Make A Difference




I'm sure you had the same problem as I have wanting to make a difference but there are so many different organizations who need help it's hard trying to decide where to put your money. To make matters worse, don't you feel a little obligated to donate to organizations that send things like calenders, mailing labels, note pads even jewelry pendants?

It's even worse during the holidays when everybody is trying to convince you that the best way to make a difference is by giving to them and you're mailbox is full of convincing requests and small gifts.

You'd love to help as many as possible but like most us have to work with a budget. Tough economic times often mean less giving and this may make some charities a little desperate for donations which can bring out some bad behavior. All the more reason to be cautious about who you give your money to.

Make Choosing Easier.

Do your homework first. Check out the video below for some ideas.


As the video mentions a good place to check out charities is with several of the free sites that rate them. They all seem to have somewhat different ideas on the rating process but reviewing a couple of different sites should help you make a decision.

Below you will find a few links to several different organizations that provide ratings and info about giving.

Amercian Institute of Philanthropy

Charity Navigator

BBB Wise Giving Alliance

Once you get a feel for how charities are rated you can do your own research. The groups above may not cover some of the smaller but just as worthwhile charities.


Ideas To Make A Difference

Most on this list are charities. Kiva.org is not.

Kiva

This is a rather unique program where you have the opportunity to choose an individual or group to loan to. My first loan was for $25. The individuals you choose to lend to may use it to start a business, buy supplies or products for an existing business or make repairs. Over time the loan is repaid. You can lend the money again to someone else if you choose.

It is not a charity and is not tax deductible but it is very rewarding to be able to pick who you want to help and then hear about their progress. The Kiva site is loaded with great information so read about it and get comfortable with the process.



The banner above is constantly changing with different individuals needing help. If you click on the banner you will be taken right to the individuals page to learn more about them.

Finca

Did you know that 70% of the world's poor are women?

Finca focuses their efforts on helping women through micro financing. Small loans are given to individuals to help them start or build their business.

They have developed a unique system called Village Banking where a group of 10-50 women manage the funds themselves. With the support and guidance from Finca they work together to approve the loans, set up repayment, create savings and more. The money stays in the community and they work together for the improvement of all.

Finca is working to bring help to one million of the poorest families by 2010 and you can make a difference by being part of that effort.

Doctors Without Borders

An independent organization that works to bring health care to people throughout the world. They are often the first on the scene providing emergency aid no matter what kind of emergency from natural disasters and epidemics to conflict situations. These dedicated men and women volunteers work in all kinds of dangerous and difficult situations to bring help to people in need.

Working with local groups to help stabilize a situation they make sure all the resources like clean water, food, medicines, medical equipment and facilities are up and functioning before leaving an area.

Find out more about how you can make a difference by clicking on the image below.

Doctors Without Borders Link



The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Located in Kenya, at the Tsavo National Park an 8,000 square mile wildlife refuge home to the country's largest populations of elephants, this small and respected organization has worked since 1977 to protect orphaned elephants and rhinos, speak on behalf of animal welfare and support conservation efforts.

They established Kenya's first enclosed Rhino sanctuary and pioneered the successful hand rearing of orphaned rhinos and elephants. It was founded by Daphne Seldrick in memory of her husband, acclaimed National Park Warden at the Tvaso National Park since 1955. Many years of working in this region led to the creation of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Click image for more info.


Make a Difference For Women Victims of War

Throughout the world wars touch people's lives but perhaps some of the worst victims of wars in many regions are women. Women who are brutalized, raped, maimed or killed in the fighting.

These women often injured both emotionally and physically are left with no hope for the future. Often ostrasized from their own communities they have no where to turn and little reason to carry on. But....there is an organization which helps these women find their way back.

Through rehabilation, education and counseling Women for Women International gives these women hope. Reach out to a woman in need. Take a few minutes and watch the video below.



Margaret Mead:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
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