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Helping others doesn’t just benefit them; it makes you feel better, too. Humans are social creatures and we feel good when we can be useful in the world. It’s a great way to alleviate feelings of sadness and isolation, or to just have fun and improve someone else’s life.
With all the ways technology connects us, doing good in the world is now easier than ever before.
These nine apps and websites will enable you to help out in many different ways, from charitable donations to community improvement and ethical shopping. Read on to find the perfect way for you to participate in a great cause.
Try them out. Do a little every day and improve your feel good factor.
Donate a Photo (iOS & Android, Free)
Do you like to take photos with your phone? Whether it’s the first spring flower or a beautiful sunset that inspires you, Donate a Photo turns a fun hobby into a free way to help others.
Every time you share a photo through the app, Johnson & Johnson donates $1 to a cause you select from its curated list.
By doing something you already enjoy, you can help newborns overcome medical issues, provide school supplies to students in other countries or brighten the day of a U.S. service member. Those are just a few examples. Johnson & Johnson continues to add new causes to its list, so you have the chance to help a large and diverse group of people.
The app also allows you to share your photos and tell your friends about Donate a Photo on social media. By spreading the word and inspiring your friends to donate their own photos, you’ll increase the amount of good you can do.
You’re also able to track the results of your donations. It makes a good deed that much sweeter when you can see the concrete results you helped make possible.
SeeClickFix (Web, iOS, Android & Windows Phone, Free)
While it’s great to help people all over the world, there is also plenty of good to do in your community. SeeClickFix mobilizes citizens’ concern and power to improve their own neighborhoods.
Do you pass the same vacant lot on your commute to work, a lot where the trash pile just seems to get higher? When you notice these kinds of common issues that decrease everyone’s quality of life, take a picture and submit it through the SeeClickFix app.
The app will publicly document the problem and help you notify someone, whether a government office or community group, that can help fix it.
When neighbors work together, anything is possible. In the course of cleaning up your neighborhood, you might make a new friend or learn of other ways to do good in your town.
Range (iOS, Android & Windows Phone, Free)
Range also enables people to help others in their community by targeting the specific problem of food-insecure children.
With 15.8 million kids in danger of going hungry as of 2013, chances are good you’ll encounter at least one child in need of a meal.
Range is active during the summer months of May through August, when kids who’d normally receive free meals at school are left to their own devices. It uses your location to search for the nearest place and time free meals are served.
You can also search for safe spaces like libraries where people can find information and get help with other issues besides hunger.
Range enables you to help hungry kids by raising awareness of the problem and the availability of free meals; many eligible children don’t even know they exist.
HTC Power to Give (Android, Free)
Here’s another way to contribute to the common good without lifting a finger or spending a cent. With more than a billion smartphones in the world, there is enough potential processing power to positively impact scientific research. The only catch is you need an HTC smartphone to participate.
If your phone is an HTC model, download the Power to Give app, plug your phone in and connect to Wi-Fi. Your unused computing resources will be donated to the research project of your choice. By using your phone as you normally would, medical treatments, environmental solutions and many other important discoveries that would normally take lifetimes to achieve can be realized in much less time.
Download: HTC Power to Give on Android
GoodGuide (iOS & Android, Free)
It’s not just our actions that can have a positive effect on the world; our choices as consumers also have the potential to influence people’s lives in important ways.
GoodGuide rates common brands and products based on their health, environmental and societal impact. For example, the product’s ingredients, resources used to make it and the company’s treatment of its workers are some of the factors considered.
Use the GoodGuide app to look up product ratings as you shop. This app enables you to put your money where your mouth is and make ethical, informed purchases.
Every time you shop you’ll help make the world a better place for everyone.
Download: GoodGuide on iOS | Android
iRecycle [No Longer Available]
Of course, shopping is only the beginning of an item’s life cycle. We all know how to recycle paper, plastic and glass through municipal curbside pickup, but there are many more items that end up in landfills after they’ve ceased to be useful.
The iRecycle app lets you help Mother Earth by pointing you in the direction of the closest place to responsibly recycle hundreds of things.
Whether you’re at home trying to figure out what to do with an old computer or on the go looking for a place to recycle your empty juice bottle, iRecycle helps to reduce waste and give old items new life.
Download: iRecycle on iOS
Budge (iOS, Free)
Budge turns charitable giving into a team sport. Challenge your friends to do anything – run a marathon, quit a bad habit, dance in public – and whoever loses the bet has to donate money to charity.
Use the Budge app to have fun with or help a friend and a worthy cause at the same time.
If you challenge someone to reduce their drinking, for example, and they win the bet, you’re not really losing because you helped your friend get healthier and donated to a worthy charity of your choosing.
Download: Budge on iOS
FrontStream (Web, Free Resources)
In addition to apps, there are many websites that help you act on your charitable impulses. FrontStream helps nonprofits, schools and businesses achieve their philanthropic goals by providing fundraising advice and solutions.
While you’d have to pay to use the fundraising platform itself, the site also offers lots of free resources that nonprofits or startup philanthropists will find helpful.
You can find free webinars and ebooks on the site, along with a blog that offers advice on topics such as fundraising best practices, charitable giving and tips for supporting relief efforts in Nepal.
VolunteerMatch (Web, Free)
VolunteerMatch makes it easy to search for volunteer opportunities in your town within specific categories of interest, such as animals or arts and culture.
Stop thinking “I should volunteer” and use VolunteerMatch to make it a reality. You can help a cause close to your heart and connect with others who have similar interests.
Sometimes All You Need Is Love…
To make a difference, that is. With so many great options requiring little or no financial output, all you need is the desire to leave the world a better place than you found it.
What good deed will you do today? Do you think technology can help us become a better version of ourselves with these little acts?
Image Credit: Jordan McQueen via Unsplash