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10 Ways To Improve The World With Your Smartphone

10 Ways To Improve The World With Your Smartphone

Volunteering with and helping charities has been proven to provide people with a mental health boost. However, some of us are either too busy or lack the necessary inspiration to make a commitment to regular volunteering. Fortunately, there are many ways that you can make a difference in the world by doing something you probably already do countless times per day — using your smartphone.

1. Walk for Animal Shelters

Regardless of whether or not you are actually taking a dog for a walk, you can turn on the Walk for a Dog app to contribute to your favorite local animal shelter or rescue group. One of the best things about this particular app is that it has a long list of smaller animal organizations that may otherwise fail to receive a large influx of donations. You can also let your preferred local group know about this program so that they can get added to the list.

2. Run for Charity Miles

Charity Miles is an app that allows you to rack up donations for your chosen charity by walking, running, or cycling. Each mile is worth .10 to .25, depending on the type of activity you choose, and you can change charities each time if you want to help several organizations. This is a great incentive for people to exercise, but make sure that you take the necessary precautions. For example, wear bright, reflective colors if you will be walking at night, and consider investing in a high-quality massager for runners to release knots and tightness and correct muscle imbalances. After all, you won’t be able to keep exercising if you end up getting injured.

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3. Donate a Photo to Support Your Favorite Charity

Most people take photos with their smartphones on a daily basis. Although you may not want others to see some of these images, it is highly likely that you also have innocent pictures of animals, sunsets, the beach, and more sitting in your photo gallery. Donate a Photo, which is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, accepts one photo per phone per day, and they turn these photos into donations for a variety of campaigns. One of the most interesting aspects of this particular charity app is that you can choose from very specific campaigns such as helping people who have psoriasis.

4. Feed Children with Feedie

Do you enjoy eating out? Studies have shown that 58 percent of Americans go to a restaurant at least once a week. The good news is that you can turn your craving for your favorite diner into a meal for hungry children in South Africa with Feedie.

Simply open the app, check for a local restaurant that is participating in the program and be sure to take a photo of your food. To date, more than 12 million meals have been donated to the Lunchbox Fund. This level of charitable giving is easy enough for every smartphone owner to get involved in, especially because it essentially rewards you with feel-good hormones for doing something you were planning to do anyway.

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5. Donate 20 Seconds to Your Favorite Charity

If you’re like most people, your day is packed with activities, and this doesn’t leave you with a lot of time to focus on charities and philanthropy. This doesn’t mean that you don’t care about making the world a better place. Instead, it is often the natural byproduct of having the typical middle-class lifestyle, which is filled with work and other pressing commitments.

Fortunately, it now only takes 20 seconds per day to help your favorite charity. Tinbox donates $1 on behalf of each user who allows an advertisement to display on top of their smartphone for a mere 20 seconds. This innovative app is currently only operational in the San Francisco Bay area, but look for it to be nationwide in the near future.

6. Give2Charity by Visiting Your Favorite Locations

Some people purposefully keep their location data turned off, but if you are not among them, you can begin earning money for charity by simply going about your daily routine. The trips that you take and places you visit are tracked via your phone’s GPS, and this is converted into points for the Give2Charity app. It only take 1,500 points to donate $2 to your chosen charity, and this will be easy to accumulate many times over if you simply allow the app to do its thing in the background.

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7. Recycle Your Way to Local Discounts

Recycling is one of the best ways to reduce unnecessary waste and help conserve the environment for future generations. In other words, the very act of recycling is rewarding, but you can now take this to another level by earning discounts at local stores. Each time you recycle with the Recyclebank app, you will accrue points that can be turned in for a wide variety of discounts. For example, many local restaurants participate in this program, which means that you can make a difference twice if you combine this with the Feedie app.

8. Find Volunteer Opportunities on the Go

If you do want to volunteer but need to find opportunities that don’t require a long commitment or a training program, you can use the Reward Volunteers app to look for local organizations that need assistance. As an added bonus, every hour that you log helping a charity can be turned into prizes from sponsors such as Seventh Generation and DakinFarm. You can also partner this with the Volunteer Match website, which makes it extremely easy to look for the right volunteer opportunities to fit your lifestyle, interests, and available timeframe.

9. Help Food Banks by Dining Out

The previously mentioned Feedie assists children in need from South Africa, and you can also combine this with TangoTab to provide food to needy and homeless individuals in Texas, New York, California, and Oklahoma. All you have to do is go to a restaurant that is registered with both apps in order to make an even bigger difference with each meal. This will definitely make your weekly splurge feel better as you will have the personal satisfaction of a good meal and the knowledge that you have helped people eat in two countries.

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10. Help Others While Playing Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go is currently one of the most popular apps and smartphone games in the world, and it requires people to explore their local area in order to level up, find new Pokemon, acquire special objects, and fight with other trainers. The game itself does not feature any charitable giving options, but you can easily run at least one charity app in the background to improve the world while having fun. This may require a battery pack to keep your phone charged, but this is a small price to pay for providing cash and food donations to others at the same time as catching Pokemon and getting some exercise.

If you want to help but need advice about which charities to walk, run, or take photos for, be sure to take some time to research your options to ensure you select a charity that aligns with your goals. Charity Navigator can also give you some much-needed transparency about all of the major charities you will see listed in apps such as Charity Miles.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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Holly Chavez

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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

  1. Zoho Notebook
    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
  2. Evernote
    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
  3. Net Notes
    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
  4. i-Lighter
    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
  5. Clipmarks
    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
  6. UberNote
    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
  7. iLeonardo
    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
  8. Zotero
    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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