nurse volunteerNurses are known for their giving and today, more than ever, we all need to monitor our time, money and effort. An investment of these precious commodities can change the world one person at a time. Numerous studies have shown that the act of giving fosters health and happiness in the giver, providing a sense of higher purpose.

For a good experience, limit volunteering of time and effort to an hour or two a week. This can be in person or remotely via phone or computer. The following sites will provide inspiration and help identify worthy organizations:

  • The Freechild Project  Provides networking advice for kids.
  • TakingITGlobal  Offers information on humanitarian projects.
  • United Way  Lists nonprofit agencies needing volunteers.
  • Volunteer Match  Generates a list of nearby organizations by zip code needing volunteers.
  • Do Something  Uses the power of on-line to get teens to do good things off-line.
  • The Volunteer Family  Get family and friends involved in events in your area. Many unused items around the house can help others.
  • Mesothelioma Group  Understand cancer, its signs and symptoms, tests, diagnosis and everything else with the complete guide.

If you have money or unused goods to donate, consider the following:

  • American Red Cross  The nation's largest relief agency.
  • Any Soldier  Support our troops by sending weekly letters and monthly care packages.
  • Project Night Night  Dedicated to improving the lives of homeless children, one sweet dream at a time.
  • Out of the Closet Thrift Stores  Support AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
  • Dailygood by Goodsearch  Participating retailers donate a portion of purchases to charity.
  • The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank  Provide a holiday turkey for a family in Baton Rouge.
  • The Box Project  Donate a monthly box of needed items to an impoverished, rural family in the U.S.
  • Rainforest Alliance  Works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior.
  • National Coalition Against Domestic Violence  Donate old cell phones to victims of domestic violence.
  • Doctors Without Borders  Help vaccinate 50 people around the world against deadly diseases.
  • HOPE United Church of Christ  Help provide care for a woman or child rescued from sexual slavery.
  • New Eyes for the Needy  Donate old eye glasses.
  • Share Your Soles  Donate gently worn shoes to those in greatest need around the world.
  • Brides Against Breast Cancer  Donate wedding gowns to the Brides Against Breast Cancer Nationwide Tour of Gowns sales, to grant final wishes to women and men suffering from terminal breast cancer.
  • Free The Children  More than one million youth are involved in innovative education and development programs in 45 countries.
  • Scholarship America  Mobilizes America, through scholarships and educational support to make postsecondary education possible for all students.
  • Child's Play Charity  Donate a DVD or video game to children in over 40 hospitals worldwide.
  • 826 National  A nonprofit tutoring, writing, and publishing organization with locations in seven cities across the country.
  • Kiva  Loan money to a budding entrepreneur in the developing world.
  • eBay for Charity  Sell goods you no longer need and give a percentage of sales to charities of your choice.
  • Donors Choose  A small donation can create a cozy reading nook for underfunded classrooms.
  • World Computer Exchange  Millions of "outdated" working computers are ending up in US and Canadian landfills. Donate used computers to a child in 61 countries.
  • American Childhood Cancer Organization  Help make a difference in the lives of our nation's childhood cancer patients, survivors and their families.

If you want to donate time or talent, consider the following:

  • eDonor  Find a blood drive and give the gift of life.
  • I Could Be  Connects the energy and expertise of mentors from hundreds of professions with the most vulnerable students in the educational system - those that are most at-risk or most in need.
  • U.S. National Park Service  History buffs, amateur naturalists, re-enactors, artists, campground hosts, gardeners and many more volunteers of all ages give of their time and expertise to help preserve and protect America's natural and cultural heritage for the enjoyment of this and future generations.
  • Therapy Dogs International  Train your dog to be a therapy dog for nursing homes and hospitals.
  • Make a Child Smile  Send a cheerful note to children in hospitals.
  • Net Pets  Help care for pets left behind when military owners are called to duty.