What if your excessive browsing habits, inability to wake up on time, and crippling mobile game addiction could be a force for good in the world? What if your morning run was a fundraiser, or you could use your skills to help out worthy causes?
It sounds too good to be true, but it’s perfectly possible to raise money for charities doing things you already love. Today Cool Websites and Apps looks at five services that help you give back, easily.
Tab For a Cause (Chrome, Firefox): Raise Money with Every New Tab
You see an ad every time you open a new tab; the profits from those ads go to charity. It’s a simple concept, but apparently it works: Tab For a Cause sends tens of thousands of dollars to charities every year.
You might be wondering: where does the money come from? The Tab For A Cause FAQ explains:
There are a couple banner advertisements in the corner each time you open a New Tab. We get paid for these advertisements, and then give all the profits to charities that partner with us.
Every new tab raises between 1/10 and 1/3 of a cent, according to the site. You’ll have to see an ad every time you open a new tab, which is a downside, but on the upside you’re supporting a cause you believe in with every new tab (assuming you don’t use AdBlock, in which case you should probably not bother with this).
Hunger Crunch (iOS and Android): Endless Runner Mobile Game That Fights Hunger
When it comes to mobile gaming, in-app purchases can feel like a crash grab. Spending money on in-game items feels wasteful, but what if all the profits were donated directly to charity?
This is the concept behind Hunger Crunch, an endless runner that also acts as a fundraiser for Rice Bowls, a 501(c)(3) that helps alleviate hunger all over the world.
The gameplay centers around you, as the player, fighting hunger on the back of a beast. The formula isn’t unique from a gameplay perspective, but it is an interesting example of video games being a force for good.
iCukoo(iOS): Alarm Clock That Donates When You Hit Snooze
Speaking of turning your bad habits into a fundraiser: how often do you press snooze? If your answer is more than never, you need to develop better habits. Maybe putting money on the line can help.
This app lets you set an amount to donate to charity every time you press snooze. The idea of losing money might prompt you – lazy, pathetic you – to actually get out of bed. If not, you’re donating to charity. Win win, right?
Charity Miles (Android, iOS): Raise Money By Running or Biking
Excessive browsing, mobile gaming, sleeping in…aren’t there any ways to raise money for charity that aren’t based on bad habits?
As it turns out, yes. Charity Miles lets you track your morning workouts, then gives to charity based on how many miles you traversed.
The catch is that you need to tweet your accomplishments to the world, while mentioning your sponsor. If that’s not a big deal to you, though, this is a great way to give back while staying fit.
CatchAFire: Find Nonprofit Projects to Help out With
None of the above tools are going to help a nonprofit quite as much as your most valuable asset – your skills – can. If you want to help a cause directly, Catch A Fire is a sort of job board for volunteer projects. Whatever skills you have, this site can help you find worthy projects to pitch in with.
This doesn’t need to be entirely selfless: generosity can benefit you in many ways. For example: completing a volunteer project for a major nonprofit looks great on a resume, and you might end up learning a lot while you’re at it.
How Do You Give Back?
This column tries to point out apps and websites that MakeUseOf hasn’t mentioned yet, so there’s a good chance a service you love hasn’t been mentioned yet. We’ve outlined apps and websites that help you donate to charity, for example, and how you can contribute to scientific research with Zooniverse.
Still, we want to hear about which web services and apps you use to give back to the world. Let’s compile all of our favorites in the comments below, okay?