Today marks World Humanitarian Day – an opportunity to honor and celebrate those everyday heroes who face danger to help others around the world.
It is also a chance to perform a good deed – no matter how big or small – whether online or off.
There are endless opportunities to make a difference. Below we share just a few virtual activities you can do to leave your mark.
1. Give a Blog Comment to Send Life-saving Vaccines: This month during August, the United Nations Foundation launched #Blogust, the first-ever “Blog Relay for Good” to help give kids around the world access to life-saving vaccines. All you have to do is comment on the “blog post of the day” and a $20 donation will be made to the Shot@Lifecampaign in your name.
2. Sign the “Believe in Zero” Pledge for UNICEF: Every day, 21,000 children die from preventable causes like malnutrition, unsafe drinking water, and curable disease. Visit unicefusa.org to sign UNICEF’s pledge to help put an end to infant mortality.
3. Create a Video Message to End Bully of LGBT Youth: Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. Speak up against hate and intolerance by filming your own It Gets Better video and provide hope for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other bullied teens.
4. Snoball Your Donations: Through snoball.com, you can create momentum around (and set the parameters for) donations benefiting your favorite charities. For example, a Snoball may be defined as: “Every time the Dallas Cowboys win, I will pledge $1 to the American Red Cross,” or “When I check-in at my favorite coffee shop using Foursquare, I will pledge $2 to the local area food bank.” The specific event, donation amount and time interval are defined by you!
5. Send a Net and Save a Life: Every 60 seconds, a child dies from malaria — which is easily prevented through the use of an insecticide-treated net. A net costs just $10 to purchase, deliver, and educate the recipient on its proper use. Bed nets are a simple, life-saving solution, but your help is needed. Join the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets to send a net and save a life.
6. Donate Your Sky Miles to the Salvation Army: You can use your miles to make a real difference in someone’s life. With Delta’s SkyWish program and United Airlines Charity Miles Program, you can donate miles to The Salvation Army and join in supporting their worthwhile programs, such as moving personnel quickly in time of disaster, or providing travel for those in need of emergency medical care or who have social service emergencies outside of their area.
7. Pledge to Give Up your next Birthday for Clean Water: With Charity:water, you can pledge to give up your next birthday, ask for donations instead of gifts, and help give people around the world access to clean, safe drinking water.
8. Start or Sign a Petition: Advocate for the causes that matter to you most. Visit change.org to start or sign a virtual petition concerning anything from human rights to the environment and everything in between.
9. Play Video Games for Social Good: Games for Change — or Games for Social Impact — are games that have a purpose beyond entertainment, usually around social change (or learning that has a broader social context). These include anything from the environment to civic engagement, to human rights or health. For example, play Fold It, a game calling players to solve protein folding problems that are crucial to science advancement.
10. Sign up to Give Blood: Okay, so this isn’t totally virtual. But blood donations are down more than 10 percent across the country resulting in 50,000 fewer pints of blood than expected. Sign up online to give blood with the American Red Cross today.
11. Sponsor a Child: You can make lasting change in a child’s life by helping provide nutrition, healthcare, childhood development and education. With Save the Children you can virtually sponsor a childfor less than $1 a day.
13. Just 50 Cents: For only 50 cents, you can protect a person for an entire year from seven neglected tropical diseases. For $5 you protect 10 people. With the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, you can help End 7 diseases that impact over a half a billion children around the world.
14. Sign the “Girlafesto”: Girl Up campaign envisions a world where all girls, no matter where they live, have the opportunity to become educated, healthy, safe, counted and positioned to be the next generation of leaders. Send the campaign’s “Girlafesto” to five friends and family members and ask them to join you in supporting girls worldwide.
15. Tweet It: Finally, of course help spread the buzz about World Humanitarian Day by sharing this message with your friends and followers: “This World Humanitarian Day I’m doing something good, somewhere, for someone else. Join me! #WHD2012 #IWASHERE http://thndr.it/PkC2Xe”
What else are you doing – or can you do – today to honor World Humanitarian Day?