Alexandria, Va., is top city for online giving

Despite the recession, two cities in Virginia and one in Massachusetts donated more than their fair share of money to charitable causes through the Web last year.

Out of 273 cities, Alexandria, Va., its neighboring Arlington, Va., and Cambridge, Mass., topped the list for donating the most money online per person in 2009, according to a report released Monday by Convio. The list is based on the more than $921 million in online donations processed directly through Convio last year, a company that manages online fund-raising for nonprofit groups and charities.

Alexandria donated $2.91 million through Convio last year, … Read more

Twitter grows up in aftermath of Haiti earthquake

In the wake of the devastating 7.0 earthquake in Haiti, Twitter has been serving as a major hub of information, the Nielsen Company reports. Nielsen refers to preliminary analysis of data indicating that Twitter posts are the leading source of discussion about the quake, followed by online video, blogs, and other social media.

Although most online consumers still rely on traditional media for coverage of the quake, they are apparently turning to Twitter to share information, react to the situation, and rally support. Sysomos, an analytics firm in Toronto, estimated that nearly 150,000 posts containing both “Haiti” and “… Read more

In urgent times, avoiding online charity scams

The harrowing images of victims of a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in the impoverished island nation of Haiti on Tuesday have left many wondering how they can most effectively contribute money to help. Unfortunately, with any urgent call for donations often comes a rash of scams that can pilfer cash or result in identity theft.

"Whenever there is a major natural disaster, be it home or abroad, there are two things you can count on," Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance president Art Taylor said in a release on the organization's Web site. "The first is the … Read more

'Bra color' charity campaign blossoms on Facebook

Have you seen a bunch of Facebook statuses consisting only of colors--white, black, pink, beige--recently? That's not a coincidence.

Somehow, a viral campaign bubbled up through the nooks and crannies of the massive social network this week--female members of the site changing their status messages to the colors of the bras they're currently wearing in order to spread awareness about breast cancer.

According to The Washington Post, no one is really sure where or on behalf of whom it precisely started, but it appears e-mail chain letters went around earlier in the week to encourage it.

As far … Read more

Bebo founder drops $1 million at charity auction

NEW YORK--What's it like to watch a dot-com mogul spend $1 million? Well, it's sort of nice when it's going to a good cause.

On Monday night, at the annual benefit gala for the nonprofit Charity Water, Bebo founder Michael Birch, one of the event's co-hosts along with the likes of Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and entrepreneur Sean Parker, made a surprise announcement. Shortly before the event's live auction to solicit donations for new wells, Birch declared that he would personally match all donations up to $1 million.

Charity Water, a favorite cause of the dot-com set, … Read more

Study: Sites to bring in billions in holiday donations

Despite the recession, people are expected to be in a charitable mood this holiday season, as they shop online.

In the United States, cumulative online donations to charities could hit more than $4 billion during the holidays, according to a survey released Tuesday by marketing firm Convio. More than than 63 percent of those surveyed said they plan to donate money via the the Internet over the holiday season (November 1 through December 31, 2009), up from 51 percent in 2008.

Convio's "North American Technographics Omnibus Online Survey" for the fourth quarter of 2009 found that despite … Read more

The 404 Podcast 470: Where we play Streetball

Justin is sick today, so Demetrius Wren and Christina Ghubril join the show to talk about their new film "Streetball." It's the story of a group of homeless South African kids who try to break out of the cycle of poverty by competing in the Homeless World Cup. After some calls about "1984" and convergence, we talk a bit about some unusual uses of bacon flavor.

The most amazing part of "Streetball" was that it was entirely written, shot, edited, directed, and produced by two people! It's a full-length transcontinental movie made possible with only a couple of laptops and some prosumer cameras that have really leaped toward professional film cameras. Demetrius points out that it would not have been possible to shoot their film with a huge camera crew and big pieces of equipment.

The movie is a really fascinating look at how South Africa has changed and not changed since the end of apartheid. The pair says the film is on track for a June-July 2010 release, so be sure to check it out. (Side note: "Streetball" is sponsored by the From Us with Love charity. Be sure to donate!)

After the break, we get to some voice mails about how George Orwell's dystopian future may already be here. That means it may be a normal thing this time next year for Big Brother to know exactly what you purchased at Wal-Mart and that you spend way too much time at the bar down the street.

Last story of the day is about bacon--oh, that delicious food of the gods! Jeff the Hypochondriac thinks bacon-flavored envelopes just might be enough to get him to lick his envelopes closed again. Meanwhile, an intrepid live listener of the show shows us some bacon-flavored chapstick along with some bacon-flavored...personal...lubricant. Yeah, the show ends on that note today.

Side note: We changed the way we're naming our shows in the blog. This is probably going to result in some confusion and backlash. It was done to please the Internet gods.

EPISODE 470 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS VideoRead more

Give a microdonation to your favorite charity

Making microdonations on the Web is a little harder than it once was. Many of the services I would have included in this roundup have shuttered in the past year. In fact, there are just a handful of viable such services left.

Regardless, each of the services listed below will help you connect with the charitable organization (or person) you care about most. You can choose a cause, decide how much to donate, and you're done. It's a really simple process. And if you're in the mood to share, it should be a rewarding one.

Get giving

#BeatCancer Although the #BeatCancer initiative that asked for users to include the hash tag in their tweets to raise cash for cancer awareness is over, the organization's site still allows users to make donations to four different cancer organizations. They include organizations dedicated to breast cancer awareness, childhood cancer, an organization dedicated to better research, and a group that provides support for cancer patients.

You can use the site to donate whatever you'd like to any of the organizations. You can also get the word out about the organizations by clicking on the "spread the word" option in each donation widget. Upon doing so, your Twitter account will be populated with a link for others to donate to the same organization. It's a convenient way to be social and contribute to the fight against cancer.

ChipIn ChipIn is a fine way to start raising money for the charity you care about. It also provides an easy way to get all your social-networking friends to dole out some cash.

When you get to ChipIn, you'll need to input the cause you're trying to raise money for. You can also input how much cash you want to raise over the term of the fundraiser. From there, you need to input your PayPal account. It works well, but it's the social element that might help most. With the help of ChipIn's Facebook widget, you can put your donation box in front of all your friends. You can also add plug-ins to your Web site. Overall, ChipIn makes it quite convenient to make and receive microdonations.… Read more

Online cancer-fighting initiative sets Guinness record

#BeatCancer, a charitable campaign that launched at the BlogWorld & New Media Expo, started making its way around the social Web last week. The goal was to set a new Guinness World Record for the most social mentions in a 24-hour period while raising cash for cancer organizations. Users were asked to include the #BeatCancer hash tag in tweets, Facebook status updates, and blog posts.

According to Everywhere, the social-media communications firm behind the charitable event, 209,771 social messages were sent during the 24-hour period ending 9 a.m. PDT on October 18. The campaign tallied more than 100 … Read more

Twitter to squeeze the wine business for charity

For your non sequitur of the day...

In an attempt to boost literacy rates around the world, Twitter has launched a wine label with San Francisco-based winery Crushpad.

The label is dubbed Fledgling Wine. In addition to its Web site, the self-described "social winemaking venture" has a Twitter page too that just kicked in minutes ago.

"As a company that's only one percent into its journey, we're always thinking about our long term impact on the world," Twitter co-founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone wrote on Fledgling Wine's home page. "The Fledgling … Read more