It's never been easier to make a difference in the lives of people close to home and across the globe without ever leaving your laptop. You already know how easy it is to support your favorite charity by donating money online or signing an electronic petition. Here a four more ways to give back and do good using the Web.
Pay It Forward
Take stock of all that stuff cluttering your closets and crowding your garage and give it someone who could really use it. Freecycle.org is considered the one of the largest flea markets in the world. And, you guessed it, everything is free. You can find everything from furniture to office supplies to plywood. (I had a chance to show Martha Stewart how it works. Check out the video player to watch our conversation.)
Trading is another good way to help each other out. If you are a parent, you can trade toys and other kid gear on Zwaggle.com or take part in an online garage sale for moms at Handmedowns.com.
Find Out What's Good
It all started a few years ago when a researcher at Berkeley decided to find out what was really in the sunscreen he was putting on his young daughter. Professor Dara O'Rourke was stunned to learn it contained a toxic ingredient and decided he wasn't the only one curious about the health, environmental and societal impact of using various products and went on to found GoodGuide.com. It's database of 70,000+ food, toys, personal care, & household products that you can browse "to see what's really beneath the label."
Random Acts of Kindness
The explosion of social media has made it possible to quickly tell all your contacts about a cause you care about. Now you don't have to broadcast separate status updates or Tweets. If you go to kindness.yahoo.com, you can send one message to everyone at once and ask your friends to join you in your random act of kindness. Whether it's gathering winter wear for a local coat drive or volunteering at a senior center, you can invite everyone you know to help out with one easy step.
1000 Awesome Things.com
Talk about appreciating the simple things in life. This is a very cool blog voted by PC Magazine as one of the 100 Best of 2009. 1000 Awesome Things.com is an archive of the things that make us smile like #765 Thinking it's Thursday when it is really Friday or #619 When the person at the store tells you the thing you're about to buy is going on sale tomorrow. Spread the love. Send someone a link to this blog when he or she needs a pick-me-up.
How do you use the Web to do good?