Looking for a way to make a difference this holiday season? (Or really any time, as you could be reading this in June.) We’ve got a collection of websites and apps that will pair you with the perfect volunteering opportunity, let you bootstrap an entrepreneur from around the globe, code your way to good karma, and even help the blind to see.
I stopped by the 207 studio the other day to chat about a bunch of different online tools that help people make a difference. You can watch the segment below.
(BTW, as I post this, the video embed is tiny in size. Not sure, but it appears to be outside of our control. However, you can click on the full size screen image and see it properly.)
Finding the right volunteer opportunity
Looking to volunteer your time based on your ability and location? There are many websites that can help you out. I focus on Idealist.org in the interview but VolunteerMatch.org and justserve.org have similar offerings. You can also check out VolunteerMaine.org if you happen to live Maine.
You put in the type of opportunity you’re looking for, where you live, and they’ll find opportunities for you. (I searched for writing in Maine and found a number of non-profit organizations that could use my skill set.
How to bootstrap entrepreneurs without “donating” money
Don’t have the time for volunteering and don’t like the idea of just giving money?
Kiva.org takes your “micro loan” of $25 or more and delivers it to people around the world. From their website you can choose the borrower, make the loan, and then get repaid. Then you can withdraw your money, feeling pretty good about yourself, or reinvest it to fund another entrepreneur around the globe.
I really liked this because you’re not just giving money away, you’re helping someone get up on their feet. Maybe they need to buy a farm animal, invest in some products, hire a team, or whatever.
You can choose to help based on gender, sector, attributes, or groups vs. individual. You can read the backstory of any borrower.
Learn to code, change the world
Want to make a difference and learn a critical skill?
With Free Code Camp you learn how to program while helping non-profits. The site has in-depth learning opportunities to learn code, and while you’re learning, you’re working on real world programming jobs for non-profits.
The site features examples of the non-profits who have saved upwards of 60K on programming jobs they couldn’t have afforded otherwise, as well as people who have gotten jobs as programmers who came to the site with no experience whatsoever.
Helping the visually impaired
Grab your smart phone and help someone on the other side of the screen to see.
Be My Eyes is an app that allows you to use video conferencing to help the blind. At the iTunes store they have examples of people helping the blind determine which can in their kitchen is tomatoes for a recipe. There was also someone who used the app to help someone find their keys which they had dropped.
There’s a lot of cool sites and apps out there to help with altruistic activity…do you have a favorite we didn’t cover in the interview? If so, leave it in the comments below and maybe we’ll feature it in a future episode or blog post!