That feeling when you find out your donation is making a huge impact? Incredible.

If you gather enough snowflakes, you can create an avalanche.

Thousands of worthy organizations rely on individual donations to do good work in the world. And there are millions of people who feel compelled to donate, but they might think their modest contributions won't really make a difference.

But they do — especially when enough people show up. When we hear about a major donation, it's easy to think that those are the ones that really make a difference. And, no doubt, those windfalls create big opportunities.


Las Americas, an advocacy group that provides legal representation for immigrants, received a $100,000 donation from Priorities USA — which had a huge impact. "We are all crying in the break room," wrote one of the organization's employees. "Our legal staff is 5 people (2 of us in stipends) and one attorney with at least 300 open cases and clients. This is going to expand the number of people we can help by so much."

But whether it's one person or organization giving $100,000, 100 people giving $1,000 each, or 10,000 people giving $10 each, the effect is the same. For nonprofits, every dollar counts, and the more people they have supporting them, the better.

A viral fundraiser succeeded beyond any expectation — with donations averaging around $38.

When the Trump administration enacted a sweeping policy of separating children from parents at the border, people of all beliefs and backgrounds were appalled. One couple started a Facebook fundraiser to raise money for the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), a Texas-based legal aid organization serving refugees and immigrants. It went wildly viral, and in less than a week raised more than $17 million.

We do not have the words to thank Charlotte and Dave Willner. Thanks is inadequate for the work these funds will make...

Posted by RAICES on Monday, June 18, 2018

As of this writing, almost 450,000 people have donated to the RAICES fundraiser — a participation level that calculates to an average donation around $38 each. Obviously, some people gave more than that, which means some gave less. And yet all of those individual dollars came together to form an avalanche of funds to help.

"We've been occasionally crying around the office all day when we check the fundraising totals," the organization wrote on Facebook. "... There are terrible things happening in the world. And there are many people who are deciding not to look away but to do something. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."

Another nonprofit group has raised millions using a model of intentionally small donations — where no one gives more than $25.

Known for their "Love Flash Mobs," Together Rising encourages huge participation with small amounts of money. Love Flash Mobs are time-limited fundraisers — usually less than a day for a specific cause, shared through social media. Most Together Rising fundraising campaigns cap donations at $25 — people are asked not to give more. This practice ensures that "every giver is equally vital to meeting the specific need," according to the organization.

The organization has raised funds for refugees in Greece, abandoned kids in Indianapolis, opioid recovery for pregnant teens, and more. In May 2018, it raised $1 million in just nine hours to help get legal aid to families at the border. Here's the update on the impact of those funds:

HERE'S HOW YOU ARE SERVING THE SEPARATED BORDER FAMILIES TODAY -- UPDATE #2!Two weeks ago, we came together in a...

Posted by Together Rising on Friday, June 15, 2018

Don't let having little to give discourage you from giving.

In a perfect world, we wouldn't need to have fundraisers to support people's basic needs and human rights, but here we are. And a whole lot of "little" adds up to a lot. If everyone with the means gave small amounts on a regular basis, imagine the avalanche of generosity it would create.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.