by Andrew Okwuosah, Digital Editor

The holidays are right around the corner, as evidenced by the increasing amounts of Christmas music being blasted and mall Santas on children’s laps in shopping malls worldwide. With that in mind, if you’re looking for some extra brownie points in the court of St. Nick, here’s how you can use technology to get that done.


AmazonSmile is Amazon with benefits. Take the same Amazon experience you know and love, and add the pat on the back you get from knowing that you’re supporting one of nearly a million charities of your choice at the same time.

Once you’re at AmazonSmile, you can look for products marked with “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” in the product detail page to contribute 0.5% of the purchase price (the price you pay minus rebates, shipping, gift-wrapping, taxes, and service charges) to a charity.

World Community Grid (Windows/Mac/Linux/Android)

World Community Grid allows your computer or Android device to be used to advance scientific research for health, poverty, and sustainability projects. Basically, once you download the World Community Grid app to your device, it uses some of its system resources to do research in the background on causes like cancer research, and finding a cure for Ebola.

On its own, your impact is relatively small, but with a network of over 600,000 devices contributing, it allows researchers to investigate their causes quicker.

I’ve personally been using World Community Grid for a couple of weeks now, and it doesn’t limit your device’s performance at all.

World Community Grid is free for Android, Linux, Mac, and Windows.

Bing Rewards (Web, Android, iOS, Windows)

Bing Rewards has had a soft spot in my heart for years now. It’s literally the only reason I insist on using Bing over Google. Sure, while it’s good to rack up free Amazon gift cards from the service, Bing Rewards can also be used to donate to charities like the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Teach For America. On its own, that’s great but the real fun comes from the fact that you can donate to your own community.

Bing Rewards allows you to donate to eligible K-12 schools (like McEachern). This allows for Microsoft’s Surface tablets to be donated to schools once 30,000 credits get donated to the school and access to Bing in the Classroom, an ad-free version of Bing that allows for enhanced adult filtering, privacy protection, and activities to help students learn search skills.

Earning these credits are easy: Simply sign up for Bing Rewards, and search with Bing on all of your devices.

For more of my Internet-related musings, choose your favorite social network here. I’ll be back for more Workaholic-ness later this week.