Everyday Ways to Give Back
Give back while you're Facebooking
If you aim to support the arts, try Kickstarter
What's cool about it: You can personally help your bud's indie film go Hollywood.
How it works: Check out who's looking to fund creative projects by logging in via Facebook. Then chip in for specific costs ($5 to help cover printing scripts or renting period costumes). When you see the finished product on the big screen, you'll feel like party of the artistic process. Plus, you may earn a thank-you at the Oscars.
If you want your cause to go viral, try HopeMob
What's cool about it: It let's you raise major bucks without the pleading emails.
How it works: Register at HopeMob.org and start pushing your cause on Pinterest, FB and Twitter. All your friends need to do is give it a "vote up," a la Reddit. Get enough votes (only about 200—a fraction of your FB friends) and your cause will hit HopeMob's home page and stay up until you're 100 percent funded.
If you need a laugh, try CrowdRise.com
What's cool about it: This hilariously sarcastic site (its motto: If you don't give back, no one will like you) uses LOL-worthy humor, videos and trivia games to tout causes.
How it works: Log in through FB and promote your cause, or give to friends' or celebs' causes. (Actor Ed Norton is a founder.) Donate and become eligible to win some sweet prizes. Give $11 to any charity for a shot at an iPhone 5, for instance.
If you crave some peace of mind, try Ammado.com
What's cool about it: It enables you and your friends to give to teeny-tiny, overseas nonprofits securely. Every charity on the site is screened by an international vetting service.
How it works: Sign up at the site or via FB, and don;t be turned off by all the text. Skip or skim the details, and simply search what you're looking for by category (like arts, culture or human rights) and country. It's easy. --Courtney Rubin
Give back while you're on vacation
Your heart is full of wanderlust but your bank account is empty.
Travel the globe (Europe? Indonesia? Yes!) for the cost of airfare through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. You'll get your hands dirty picking crops or tending livestock, but you can arrange day trips, too. Lodgings aren't luxurious, but, then again, they're totally free.
You're ready to try your first solo vacay.
Sixty-five percent of Globe Aware Volunteers are single travelers, so you won't feel awkward showing up alone to construct schools in Ghana or distribute wheelchairs in Cambodia. Each weekling trip ($1,190 and up) offers three to five cultural excursions, too.
You don't consider it a vacation unless there's a spa nearby.
Why forgo luxury? At The Ritz-Carlton, call the concierge a few days ahead of your trip and ask about devoting a day to volunteering. Visitors to Washington, D.C., can head to the DC Central Kitchen and help feed the homeless; travelers in Shanghai can pitch in at a local school.
Give back while you're on vacation
You're all about hiking somewhere beautiful.
Hit the trails with Sierra Club at the Virgin Islands National Park on St. John ($1,125). You'll hike and snorkel to your heart's content for seven days, while also helping to maintain walking paths and clear beaches for turtle nesting. Trailblazing experience isn't required, but good boots and sunscreen are!
You're into mingling with the locals.
Grab a mosquito net and head to Guatemala for nine days with Habitat for Humanity ($1,310 to $1,450). You'll build houses and take your Spanish beyond "Una cerveza, por favor." some trips re BYOSB (bring your own sleeping bag), so be ready to rough it.
The beach is calling your name.
You can flaunt your new bikini and save the dolphins on an eight-day trip to Greece with Earthwatch ($2,575). You'll board a research vessel to track dolphin pods. The early outings mean time later for the beach and a little ouzo. --Amanda Woerner
Give back while you're working
If you're a data genius: Give others the benefit of your financial savvy by working with the United Way to teach struggling families to make a budget, pay down debt and improve their credit. Simply dial 211 and sign up to learn how to lead small workshops or coach individuals on becoming smarter spenders.
If you're secretly artsy: Put your arts and crafts skills to use and make a low-income child feel special by baking a birthday treat via BirthdayCakes4Free.com. Hit up the website to find a local chapter. When it gets a request for a cake, you can use your artistry to customize a dessert.
If you're plugged in: Use your strong communication skills to manage—or create—a Pinterest or Twitter account for a local animal shelter. (Think "Take Me Home Now!" and "LOL cat" boards.) The online action will help encourage people to adopt and donate. --Catherine Ryan