“One good deed can shift the balance of the whole world.”
- Find a cause you care about ( Volunteer Match )
Cook for those in need ( God’s Love We Deliver )
Give blood ( American Red Cross )
Mentor a high schooler ( Minds Matter )
Play with kittens ( The Humane Society )
Assist seniors in need ( Elder Helpers )
Lift a soldier’s spirits ( Operation Gratitude )
Help build a house ( Habitat for Humanity )
Share your skills (Catchafire )
Run to raise money: ( Run10Feed10; Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure; Jingle Bell Run/Walk; Charity Miles )
Adopt a wild animal ( World Wildlife Fund (WWFoffers adoption kits )
Become an organ donor (Register to become an organ and tissue donor with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
Light up a child’s life ( Project Sunshine )
Get Fido involved ( therapy dog organization )
Coach young runners (GIRLS! ); ( Girls on the Run )
Horse around ( PATH : Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International)
If you’re not one that has time to volunteer (just yet), the following are opportunities to get involved through BRANDS, and places you can DONATE to:
BRANDS to consider:
The company’s merchandise, which includes everything from comfy t-shirts to totes to notebooks, features cover art of books, usually rare, old, or—you guessed it!—out of print. For each and every product you buy on their site, the company promotes reading by donating one book to a community in need.
Just register, choose your cause (they’ve got thousands of great options, like UNICEF and the World Wide Fund for Nature), and then shop via the site. GoodSearch then donates a percentage of each purchase to your cause. Bonus: It sets you up with some awesome deals and coupons, so you’re saving money and saving the world, one shopping spree at a time.
Every watch sold ensures that 100 children receive a nutritious meal—the brand donates a portion of the profits to the World Food Programme to make this possible.
For every Yoobi item (think pens, notebooks, staplers, and more) you buy, the company will donate another item to a classroom in the U.S. that needs it.
Not only does each graphic t-shirt feature a design created by kids from community centers, but the company also gives 100 percent of net profits toward supporting arts programs at community centers throughout the U.S. Plus, each shirt comes with a tracking number you can plug in online to see exactly where and how your purchase has made a difference. VERY COOL!
Each bar; gluten-free (or cute t-shirt or bag) you buy makes it possible for the company and its nonprofit partners (like Action Against Hunger, Save the Children, and more) to give one packet of food to a child in need.
The way this company works is pretty simple: You buy a high-quality, classic canvas bag, and a child in need receives a year of schooling. Esperos donates 10 percent of its profits to The Nobelity Project, a nonprofit that helps fund education for children in Kenya.
The stylish eyewear company tallies up how many frames were sold each month, then makes a donation to a nonprofit partner that trains men and women in developing countries to give basic eye exams and sell glasses at super affordable prices. Plus, before you buy, you can order several frames to try out at home, so you know you’ll look great when your Rx glasses arrive.
For every cute and colorful backpack sold, STATE fills up a backpack with essentials and then delivers the bag to an American kid in need. And that’s when the real magic happens: The company’s team members who deliver the bags (and are also childhood development specialists) lead rallies that motivate the kids and encourage them to have a positive impact on their community.
The booksellers raise funds for literacy and education projects and donate one book to someone in need for every book bought. So far, this organization has donated more than 17 million books and raised more than 20 million dollars for libraries and literacy around the world.
The brand has expanded beyond just shoes and now offers eyewear, bags, apparel, accessories, and more for sale. And each TOMS product you purchase has another purpose: making sure people in need have access to certain essentials, like new shoes, clean water, eyeglasses, and even safe childbirths.
Provides school meals for kids around the world through its nonprofit partners, including UNICEF and Feeding America, but it also uses environmentally friendly materials and makes sure that all its products are made under fair labor conditions.
The company donates a new pair of socks to someone in need for every pair purchased on their site.
Plastic water bottles aren’t exactly good for the environment, so why not sip in (sustainable) style? The Dopper water bottle is easy to grab and go and reduce your plastic waste. The best part: Your purchase will also help bring clean drinking water to people in Nepal, as well as educate people about the impact of plastic waste on the environment.
This Los Angeles-based company engraves old, used keys with inspirational and meaningful words (such as courage, strength, or love) and turns them into gorgeous necklaces or bracelets. And the positive vibes you’ll spread are endless: The brand employs people transitioning out of homelessness to create the jewelry, and has created 30 jobs and been changing the lives of people in need since it was founded three years ago.
With handcrafted leather bags (the Mamuye Tote is perfection), chic jewelry, cozy scarfs, and more, FashionABLE makes shopping for a cause chic. But the backstory is even better: The company gives opportunity to women who’ve overcome challenges and setbacks (everything from addiction to depression to homelessness), creating jobs that’ll enable these worthy women to start a new life and thrive.
Hand-woven bracelets. You’ll be supporting the weavers who make them by hand—the brand donates net proceeds of the bracelet’s sales to the Namaskar Foundation, which helps provide basic health care, education, and microloans to people in developing countries.
In the spirit of giving, the bar company partnered with the nonprofit Protect Our Winters (POW) to help educate the winter sports world about how climate change affects cold-weather communities. CLIF Bar pledges to donate 1 percent of net sales from their seasonal bar flavors to POW.
OPPORTUNITIES TO DONATE:
Looking to clean out your closet? Just request a donation bag: Fashion Project will cover the shipping, treat your stuff to a photo shoot, and then list it on their site to sell. Plus, the site’s a one-stop shop for a good cause. Shoppers can score name brand items (some of which are brand new) at discounted prices, and 55 percent of the proceeds go to support one of the charities that the site works with.
By dropping off your gently used professional attire to a Dress for Success affiliate location, you’re directly helping disadvantaged women succeed in the workplace and become financially independent. The organization also gets major points for giving women career guidance and job training.
Make-A-Wish Foundation helps support children fighting serious, life-threatening medical conditions. The nonprofit organization has tons of ways you can help—it accepts airline miles and hotel loyalty points (which help grant the kids’ travel wishes), partners with eBay so you can donate a portion of your sales to Make-A-Wish, and more. Plus, it welcomes volunteers via each of its local chapters—just take a look at the one near you for more info.
Fight domestic violence and save the environment with one simple action: donating your old tech toys—from cell phones to laptops to digital cameras. The organization will either refurbish the item and resell it (raising funds for its anti-domestic violence programs) or simply recycle it.
Donate gently used books or your time to this organization, which partners with doctors to encourage parents to read out loud to their kids by gifting a book to a child at each of his or her regular checkups until the age of five.
Those old, worn-down kicks gathering dust in your closet or under your bed? Give ‘em to Nike—the athletic wear powerhouse tears them up and turns them into tracks, playgrounds, outdoor courts, and more places to play. More than 28 million pairs of shoes have been shredded to date, covering a surface area almost equal to that of Manhattan.
Another opportunity to pare down your shoe collection: This nonprofit enterprise welcomes gently worn shoes and distributes them to people in need from all over the world. To date, it’s donated a whopping 26 million pairs of new shoes. Take it a step further by also donating clothing to its program Clothes4Souls.