Do you like to shop? Go for a walk or run? Post pics of your pets? Do you like technology? What if I told you that while doing any or all of these things you could be raising money for charities of your choice? It sounds too good to be true, but sometimes our overly connected, technological world comes through to making a difference easier than ever. I’ve been using AmazonSmile, the Charity Miles app, and the #postyourpet hashtag on Instagram to raise little bits of money whenever I shop, walk/run, and post my pet pics online.
I’ve been buying from amazon.com for years, but it wasn’t until just a few years ago that I found out about their AmazonSmile program. To enable it, you just go to the AmazonSmile link after you log in, and then choose which charity you’d like your money to go to, and Amazon does the rest through the Charity Miles App. They donate a small percentage of the sale to the charity of your choice. There are five major charities to choose from: American Red Cross, The Nature Conservancy, Operation Smile, ASPCA (my charity of choice) and Code.org. Although there are thousands of smaller, more local charities that can take advantage of this same program. They have a search field where you can type in a subject or location; I typed in Long Beach, CA and nearly 1,750 results came up. This is possibly the easiest way for you to give; you don’t have to go through any extra steps (once the account is set up), and you’re not even donating any of your money! I have smile.amazon.com bookmarked in my browser so I go there automatically whenever I need to do some Amazon shopping. And if I happen to click on a regular Amazon link I run across, my browser will ask me if I’d like to open it on AmazonSmile instead so I never miss an opportunity to give. What I also like about this technology is they give you some pretty detailed stats about how much you’ve given so far, how many orders, etc. I’m a stat geek so I love looking at that stuff. If you already shop on Amazon (and who doesn’t), it’s worth a look.
Charity Miles App
I first found out about this technology when I was reading an article about the Pokemon Go craze last year. Apparently, mileage logged through this app had been going through the roof with all the Pokemon-obsessed people walking to hatch their eggs. I was immediately intrigued; I’d been tracking all of my runs through Nike Plus since 2007, and when I hit the 6,000 mile mark I was lamenting that there was really nothing tangible to show for all those miles. But now with Charity Miles, I can earn 25¢ for every mile I walk or run, and 10¢ for every mile I bike for the charity of my choice. There are dozens of charities to choose from, and the app is very simple and easy to use. Additionally, it can run in the background while you have other apps going, which is a nice feature. I started using the app on 7/15/16, and as of today, 2/16/17, I’ve logged 396.27 miles, which roughly translates to about $99—not bad. This app is great for those who already run and walk and for those who aspire to log more miles. Read PC Mag’s review of the app; I think their assessment echoes mine pretty well.
#PostYourPet on Instagram
If you have an Instagram account and a pet, chances are you’ve posted some pet pics—I sure have. Founded in 2016 by a husband and wife team of animals lovers John and Rebecca Taylor, postyourpet.org donates 25¢ to a no-kill animal shelter for every pic you post and tag with #postyourpet on Instagram. A different shelter is chosen every month, and so far two shelters in Chicago and Philadelphia, respectively, have received $2000 donations. Once again, posting pet pics on Instagram is something I do anyway, and if it can raise money to help animals in need, I’m all for it! Here’s an interview with Rebecca Taylor, one of the founders.
Granted, you’re not earning vast sums with these methods, but they’re easy to integrate these technologies into your life and it all does add up. I was especially impressed with how much I’d already earned through Charity Miles! I think these could be good ways to supplement whatever other charitable giving you do throughout the year. Have you heard of or use any of these apps/services? If you know of any others, please let me know—I’m always on the lookout for more ways to help.
This blog was written by Stephanie Han who is a Senior Art Director at JDA, Inc.