‘Tis the Season:’ Apps To Help You Pay It Forward

The holiday season is a time for giving. And I’m not just talking about all the gifts we’re scrambling to buy for everyone on our lists. It’s also a season for giving to those less fortunate than us. As the end of the year approaches and you have some downtime, be sure to download a few of these apps and see what you feel comfortable giving this holiday season!

Give to Entrepreneurs in Other Countries (Kiva)

If you don’t already know about Kiva’s unique brand of micro-transactions, be sure to check out their about page and read a bit about how they work. Basically, Kiva is a nonprofit that connects individuals with small business owners and entrepreneurs all over the world who need help. First, browse Kiva’s listings and find people you’d like to help. The listings cover absolutely every type of business you can think of, from a woman in Tajikistan who is looking to raise $525 to buy a sewing machine so she can make dresses to sell, to a man in Cambodia looking to raise $1500 to buy fish and firewood so he can start selling smoked fish. Once you find an entrepreneur you’d like to support, you can lend as little as $25 to help someone get their business off the ground. You can even see tons of historical data from the lender they’ll be working with to find out what the credit risk of your loan is, what percentage of small businesses they support default, and how long they’ve been working with Kiva. Using one of the many mobile apps available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, you can browse Kiva’s listings while on-the-go and really find a small business you want to support this holiday season.

Give to Teachers in Need (Donors Choose)

Donors Choose is an amazing charity that connects individuals directly with teachers and classrooms all around the country who need help funding projects. Donors Choose is the perfect place to go if you’re looking to support an art teacher who needs supplies, math education in public schools, field trips for students in poverty-stricken areas, or — and this is a huge need this holiday season — schools affected by Hurricane Sandy. You can browse listings in these categories and more, find a teacher or a school you’d like to help out, and give as much or as little as you feel comfortable with. And with the app for iOS devices, you can browse (and give!) anywhere you can get online.

Give Your Time (VolunteerMatch)

Don’t have any money to give this season but want to give your time to those in need? VolunteerMatch is a great app that connects you with volunteer opportunities locally as well as those that can be done remotely. To date they’ve connected over 5 million volunteers with more than 90,000 organizations! And with the app, it’s easy to locate a volunteering opportunity near you and start committing some of your time to a great cause!

What other apps to help you give back to those in need have you heard about? If you have any to share, be sure to leave them in a comment below!


Mario Armstrong, Digital Lifestyle Expert, is an Emmy Award winning, tech commentator for the TODAY show and CNN, and the host of a tech talk radio show on SiriusXM. An entrepreneur by nature, Mario made his passion his career by quitting his day job and founding Mario Armstrong Media. Follow Mario at @MarioArmstrong. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.

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