Category Archives: charity connects individual donors and vets

Tara H, above, was part of an Army squad working out of Baghdad on Valentine’s Day 2006 when an IED went off, severing her right leg. Her husband is now deployed abroad and she’s having difficulty making ends meet. is one of several web sites springing up to help such vets. Unlike other, larger organizations such as the American Legion, USAtogether allows donors to read individual profiles of vets such as Tara in need, and pass money or items directly to the individual whose story resonates the most. It’s a nice one-to-one connection enabled by web technology.

NPR reports that the U.S. government provides a range of benefits for vets, but those injured in combat may wait months before aid arrives. Other vets earn as little as $25,000 after leaving the armed services, which doesn’t go far as they re-enter society in a down economy without another job.

And the feel-good campaign award for the holidays goes to …

… Oxfam America, for a brilliant, funny, charitable gift-giving web site. Google “silly gift” on a whim and the No. 1 pay-per-click ad is Oxfam, taking you to its web site where you can buy a camel for a country in need. Oxfam’s site makes charitable giving a blast, repositioning requests for aid as if you were purchasing a hot leather bag or pair of sneakers for a loved one. We love this idea, and how it integrates Google SEM with strong creative and simple web usability.

When you make a donation at Oxfam, your friend receives a gift card showing the “item” you purchased — say, a camel or sheep or emergency rescue kit or school uniforms. A donation for that amount goes to Oxfam, and eventually to the people in the world who need support. So much cooler than just giving cash.

Note how visible the customer support number is at the top right of the Oxfam web page. Take that, Amazon!