As you're well aware, the massive earthquake and subsequent disasters that continue to plague Japan have devastated countless lives. And as we waited in line last Friday to receive our iPad 2, knowing full well the pain others were experiencing, we couldn't help but think how fortunate we were to indulge in such luxuries in a time of crisis. Once we got home we immediately began researching ways in which we could donate to help support the ever-growing problem. We've compiled a list of ways to donate utilizing various tech sources and implore our readers to consider making even the smallest contribution if they're able to do so.
The Salvation Army has gone on record saying that the best donations are monetary for two reasons. For one, it is difficult and costly to ship clothing or food supplies. Also, relief workers can spend that money inside Japan not only to purchase the goods that people need immediately, but to help stabilize their economy in the process. Although anything is better than nothing, donating money is the preferred method which is what we'll focus on.
The first way to donate is through a collection of charities which you can support via a text. The company which organizes the donations is called mGive and they have vetted all the charities to make sure the money you give will be properly spent. All texted donations are in the amount of $10 and will show up on your next phone bill.
American Red Cross Relief: text REDCROSS to 90999
Convoy of Hope: text TSUNAMI to 50555
GlobalGiving: text JAPAN to 5055
Save the Children: text JAPAN to 20222
The Salvation Army: text JAPAN or QUAKE to 80888
World Relief Corp.: text WAVE to 50555
Both Apple and Microsoft responded swiftly to the disaster, setting up their own unique approaches. Microsoft tweeted under their Bing account the promise to donate $100k if people retweeted their statement. Reaction, however, was mixed. Some said it was nothing more than a thinly veiled marketing attempt. Quickly afterwards, Microsoft apologized and simply decided to donate the full $100k.
Apple, however, established a donation page to the Red Cross on the iTunes store where users could donate in increments of $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, and $200. The typical 30% cut Apple takes from store purchases is being waved. Others are still skeptical of Apple's intentions and whether this isn't simply a scheme to get people to stop by their virtual store.
Groupon has created a page for you to donate to the International Medical Corps in increments of $5, $10, or $25.
Popular gaming company Zynga has incorporated a method of donating into their Farmville game. Users are now able to purchase a new crop and all proceeds will be donated to the Save the Children's Japan Emergency Fund. For more information on the crop and its benifits, you can read about them here.
W+K Studio has designed a poster that they will give to donors for $25, $50, or more.
To wrap up, Charity Navigator has established an excellent informational page on how to donate as well as created a critical review of popular organizations, their funds, and where they are spending their money so you know exactly where your donations will go.