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Scavenger Hunt for a Cause
The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt, or GISH, is a scavenger hunt for a cause and one that can boast that it actually is the greatest international scavenger hunt — it has received a Guinness World Record for the largest media scavenger hunt in the world. “Supernatural” actor Misha Collins founded GISH in 2011, and it is a scavenger hunt for a cause that has seen over 55,000 participants from over 69 countries since its inaugural year. GISH effectively mobilizes its thousands of participants toward charitable causes, often by making charitable donations a task in the annual hunt. On such a large scale, GISH has made an impact on causes including refugee settlement and farmland donations in Africa.

What is GISH?

Formally known as GISHWHES, GISH is a scavenger hunt for a cause and a viral online media event that takes place over one week every year. Participants must pay a $25 sign-up fee and teams must consist of 15 people, either personally chosen or randomly assigned. The organization sends out the scavenger hunt list via email as well as the GISH app, and the goal is to complete as many tasks as possible by the end of the week.

Some previous tasks from 2019 included hosting Stormtrooper X Games and providing photos, finding an actual spacesuit and putting a GISH patch next to the national flag. Additionally, some tasks were to create a brochure for a Mars tourist company, plant and maintain trees and help residents of a local nursing home “escape” by throwing a summer party and asking about their favorite memories.

How Does GISH Help?

Through various GISH tasks over the last few years, participants have cleaned thousands of beaches, more than 2,000 participants have donated blood, more than 800 have registered as bone marrow donors, more than 3,000 have volunteered for food pantries and volunteers have donated more than $700,000 to charity. In 2011, GISH raised money to build an orphanage and care center for the orphans of the Haiti earthquake of 2010. In 2016, participants raised enough funds for four refugee families from Syria to move out of a refugee camp and into a stable housing environment. In 2018, GISH participants helped to provide over 250 acres of farmland and resources to women in Rwanda to rebuild their lives and provide them with the opportunity of financial freedom. In 2019, scavenger hunt teams raised funds to help refugees at the U.S./Mexico border and raised more than $240,000 to help families in Laos. These are just a few of the impacts that GISH has had in the last eight years.

Random Acts: A Partner Charity

Random Acts, a charity also founded by Misha Collins, is an organization dedicated to finding new ways to bring random acts of kindness into the world. Similar to GISH, it has an annual event called AMOK (annual melee of kindness), where participants perform various acts of kindness to make their community a better place, including fundraising and mobilizing.

It also hosts Endurance 4 Kindness, which is a global event that allows participants to push themselves and raise money for a good cause. Random Acts has helped fund campaigns like Hope to Haiti and Dreams 2 Acts: Nicaragua as well. GISH has partnered with Random Acts in the past to save a South African dance school in 2017 and to help build an orphanage in Haiti in 2011.

How to Participate

To participate in GISH, find a team (or opt for random placement), sign up through their website, pay the $25 participation fee and wait to receive the list! Prepare to be uncomfortable and awkward, but be ready for a good time. Overall, keep in mind that although seemingly lighthearted and just for fun, many of the tasks aim to make a real difference, both in local communities and globally.

GISH is a scavenger hunt for a cause and has been going strong for the past eight years, constantly breaking Guinness Records and gaining more participants as it grows. It emerged as a call to action in response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2011 and has since helped people all over the world. From refugees in Syria and Lebanon in 2016 to women in Rwanda in 2017 to families in Laos this year, GISH has made impacts all over the world. GISH is the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt for a great international cause and each year continues to see more participants helping to change the world. Over the next few years, participants will help thousands of people and donate thousands of dollars for various charities, expanding an already record-setting scavenger hunt for a cause.

Jessica Winarski
Photo: Flickr

gaming_for_good
The video game industry is a $10.5 billion per year industry. With the level of financial power held by this form of entertainment, there is a great opportunity for gaming to become a major force for good.

Gaming For Good is an organization that seeks to fulfill this opportunity. The organization encourages players to purchase “points” through donations made to charitable efforts by Save the Children International. These points can then be spent on games such as Psychonauts, Splice and Worms Revolution.

Gaming for Good was founded by Bachir Boumaaza, better known by his online nickname “Athene.” Athene has been described within gaming media as “the best gamer in the world,” and holds records ranging from the first to reach level 60 in Diablo III to the most hands of online poker played in one month. Gaming for Good is a way for the online celebrity to take what is clearly more than a hobby for him and use it to make a difference.

This method is working incredibly well. Along with partnering with major gaming media such as Twitch TV, the site won a Webby Award in 2013. More importantly, the charity has been an absolute powerhouse in terms of fundraising. In 2013, the organization reached $10 million in donations. Gaming for Good’s recent support of charity efforts in Nepal came with a request of $200,000. Gaming for Good raised over $805,000 for relief in Nepal thus far.

Everybody has a hobby. For some it is collecting, for others painting and, for many, that hobby is gaming. With gaming being such a successful industry, Gaming for Good does something amazing by mobilizing that success to promote change in the developing world.

Gaming for Good can be visited here.

Andrew Michaels

Sources: Polygon, Kotaku 1, Kotaku, Save the Children , Webby Awards, Save the Children
Photo: Dual Shockers

beauty_products_that_donate_to_charityNowadays, there are many beauty and makeup companies that are selling beauty products that donate to charity to aid different humanitarian causes.

Fundraising activities, partnering with nonprofit organizations for projects or giving donations through sales of their products are some examples that these companies use to support and advocate for good causes.

Brands like The Body Shop, Kiehl’s, LUSH, Philosophy, Mama Sopa, Balanced Guru, UNE Natural Beauty, Murad, MAC Cosmetics, GIVESCENT and Ten Thousand Villages use some, if not many, of their products to collect donations through their purchases.

Each brand supports different humanitarian causes such as AIDS reduction, poverty, hunger, water conservation and animal and environment protection, among other things.

Here are 10 beauty products that contribute to charity when purchased:

  1. All Philosophy products: According to Philosophy’s website, one percent of the sales of every Philosophy product will go to community-based organizations that support mental health. The brand commits to supporting mental health and well-being through their “Hope & Grace Initiative.”
  2. “Soft Hands Kind Heart Hand Cream” by The Body Shop: This hand cream was available to buy early in 2015, and is accessible in all The Body Shop stores worldwide. The purchase of this product gives a donation of £1.50 to The Body Shop Foundation, a foundation that advocates for human rights and environmental and animal protection.
  3. Ten Thousand Villages soaps and creams: Ten Thousand Villages is a fair trade retailer company that works to empower artisans in developing countries. The company sells a variety of products ranging from jewelry to bath accessories. Their skincare products, such as soaps and creams, are made in places like Ghana, India, Israel and Zimbabwe, and their purchase contributes to helping artisans in these countries.
  4. “New Charity Pot” by LUSH: The “Charity Pot” is a body lotion created with natural ingredients by the cosmetic brand LUSH. With every purchase of this body lotion, 100 percent of the sale is donated to different organizations supporting human rights, animal welfare and environmental conservation.
  5. “Shark Fin Soap” by LUSH: This is a limited edition soap by cosmetic brand LUSH. Made with natural ingredients for Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week,” 100 percent of the proceeds from the purchase of this item will go to organizations dedicated to the conservation and protection of sharks.
  6. “Viva Glam” products by MAC Cosmetics: Created by MAC Cosmetics, “Viva Glam” is a lip makeup collection that donates 100 percent of the price for every purchased product. These donations go to the MAC AIDS Fund, which addresses the relation between poverty and HIV/AIDS and supports various organizations around the globe. Celebrities like Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Ricky Martin, Nicki Minaj and Boy George are some of the artists that have participated in the “Viva Glam” campaign.
  7. All GIVESCENT products: This brand has a collection of Italy-inspired scents. The purchase of any bottle of GIVESCENT supports women worldwide as well as different women-centered campaigns. Some of the organizations that the brand supports are Every Mother Counts and Women for Women International.
  8. “Fund-raising Lip Balm” by UNE Natural Beauty: This natural product, created by UNE Natural Beauty, donates £1 to Plan, a children’s charity. The lip balm’s donations are destined to support a project by Plan that provides education to girls in Cameroon.
  9. “Live Beautifully Set” by Murad: This Murad’s limited-edition set includes an eye cream and an inspirational book by Dr. Murad. Ten percent of the sale results in a donation that supports the Murad Esthetics Scholarship Program through the Beauty Changes Live Foundation.
  10. All Mama Sopa products: Created for a social hygiene project for The Dutch Simavi Foundation, Mama Sopa is a collection of shower gels, soap bars and hand soaps with a good purpose.

According to an article published by The Dieline, every Mama Sopa product sold gives hygienic trainings by The Dutch Simavi Foundation to vulnerable mothers in East India.

Diana Fernanda Leon

Sources: Philosophy, The Body Shop Foundation, Ten Thousand Villages, LUSH 1, LUSH 2, Mac Cosmetics, Give Scent, UNE Make up, Murad, The Dieline
Photo: The Dieline

fashion_project
Raising money for charity is a mission that many organizations and movements have, but it is their techniques what makes them different.

Fashion Project has the mission to raise as much money as possible in order to donate it to charity and humanitarian causes. They achieve this through the creation of a community that donates and shops for clothing pieces to support causes these donors and buyers care about.

According to Fashion Project’s official website, this technique has placed them as the industry leader in online clothing donation.

The designer brands that the Fashion Project sells and accepts for donation are Fendi, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Alexander Wang, Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Chanel, Dolce Vita, Elie Saab, Free People, Gucci, Hermes, Lanvin, Prada, Michael Kors and Valentino, among others.

Once donors select the cause they want to support, they can donate their gently used or new designer clothes, shoes and accessories. Fashion Project covers shipping and they also photograph the donated clothing pieces in order to sell them in their online boutique for buyers. In addition, clothing and accessories donors will get a tax receipt.

While their online shop offers sale prices in designer brand items, buyers can take advantage of the savings these items offer and, at the same time, their purchase provides a donation to charity.

Up to 55 percent of the sells of Fashion Project’s online shop are directed to support different charity programs.

As of today, Fashion Project has raised around $700,000 for charity, and is supporting 2,016 charities and organizations.

Some of the charity partners that Fashion Project supports are She’s The First (sponsors girl’s education in developing countries), Neads (dogs to help the deaf and disabled people), Apne Aap Women Worldwide (empowers women to gain independence) and Women’s Global Empowerment Fund (produces programs that reduce poverty and the marginalization of women and their families), among others.

On the other hand, people can also create their own “Fashion Project” as a fundraising campaign.
Fashion Project gives fundraisers the necessary tools to create their fundraising personalized site so they can invite people to donate or shop fashion items for a good cause. Once the fundraiser reaches his goal, Fashion Project will direct their raise to its destination.

This project has been growing with the years to a point in where Fashion Project has partnered with Neiman Marcus, and the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. The project has also launched donation programs with Nordstrom, Joie and Elie Tahari, among others.

According to an article published by Forbes, partnerships with retailers have been an important aspect to spread Fashion Project’s mission.

The most popular designer brands on the online shop are Coach, Theory, Kate Spade, Michael Kors and Tory Burch. Most of the donors and buyers are from the United States but they have had donations from Europe countries interested in donating to the cause and supporting the mission of Fashion Project.

Diana Fernanda Leon

Sources: Forbes, Fashion Project 1, Fashion Project 2, Fashion Project 3
Photo: Boston.com

donate-to-a-nonprofit
Want to donate to a nonprofit? Here are three easy steps to donate to a nonprofit organization that may interest you:

1. Find a Worthy Cause.

With so many causes worthy of your donation, finding the right one can be intimidating. For example, is it better to cure a certain disease or to make healthcare more accessible? Is providing shelter more important than providing education?

The answer to these questions largely depends on you, the donor.

In the fight against global poverty, for example, consider the following causes: international development, humanitarian relief, global health, education, gender equality and human rights advocacy. These are all important motivations for giving and many nonprofit organizations work in these fields.

If you are strapped for cash, you can also donate your time. All campaigns need volunteers and you may be able to gain hands-on experience by giving a few hours each week.

2. Find a Reputable Organization.

Once you have found a cause worth donating to, the next step is to find an organization that will meet your needs. Typically you will want an organization that is trustworthy and effective.

Finding one is no small task: the National Center for Charitable Statistics estimates there are over 1.5 million nonprofits registered in the United States.

To find a nonprofit, it is important to use GuideStar, a leading nonprofit information service. GuideStar indexes millions of IRS Form 990, a series of important financial documents that shed light on the trustworthiness of a nonprofit.

The website also allows donors to review an organization that they care about. For example, The Borgen Project has an average rating of Five Stars. You can view the page here.

You can also find worthy causes through crowdfunding websites; Crowdrise is typically a popular choice for charitable causes.

3. Donate. (And Don’t Forget Your Receipt!)

As soon as you have found a great cause and a trustworthy organization, it is time to donate. Most nonprofits have a donate page where you can select the amount among other options. You can often donate in your own name, someone else’s or anonymously. Whatever you decide, the nonprofit will thank you!

Don’t forget your receipt. Many donations are tax deductible but often require documentation.

If you choose to donate to a nonprofit, you will be in good company. According to the National Philanthropic Trust, Americans donated $358.38 billion in 2014. About 95.4% of American households give to charity and more donors are choosing to give online.

– Kevin McLaughlin

Sources: GrantSpace, GuideStar, National Philanthropic Trust

Photo: Flickr