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Philanthropy in a modern sense is typically understood as the ability to give away staggering amounts of cash to worthy organizations; think of foundations and movements started by Bill Gates and Paul Newman, or major donations from moguls like Warren Buffett, who pledged a few years ago to give away almost all of his considerable worth to charitable groups like the Gates Foundation. These are all good things, but they're also misleading because they make the average person feel that philanthropy is a pursuit for the rich, something that the super-wealthy do when they don't have to worry about paying rent. Most college students feel the same way, but it's just not true. Philanthropy, broadly, merely refers to the work done to make the world a better place. Period. Whether that's done through major cash donations or small contributions, through national organizations or solo acts of kindness, is irrelevant; it's all about the giving. There are plenty of resources out there for students hoping to get involved, as well. You just have to know where to look.
These blogs can help you get in touch with important charity groups.
- Charity Navigator: This blog analyzes hundreds of charities to determine their impact and efficiency, which makes it a great place to start researching where to send your money.
- Voices From the Field: The blogging arm of the International Rescue Committee covers the latest happenings in the world of humanitarian relief and refugee assistance.
- Sierra Club's Compass: The oldest environmental organization in the country, the Sierra Club is devoted to preserving the environment and wildlife. Their blog covers environmental news, including ways their mission is affected by legislation.
- Hope for Healing: This Tennessee-based charity works with victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence. Though not a counseling agency, they provide emotional and financial support.
- Heifer Foundation: The Heifer Foundation manages Heifer International, which strives to eliminate world poverty and hunger by giving livestock and plants to people around the world.
- Grassroots.org: Grassroots.org wants to help charities work better by providing them with free technology to make their work easier. Think of them as a tech-based middle-man. The blog posts are a great way to stay in touch with the nonprofit world.
- ONE Blog: ONE is a fundraising campaign that targets poverty and disease in developing realms, particularly Africa. In addition to reporting on the latest developments in their own charity, the ONE blog also has interesting links to other news sources covering nonprofit entities.
- GuideStar's Bob Ottenhoff: Bob Ottenhoff is the CEO of GuideStar, a company that maintains information about a variety of charities to help donors make informed decisions. His blog touches on subjects as diverse as charity work and media diversification.
- Everyday Giving: Founded by Roger Carr, Everyday Giving is all about inspiring readers to give back and change the world.
- Kiva: Stories From the Field: Kiva lets donors make loans directly to entrepreneurs and people in need to help eliminate poverty by stimulating businesses and global economies. Their blog offers a firsthand account of how user philanthropy affects the lives of others.
Volunteering and Caring
Whether you're new to volunteering or a veteran looking for a new outlet, these blogs can guide you in the right direction.
- Spirit Jump: Spirit Jump is dedicated to making the cancer treatment process a little easier for patients and their families, which they do by sending gifts and cards. It's a great way to get involved if you want to donate more than just money.
- 826LA: Begun by Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, 826LA is a multi-chapter after-school tutoring group designed to get kids excited about writing. Their blog covers everything from recent success stories to ways you can get involved no matter where you live.
- Bad Rap Blog: Pit bulls get a bad rap. Although thugs and cruel people raise them to fight, when treated with proper care, they're as wonderful as any other breed. This blog is devoted to rescue practices and spreading the word to save these dogs from being overlooked or euthanized.
- Have Fun, Do Good: Tons of great advice on how to live charitably but not be so dour about it. Life is for living positively.
- Big Thinking on Small Grants: Run by Janis Foster, the executive director of Grassroots Grantmakers, this blog focuses on the way small grants are given to needy people and groups in order to revitalize local communities. A great way to care for people.
- Pulling for the Underdog: Dennis Whittle is the co-founder of GlobalGiving, which helps people find charities to support. His blog offers short but insightful looks at charities worldwide as well as news about everything from government spending to development.
- GlobalGoodness: This blog is also part of the GlobalGiving family, but focuses on real-world scenarios and inspiring stories in which philanthropy has positively affected someone's life.
- A Small Change: In addition to providing valuable guidance for students looking for work in the fundraising field, this blog lets those who work in the nonprofit arena come together to exchange ideas.
- LWB Community: The blog home of Love Without Boundaries, this site provides regular updates on LWB's China philanthropy as well as opportunities for people to volunteer.
Stay informed about the world of giving with these top-level resources.
- The Center for High Impact Philanthropy: Part of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Policy & Practice, this blog covers a range of philanthropic educational news, as well as a load of academic studies and resources.
- Give and Take: The Chronicle of Philanthropy has a wonderful family of blogs for those interested in charity and volunteer work. Their Give and Take blog is a great round-up of major news in the field, complete with links and analysis.
- Inside Philanthropy: Philanthropy Journal editor Todd Cohen maintains this helpful blog in which he reports on charity news and also dispenses advice to potential donors.
- PhilanTopic: It's hard to find a better news and interview blog than this one from Philanthropy News Digest. Tons of great links, interesting videos, and informative posts by visiting experts.
- Charitable Advisors Blog: News and tips for those interested in learning more about philanthropic organizations, plus solid information about running your own.
- South Asian Philanthropy Project: The SAPP isn't about doing philanthropic work in South Asia, but in getting South Asian Americans more involved in charities everywhere. A great resource for news and resources, no matter where you're from.