The next time you’re searching for something, shun your usual search engine and try searching through Everyclick, Goodsearch or SearchKindly.

Goodsearch allows you to add your own charity, while Everyclick allows you to choose from over 200,000 UK based charities. And just in case you’re sceptical, SearchKindly wants to reassure you!

As for email, why not try Ippimail? (Disclosure: I’ve been using them for a while now. Since you ask, no problems, unless you crave the bells & whistles provided by the likes of Gmail.)

Talk about ethical credentials: 45% of their income raised from advertising goes to charity (a full list of the ones you can support can be found here) and another 10% goes to the Open Source community. You can raise more income for charity if you’re willing to answer some questionnaires.

Click-to-donate sites have been around for quite a while, but as a reminder, here are some of the most notable:

Ecology Fund

The Hunger Site

The Breast Cancer Site

The Animal Rescue Site

The Child Health Site

The Literacy Site

- In each dwelling, there is a mystical repository of all useless (or useful some day, in the right circumstances*) things: The Drawer. Maybe it’s a cupboard, where a nest of starlings has set up home. You know what I’m talking about. Within it lurks lengths of string. Candle ends. Postcards. Keys.

So, the latter item is apparently recycleable, through Keys for Kindness, a US-based charity. This charity started up in May of this year, and takes donations of keys to raise money for the M.S Society.

You can send your keys to:

Keys for Kindness
P.O. Box 201
Pearl River
N.Y. 10965
USA

- Recycling Ireland will recycle certain types of printer cartridges and mobile phones, for the benefit of selected Irish charities. Check each charity’s page for what you can donate on their behalf. Charities that will benefit include Barnardos, Irish Red Cross, Cork Simon Community and Oxfam Ireland.

I know that some people have expressed concerns about donating mobile phones in this way rather than just passing on the phone, but if you really feel your mobile is not worth passing on, it might be worth making sure a charity will benefit.

And just one more..

- I’ve been collecting stamps from post that comes through work, and finding different charities to benefit from them has been difficult. However, the Irish Peatland Conservation Council is very happy to accept used stamps**. Trim them (with about a 1cm margin all around) and send them to:

IPCC
Lullymore
Rathangan
Co. Kildare
Ireland

A few weeks ago, I sent off my first lot and am hopeful that they managed to raise a few shekels =)

Other charities that take used stamps include:

PDSA- send your stamps to

PDSA Stamp Appeal
P.O. Box 9191
Wishaw
Lanarkshire
ML2 0YB
England

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People- send your stamps to

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
PO Box 6198
Leighton Buzzard
Beds
LU7 9GW
England

Several charities are registered with Charity Stamps Direct, so you can send your stamps to

Charity Stamps Direct (name of charity)
5 Inverleith Gardens
Edinburgh
EH3 5PU
Scotland

The charities include: Barn Owl Trust, Leprosy Mission Ireland and Breakthrough Breast Cancer but you can find a full list here.

RNIB take stamps, as well as British and foreign coins, mobile phones and printer cartridges. The address for their used stamps appeal is

RNIB Stamp Recycling
PO Box 185
BENFLEET
SS7 9BH
England

- If you’re US-based, why not have a look at Recycling for Charities?

* This particular circumstance may involve one or more of the following:

- the rising of two blood red moons over Terryglass
– someone finding an answer for Goldbach’s conjecture
– the return of Futurama (and I don’t just mean the films)

** I should also mention that they also accept old and foreign coins and banknotes, old call cards and change tickets from Dublin Bus receipts. Email them at bogs [at] ipcc [dot] ie if you have something you think they might be able to make use of.

recycling for charity

July 30, 2008

One of the things guaranteed to send your average DWYC-er into a foaming (really? Just me with the foaming? I should really get that looked at), ranting frenzy is the dilemma of what to do with something you simply don’t need any more- particularly something that no longer works as it should. Old glasses, holey, laddered tights, bras nearly in shreds*.. what to do?

(For some reason, this post is rather underwear themed. Don’t read too much into that ;).)

- If you have some tights going to waste, please send your laddered/ holey/ spare clean pairs to the following address:

Ethopia Tights Appeal
Tightsplease
2nd Floor Albion Court
18 – 20 Frederick Street
Hockley
Birmingham
B1 3HE

Tightsplease will send them to the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital on your behalf.

This hospital treats women who have suffered obstetric fistula in childbirth. I don’t have to tell you here how horrendous this condition is, and women around the world continue to suffer from it. The women use the tights to keep their bandages in place, and the legs of the tights are then woven into rugs.

While there are plenty of ways you can reuse old tights (in the garden, for one), as they even suggest elsewhere on the site, this is an absolutely excellent way to ensure that someone will benefit.

- How about those old, out of shape bras you don’t wear any more? The Rock Chicks want them to create a chain in aid of cancer awareness and research. They are aiming to break the world record of 114,000 bras by November.

They are ideally looking for a donation of €1 per bra, to raise funds for cancer centres in the west of Ireland. I’ve heard these ladies interviewed, and their enthusiasm for this is really something else.

If you’re based in Ireland, here is a list of drop locations and contact people to whom you can donate. But if you’re outside Ireland, you can post your bras to:

Mayo Cancer Support Centre, Rock Rose House, 32 St. Patricks Avenue, Castlebar, Co. Mayo, Ireland

For a variety of reasons, this one hits home with me, so they can expect a few pairs from me any day now =)

- How about your old glasses? Many opticians have drop boxes, where you can drop off your old pairs. The charity Vision Aid Overseas benefits from this, and the link just posted outlines exactly what happens your old spectacles once they are donated.

A BBC documentary called Inside Out followed the journey of the former Countdown presenter Richard Whiteley’s spectacles- you can see more about that here.

So, there you have it! I plan to donate to all three. It’s amazing and humbling to see how the simplest ideas can change lives utterly, and how the seemingly smallest donation has the ability to improve life immeasurably for someone.

the breaking point

July 18, 2008

It wasn’t one thing, but a whole plethora of things on the same day that made me say, “That, dears, is the last friggin’ straw. I will do something or be damned.” Another reactionary anti-NGO article, another story of a charity’s funding shortfall, more evidence of things that are just plain wrong not being addressed..

What was your breaking point, or have you had it yet? What matters to you- what is the issue guaranteed to bring you up short?

How many of you reading this have found yourselves saying any of the following?

“If only I had the [resource] to do something about..”

“I can’t believe that this is allowed to happen..”

This is the situation I’m in- I badly want to do what I can, with the limited resources I have, to make a difference. If you’re short on cash, time or ideas, this is the place for you. Over the coming time, I will be looking at a variety of ways to help charities and causes, that will take into account limited budgets and little to no free time.

I will try everything myself and report back on this here blog. I would love if you would comment with your own ideas or experiences- please feel free.

What has made the difference to me is knowing that I’m not powerless- that what I do (and what I avoid doing) can make a difference. Small, but noticeable, nonetheless.