Make a Wish Come True

By Cheryl Mahoney

“People want to help people.”

This was a thought expressed by Dave Girgenti in a recent USA Today article: “Website Connects Needy to the Charitable.”  Girgenti is the founder of Wish Upon a Hero, which does just what the USA Today headline suggests: connecting people in need with people who want to help.
Wish Upon a Hero is a website where anyone can post their wish–and anyone can help fulfill it.  I glanced over the wishes on the front page, and found requests for gifts for family members, pleas for help to make a rent payment, hope that someone will assist with schooling, a need for special equipment for a handicapped sibling…some wishes are big, but many are just people who need a little bit of help.  Check it out and see what you find, but be warned–some stories are heartbreaking.

It reminds me that what most of us probably take for granted–money for rent, the ability to buy a gift–can be someone else’s dearest wish.

So often people say, “I wish I could help someone, but I don’t know how.”  And so many people are saying, “I wish someone could help me.”  Wish Upon a Hero brings these two groups together –and it’s working.  According to the counter on the site, almost 31,000 wishes have been granted so far.  With those results, one could almost imagine they’re using pixie dust!

Doing Good (twice over) with Holiday Gift Packages

Today’s guest post is from Chelsea Iverson.

If you will be giving to charity this holiday season or are considering making a personalized and meaningful donation on behalf of someone you love, you’re not alone.

Holiday giving is a tradition that combines the Scrooge-inspired spirit of Christmas with generous year-end-tax breaks. Each year, charitable organizations around the world receive millions from contributors during the holiday season. It seems that the tougher the economic times, the more dedicated we are to helping those who are most vulnerable. According to the Red Cross, 68% of Americans believe that it is especially important to give to charity this year due to poor economic conditions, and 79% of Americans admit that they would prefer to receive a charitable gift in their honor than a present they would not use this holiday season.

Two years ago, when my father asked that we donate to a meaningful charity in lieu of giving him a Christmas present, I immediately knew I wanted to donate to an organization that would save the world’s trees. My father loves trees. He loves their resilience, their fortitude and their ability to withstand so much human destruction. Overwhelmed with all the charitable organizations out there, I wondered how to select the most impactful, the most meaningful organization and how to be confident that my donation was going directly to saving trees.

Through my experience looking for a charitable gift in honor of my father, I discovered that there are so many charitable organizations spreading so much hope all over the world, and deciding where to give can be difficult.

UniversalGiving offers a tool that helps you find gift packages – from thousands of charitable organizations – suited to your loved ones. This tool helps ease your concerns about choosing a trustworthy organization and provides clear gift amounts that allow you to see what your gift will actually achieve.

Saving trees is just the beginning. There are over 400 gift packages available on UniversalGiving.org, which means you will be able to find a charitable gift package for all your loved ones. To give a gift package in honor of family members, friends or colleagues, begin by thinking about their interests, concerns and cares, and search for the gift package that best suits them. UniversalGiving’s pre-packaged gifts make it easy to see where your gift is going and who the beneficiaries are. Here are some examples of the gift packages that are offered:

For the teacher in your life:

Give $25 to provide an impoverished child in the US a pair of eyeglasses so he or she can see the blackboard and succeed in school.

For the cook in your life:

Donate to supply in-school meals to hungry children.

For the doctor or nurse in your life:

Give $258 to train a doctor to perform life saving surgery for children in Peru.

Check out more gift packages

UniversalGiving screens non-profits for you with their Quality Model™ standard, so you can be assured that your gift will go to a top-performing organization. You want to do as much good as possible, and since UniversalGiving takes nothing from your donation through their website, you don’t have to worry.

When I was searching online for a charity for my father, I wished that I had better options for sorting through the abundance of organizations that help save our planet’s trees. I needed an organized catalogue of charitable organizations that I could easily search by cause and have the confidence that my gift was making the greatest possible impact.

This year, I think I’ll help reforest Haiti in my father’s honor. Thanks to UniversalGiving’s gift packages, I know my gift will go directly to support the cause he believes in so much.

Chelsea Iversen is a San Francisco-based freelance writer. She works with non-profit organizations to strengthen their messaging and communications. You can contact Chelsea at chelsea@writegenuine.com or www.writegenuine.com.

Pamela’s Weekly Words of Wisdom: Connection to Life

We all remember a time when we were ‘hit’ with the importance of getting involved globally. For me, I was 12. We were on a family vacation in Mexico, near a traditional marketplace.  My father and I wandered off, just a few paces away, confronted with a cult-de-sac of unwashed, handicapped, begging children.  Having my eyes widened with just disbelief and overwhelming sadness, I simply remember the word UNACCEPTABLE flashing across my mind. I still feel it and see that word all the time. It’s simply “not ok” that millions are starving. Not only can we help, but we also have a lot to learn. I never realized how much I would receive when I first started giving!

Continue reading

How No More Poverty Is Addressing Global Need

We’re highlighting one of our partners today, No More Poverty. Here’s what they had to share about their work:

Since its foundation in 2012, No More Poverty has been able to provide support and assistance to well over three dozen separate non-profit organizations that focus on poverty and poverty-related issues. Since the initial launch of No More Poverty efforts have extended to partnerships for charitable events and the funding of surgical missions to developing nations.

New-NMP-LogoFounders Michael and Julian Omidi started No More Poverty in order to help assist in the global crisis of poverty by providing charities that focus in this area with much-needed direct support. Michael and Julian recognized that poverty both in the United States and around the world does not just stem from one issue; there are a myriad of causes that contribute to impoverishment from lack of financial literacy to homelessness, lack of education to lack of clean water and sanitation, substance abuse to a need for arts programs and creativity. There are many incredible charities that have been involved in finding effective solutions to these problems for years, even decades, that need a little extra help to maintain and increase their efforts.

The efforts of No More Poverty have since expanded beyond just direct support and include increased awareness for charities they have partnered with, opportunities for new organizations and causes to apply for grants, and partnering with nonprofits and governments of developing nations to provide medical missions, such as the most recent trip to the Philippines that they co-sponsored. No More Poverty intends to eventually increase long-term sustainability through grants that would provide impoverished areas around the globe with business development and job creation to assist in long-term sustainability.

Instead of accepting donations, No More Poverty encourages you to make donations to assist the variety of charities NMP supports and work directly on specific issues associated with poverty that you may have a personal connection with.

You’re also invited to read No More Poverty’s blog post about UniversalGiving.  Or visit our website for our vetted ways to give, and address the problem of global poverty!

Doing Good (twice over) with Holiday Gift Packages

Today’s guest post is from Chelsea Iverson.

If you will be giving to charity this holiday season or are considering making a personalized and meaningful donation on behalf of someone you love, you’re not alone.

Holiday giving is a tradition that combines the Scrooge-inspired spirit of Christmas with generous year-end-tax breaks. Each year, charitable organizations around the world receive millions from contributors during the holiday season. It seems that the tougher the economic times, the more dedicated we are to helping those who are most vulnerable. According to the Red Cross, 68% of Americans believe that it is especially important to give to charity this year due to poor economic conditions, and 79% of Americans admit that they would prefer to receive a charitable gift in their honor than a present they would not use this holiday season.

Two years ago, when my father asked that we donate to a meaningful charity in lieu of giving him a Christmas present, I immediately knew I wanted to donate to an organization that would save the world’s trees. My father loves trees. He loves their resilience, their fortitude and their ability to withstand so much human destruction. Overwhelmed with all the charitable organizations out there, I wondered how to select the most impactful, the most meaningful organization and how to be confident that my donation was going directly to saving trees.

Through my experience looking for a charitable gift in honor of my father, I discovered that there are so many charitable organizations spreading so much hope all over the world, and deciding where to give can be difficult.

UniversalGiving offers a tool that helps you find gift packages – from thousands of charitable organizations – suited to your loved ones. This tool helps ease your concerns about choosing a trustworthy organization and provides clear gift amounts that allow you to see what your gift will actually achieve.

Saving trees is just the beginning. There are over 400 gift packages available on UniversalGiving.org, which means you will be able to find a charitable gift package for all your loved ones. To give a gift package in honor of family members, friends or colleagues, begin by thinking about their interests, concerns and cares, and search for the gift package that best suits them. UniversalGiving’s pre-packaged gifts make it easy to see where your gift is going and who the beneficiaries are. Here are some examples of the gift packages that are offered:

For the teacher in your life:

Give $25 to give an impoverished child in the US a pair of eyeglasses so he or she can see the blackboard and succeed in school.

For the cook in your life:

Give $50 to provide an in-school meal to a hungry child for an entire school year.

For the doctor or nurse in your life:

Give $350 to supply one clinic in rural Bolivia with all the needed equipment to serve a population with no access to health care.

Check out more gift packages

UniversalGiving screens non-profits for you with their Quality Model™ standard, so you can be assured that your gift will go to a top-performing organization. You want to do as much good as possible, and since UniversalGiving takes nothing from your donation through their website, you don’t have to worry.

When I was searching online for a charity for my father, I wished that I had better options for sorting through the abundance of organizations that help save our planet’s trees. I needed an organized catalogue of charitable organizations that I could easily search by cause and have the confidence that my gift was making the greatest possible impact.

This year, I think I’ll help reforest Haiti in my father’s honor. Thanks to UniversalGiving’s gift packages, I know my gift will go directly to support the cause he believes in so much.

For more ideas on holiday giving, a live online discussion, hosted by The Chronicle of Philanthropy and The Christian Science Monitor, will be held on December 6.

Chelsea Iversen is a San Francisco-based freelance writer. She works with non-profit organizations to strengthen their messaging and communications. You can contact Chelsea at chelsea@writegenuine.com or www.writegenuine.com.