guide to: 10 out-of-the-box ways to contribute to relief efforts in Japan
The devastating magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that rocked Japan on March 11 has left the country and its people in dire need of the world’s help. As the search and rescue efforts yield little results, and some of the country’s nuclear power plants are at serious risk of meltdown, governments and institutions across the world have mobilized to do their bit to aid Japan. There are, of course, the large-scale operations mounted by the Red Cross and other organizations. There was also an unprecedented announcement by AT&T canceling all charges on calls made to Japan from any of their services in the US and Puerto Rico. To do our bit to support the efforts, here is our rundown of some tried and true and other out-of-the-box ways you can help:
1. If you want to wear Japan on your sleeve, literally, check out custom apparel websites Zazzle and Cafepress. Both websites are selling everything from t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, buttons, bumper stickers and more, all in support of Japan.
2. If you have just a few minutes to spare, send a text message to donate to one of several relief organizations on the ground. You can text “JAPAN” to 80888 to donate $10 to the Salvation Army, “REDCROSS” to 90999 to donate to the American Red Cross, or select from a list of other organizations. And use hashtag #prayforjapan in your tweets to share your thoughts and prayers.
3. Zynga, creators of the popular Facebook game Farmville, have announced a limited edition, premium crop that will support Save the Children’s Japan Earthquake Emergency Fund. The new crop, called Daikon, will give off more XP than other crops (we assume FarmVille players know what this means), will never wither and comes with more such benefits to encourage players to contribute to the charity. Facebook, too, will donate their share of the transactions to the cause. In addition, Zynga has also introduced a range of virtual items in some of their other social games such as CityVille and Zynga Poker, all of which will encourage users to contribute to the relief.
4. If you’re in New York, visit the Japan Society to catch some of their great cultural programs about and from Japan, such as films, lectures, performances and more. They have pledged to donate 50% of all ticket and admission sales to their own Earthquake Relief Fund.
6. Pop icon Lady Gaga, who has repeatedly acknowledged her multitudes of fans in Japan, is selling ‘We Pray for Japan’ bracelets on her website. The bracelets sell for $5 each and according to the website, all proceeds go towards relief efforts in Japan.
7. Reach out to your networks by creating your own fundraising page. SXSW, in partnership with the Red Cross, has launched SXSW4Japan, a platform that allows anyone to create their own page with a specific fundraising target. Users can then send the link across their networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc) to reach their goal and spread awareness.
8. While you do your daily browsing on Facebook, visit and “like” their official Global Disaster Relief page to connect with hundreds of thousands worldwide who are sharing information about the various relief efforts taking place. Just this past weekend, the non-profit Dog Bless You successfully raised $100,000, through as many “likes,” to send canine search and rescue team to Japan.
9. We all love snagging a good deal on Groupon, so why not “buy” your support to International Medical Corps’ efforts to send as many medical professionals to the affected areas as possible. While this isn’t your typical discount or savings that Groupon offers, they do promise donors “100% off free, priceless karma.”
10. Finally, Google has set up an extensive resource page with regularly updated information and links to numerous sites that are helping with the efforts. Check it out to get the latest information and track everything that’s going on.
Do you know of any other interesting, out-of-the-box, ways to support the relief efforts in Japan? Please share with us!