Money might make the world go around, and there's no denying its necessity when it comes to alleviating the world's suffering, but did you know there are other ways to give?

SOCIAL DONATIONS

I first learned the phrase "social donations" while watching a video on Sevenly. Co-Founder Dale Partridge (pictured at left) encouraged people to share news about its partner organization via Twitter and Facebook, even if they weren't able to buy the week's t-shirt. It got me thinking. First, I loved the phrase and decided to start using it when I spoke with people about philanthropy, but on a deeper level, considered how hugely important our social capital is and how we can use it to make a difference.

One of the first steps in helping any philanthrophic cause become successful is awareness of the issue, and this requires support from all social networks: word-of-mouth, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. If you care about something, tell your circles about it. It's free, and it's powerful.

SOCIAL INFLUENCE

If your best friend told you about a meal she had at a restaurant last week, you're probably more likely to make a reservation to see for yourself than if you learned of it elsewhere. That's the power of our social networks, and our recommendations can influence everything from which laundry detergent we buy to which hotel we stay at on vacation.

Social influence can also impact your giving. Your mom might like the Facebook page of an organization whose newsletter you forwarded to her, or your sister might buy the same bracelet you did to support your favorite sustainable agriculture program.

AWARENESS LEADS TO ACTION

Don't underestimate the power of social donations. Hitting the "like" button on Facebook or sending a Tweet takes almost no time, no planning, and no effort except the push of a button, but can have dramatic impacts. So start ramping up your social donations and be a force for good!

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