High tech giving


By Jenny Kuglin

Social media has played a key role in helping people stay in touch with friends and relatives in Japan after the devastating earthquake last week.

And now, social media is stepping up to play another key role: helping to fund relief efforts.

Whether it's through gaming or texting, tweeting or Facebooking, social media is providing lots of ways for you to get involved. Here are some ideas from ABC News:

Groupon has turned its attention from deals to donations.

Groupon introduced an online offer Friday evening to let customers donate $5, $10 or $25 to support humanitarian aid group International Medical Corps' emergency relief efforts in Japan and other areas affected by the earthquake.

Groupon also issued a tongue-in-cheek warning to its customers: ""Buyers beware," when you click "Buy" to donate your time or money to a worthwhile G-Team cause, the only discount you may receive is 100% off free, priceless karma."

Facebook and Twitter
You can use your tweets and Facebook posts to raise money for Japan with HelpAttack.

Launched last year, the Austin, Texas-based start-up lets users pledge money for every action they take online. Similar to pledge models associated with marathons, in which runners raise money with every mile they run, HelpAttack lets users pledge an amount of money for every tweet and Facebook post they make.

You choose the amount of money you want to pledge with each post (as little as 10 cents or as much as $10 or more) and at the end of a 30-day cycle, your credit card gets charged with the amount you raised.

HelpAttack is partnering with the Red Cross, so if you want to support that orgnization's earthquake relief efforts, visit HelpAttack.com/pledgeto/redcross.

Social Gaming
If you're a diehard FarmVille fan, you can support children affected by the earthquake just by playing your favorite game.

Zynga, the company behind the wildly popular Facebook game, announced Saturday that it was partnering with Save the Children to support earthquake and tsunami relief efforts.

In eight of the company's most popular games -- Cafe World, CityVille, FrontierVille, FarmVille, YoVille, Zynga Poker, Words With Friends and zBar -- players will have the opportunity to donate.
In FarmVille, for example, players can purchase a limited edition daikon radish crop. In Cafe World, players can buy Japanese-inspired decorations for their cafe. In each game, 100 percent of the purchase price goes to Save the Children.

Mobile Giving
Your cell phone is another high-tech humanitarian tool. Just type in a few numbers and you can text a donation to one of several non-profit groups helping earthquake victims.

The Mobile Giving Foundation announced an initiative Friday that lets people use their cell phones to donate $5 or $10 to relief efforts.

Text "JAPAN" or "TSUNAM" to 20222 to donate $10 on behalf of Save the Children Federation, Inc.

Text "4JAPAN"or "4TSUNAMI" to 20222 to donate $10 on behalf of World Vision, Inc.   

Text "MERCY" to 25383 to donate $10 on behalf of Mercy Corps

The Red Cross has its own mobile giving program, in which supporters can text "REDCROSS" to 90999 to donate $10.

If you want to support The Salvation Army USA, you can text "JAPAN" to 80888 to make a $10 donation to the organization.

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