopping spree, a special pet vacuum, and once again, the opportunity to be featured on Bissell’s pet product packaging.

Click
here for more details on how to make your beloved buddy North America's next MVP. You can also click here to see photos of last year’s winner, Gracie, a mixed domestic short-hair feline who also happens to be the inspiration for the children’s book “The Tiniest Tiger.”

January 7, 2011

St. Jude Goes the Whole Nine Yards

I rarely write about anything sports-related (this may come as a surprise given the sparklingly original headline), but this promotion benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the No.1 children's cancer hospital in the country (according to US News & World Report) - and, according to their press release, one which never ever turns a child away, even if the family can't afford treatment. So this one will be worth the lame sports metaphors.

It also involves what I believe is the most watched show on television: the Super Bowl.

With the big day just a month away (February 6),
FOX Sports and St. Jude are offering fans a few fun ways to get in on Super Bowl fever, while helping to raise money for children living with cancer. Ideas include – but are not limited to - hosting your very own “Game Day, Give Back” (GDGB) party, visiting a participating GDGB location including Fox & Hound, Bailey's Sports Grille and Champps Americana, or donating to a virtual party.

Click
here to sign up as the hostess with the mostest, and you’ll get access to a slew of party materials, educational entertaining tips and easy-to-make recipes to help you throw the most kick-ass Super Bowl party on your block. You’ll also be in the running to receive thank-you gifts such as a St. Jude apron, a five-piece grill set, a set of four St. Jude tumblers and a Game Day, Give Back serving platter. Not to mention the grand prize VIP trip for four to the 2012 Legends for Charity event the week before Super Bowl XLVI.

Click
here to help St. Jude and FOX Sports tackle (d'oh!) this incredibly deserving cause.

January 6, 2011

Good Job

If you’re among the 9.3 percent (or thereabouts) of the population who are unemployed, underemployed, or have just plain given up looking for a job, I’ve compiled a list of Web sites that offer nonprofit jobs which a) actually pay (some also offer volunteer gigs and internships) b) might make you feel better about getting back into the whole job thing, and c) might help make the world a shinier, happier place.

Idealist.org: Founded in 1995, this site is considered the global clearinghouse of nonprofit and volunteering resources. They currently have listings for 6,090 nonprofit jobs in over 58,000 organizations around the world including Development Officer at the United Way in San Jose, CA, Production Scheduling Coordinator for The History Makers in Chicago, and International Capacity Building Coordinator for Amnesty International in London.

Craigslist.org: I’m pretty sure you’ve already heard of this site, but did you know that they have a nifty “nonprofit sector” tab in their “Jobs” section? I checked the San Francisco site today and found 28 nonprofit jobs, although, full disclosure here, not every single one of the jobs appears to be a paid gig; they seem to have snuck a few internships onto the list. But, overall, it’s a great resource and covers most major cities in the U.S. And even some that aren’t so major.

Jobs.change.org: This is the jobs section of the popular social activism Web site Change.org and bills itself as the “leading site for nonprofit jobs.” I can't verify that fact, but I can tell you that you can search the site by job type (full time, part time, temporary, etc.), work experience, and type of cause (animals, children, war & peace, etc) in many job categories including activism & organizing, graphic design, human resources, finance, project management and social services. Oh, and by the way, their parent Web site Change.org is currently hiring. Click here for job listings.

OpportunityKnocks.org: Besides having a pretty cool name, this site offers nonprofit jobs that change the world. It says so in their “About Us” section. On top of that, they promise 10 things you’ll receive from their site including excellent customer service, answers to all of your questions, listening to your suggestions and feedback, and notifying you about their promotions and announcements. And two-thirds of the 25,000 nonprofit organizations listed on their site have budgets exceeding $500,000. Meaning, they have money to pay your salary.

Greenjobs.com: Finally, if you’re specifically looking for a green job – aka a gig in the renewable energy sector - your go-to resource is greenjobs.com. In fact, that’s the only type of job they have. After you complete your free registration, you can view and apply for jobs including Operations Manger at Centrosolar in Fremont, CA, Technical Field Representative for Conservation Services Group in Long Island, NY, and Design Specialist for Integrated Solar in Brattleboro, VT.

Good luck and happy job hunting in 2011!

January 5, 2011

(Continuing to) Help Heal Haiti

All too often we (by which I mean all of us - individuals, charities, governments and corporations) give generously when disasters are grabbing 24-hour coverage, but lose interest when the news crews move on.

Nearly one year has passed since the devastating magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti, leaving more than 1 million people homeless in Port-au-Prince and damaging or destroying 85 percent of the country's schools. The plight of Haiti's population has fallen from the front pages, but it remains perilous.

Yet, even though the promise of congratulatory headlines has long-since passed, many companies and charities continue to step up.

So here's some kudos to
American Eagle Outfitters and Concern Worldwide, and a new range of limited-edition "Help Haiti Heal” T-shirts that will support the rebuilding and repair of Haitian schools, train new teachers, and bring education to more than 30,000 earthquake-affected children in Haiti.

(As some of you already know, Miss Do-Gooder is a big advocate of cute, figure-loving T-shirts, especially those that raise money for a cause. Evidently not enough of you know that, or I'd be typing this on a Bahamian beach while pondering which Vera Wang to wear to dinner.)

One hundred percent of the profits from these Ts, which are available for $15.50
online or at AE stores across the nation, will go toward education initiatives for kids. You’ve got until January 17 to purchase a tee (women’s and men’s sizes available) and help Haiti children heal. Click here for more information.