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Websites that connect people for good cause

April 28, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
We hear all the time about dangers with the Internet and warnings to be wary of the web, but there's also a lot of good going on online.

More and more websites are starting up with the goal of helping others by using the power of social media to change lives.

The Rewolinskis do what they can to help others, but when they needed help recently, they were blown away by the response.

"We've never experienced so many people coming together for us and that was just life changing for us to know there are people that want to and do care," said Angela Rewolinski.

Thousands of people around the world heard about the Rewolinskis after they read about their need to protect their son. Both of them have autism. They wanted to buy a specially-trained dog. Within weeks, the LoveDrop.us organizers surprised the family with a "love drop" of more than $13,000, enough to cover the fees for the dog.

"People were giving up coffee drinking for a month and using that money to give to Love Drop for us," said Rewolinski.

Love Drop , Give Forward, Mommy Niri Cares, Drop a Love Bomb are just a few of the growing number of sites created with the goal of connecting readers with people for a good cause.

The Love Drop founders put a twist on Internet giving, sometimes leaving money out of the equation entirely, with readers passing along comments of compassion instead of cash.

"I wanted to use that same kind of idea for micro-giving in terms of time and attention and love," said Nate St. Pierre, LoveDrop.us co-founder.

Ken Berger with the Charity Navigator said that because it's so simple to set up sites, he expects to see more created. But he also said that means you have to be careful with these kinds of charity causes, too, especially when they ask for money.

"The challenge or the dangers is that because it's so easy to do, somebody of ill will that wants to create something that's really a fraud can just as easily do so," said Berger. "That's why we always say use your head as well as your heart, so your heart doesn't get broken."

Berger suggests you make sure it's a valid site you're dealing with-- a site that also confirms true need with recipients.

But he's also quick to stress that if you're only giving a dollar, you don't have much to lose. That's fine with the Love Drop people, who are very happy to take your dollar and match it up with thousands of others for good.

Love Drop is always looking for compassionate people to help. If you know of anyone with a good heart who is going through a tough time right now, let them know.