Save a life with a click: service through technology

What if someone told you that you could feed a Syrian refugee child with just one click, help end hunger by playing a game or raise money for charity with each new tab you open? Online fundraising has expanded past simply setting up websites to ask for money. Now it’s easier to spread awareness, donate and interact to help the cause.

Below are some of the organizations that have made the step towards online, interactive service.

ShareTheMeal

This app lets users donate as little as 50 cents to feed Syrian refugee children in Jordan. Together with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), users of this smartphone application can “share the meal” with a refugee child. The organization labels itself as “the world’s first app against global hunger” and is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger. WFP reaches 80 million people in around 80 countries annually. The non-profit is 100% voluntarily funded with 90% of donations going directly to the cause. Food assistance lets individuals to provide for themselves in the future, creating sustainability in their communities.

Freerice

Freerice’s concept is, “play online, learn online and feed the hungry,” and if you enter the site, you’ll understand why. The first thing that pops up when you enter Freerice.com is a vocabulary game. Now before you start thinking about Membean – it’s not. Freerice offers 21 different subject-related games. You could practice questions ranging anywhere from art history to the SAT. And the best part is, for each answer you get right, the non-profit donates 10 grains of rice through the World Food Programme. With Freerice, not only will you be brushing up on your knowledge, but you’ll also be helping to end hunger.

For those who have been at SAS since elementary school, some might still recall playing the game in class. “It’s great for kids since they can have fun/learn while they’ve giving back to other people,” sophomore Minori Haddad said.  

Haddad strongly recommends the game for younger students. “What’s not to love about a game where you don’t only benefit from learning, but you can know that you’re helping someone who might not have food on their plate. I love how the platform Freerice allows you to have fun yourself while giving back to others.” Laughingly, she added, “I think we should start doing Freerice instead of Membean.”

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 6.23.34 am
Screenshot from Freerice.com

Amy Ong, also sophomore, has a slightly different point of view: “I think that sites like Freerice that directly help a cause are great, but I do believe that, at least as a third grader, these websites make it so easy to help that people often don’t know what exactly they are ‘helping.’”

Tab for a Cause

Tab for a Cause is an Internet browser extension dedicated to charity. The software replaces your default “new tab” or “new window” with a “Tab for a Cause” page that raises money for charity as you surf the web by collecting ad revenue from the page. Every time you open a new tab, their sponsors provide money that the organization then gives to your favorite cause – without costing you a cent. And Tab for a Cause allows you to fully customize your homescreen, so you don’t lose all your functional widgets and tools. By downloading the extension you can donate to a cause you care about just by surfing the web!

YouTube Nonprofit Program

This isn’t so much of a nonprofit organization but rather a platform for other nonprofits. YouTube Nonprofit Program allows the user to “tell your organization’s story through videos on YouTube.” As YouTube operates under Google, you then get added benefits of joining their Google for Nonprofits. Not only does it raise awareness, but you can also raise money for your cause with donation cards that allow your viewers to make a donation to your organization right from your video. It gives the organization an opportunity to work with their supporters and partner with creators on YouTube to raise money for a cause.

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YouTube for Nonprofits channel provides videos on how to fundraise and tips for non-profits through video form (Screenshot of videos by YouTube for Nonprofit)

Plus3 Network

The Plus3 Network combines the aspects of fitness and philanthropy into one iPhone and Android compatible app. It features a reward system that turns all healthy activity into money for charitable causes – completely free for users, thanks to the funding of sponsors. Each time a member records a personal fitness activity with Plus3, money is donated to a charity of their choice.

Although online games, apps and programs like these allow awareness to be spread faster and more efficiently than before, hands-on service can’t be forgotten.

“Of course it’s better than nothing,” Amy said. “But I do believe that people have realized this issue and are starting service programs that are more involved and raise more awareness…service programs that actually create a connection between the people who are helping and the people who are in need.”

So whether you’re scrolling through ShareTheMeal, gaming on Freerice.com or opening a new tab with Tab for a Cause – don’t forget who you’re sharing the meal with.

Author: Kristi Yang

Kristi Yang is a junior and second-year reporter for The Eye. She’s been in Singapore–at SAS–for the past five years and in Asia for the past seven. Previously, she’s lived in New York/Jersey and Beijing. Kristi keeps up with current events through social media platforms, though is also an avid reader of the New York Times. In her free-time, she can be found: figure skating at the rink, sweating through House of Pain, or finding inner-peace at yoga club. She can be contacted at yang43603@sas.edu.sg.

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