Friday, March 12, 2010

One of my favorites: CaringBridge

Nonprofit organizations are my passion. I love helping nonprofits and I love seeing the wonderful things that they do. One of my current projects at work is looking at how other nonprofits recognize their donors. This has given me an opportunities to learn about their mission and vision and thus far, we have visited the Hudson (WI) Hospital, Courage Center and the University of Minnesota Foundations. I hope to feature their work in future posts.

But I want to start with a personal favorite. I adore CaringBridge and the service they provide is priceless. Unlike the three nonprofits mentioned above, they aren't a bricks and mortar type of business. They are virtual. CaringBridge provides free websites that connect family and friends during a serious health event, care and recovery. In the Summer of 2008 when my sister was battling Cancer, our family learned the wonderful blessing CaringBridge is to families facing difficult health situations.

A CaringBridge website is personal, private and available 24/7. It helps ease the burden of keeping family and friends informed. The sites are very simple to create and use. Authors add health updates and photos to share their story while visitors leave messages of love and support in the guestbook.  I would bet that most people have followed the story of someone on CaringBridge or perhaps have first-hand experience of authoring a site themselves.

Their mission statement explains the true impact of their service: "To bring together a global community of care powered by the love of family and friends in easy, accessible and private way." The closest thing to a hug given virtually.

According to their website, more than 30 million families depend on CaringBridge and each day more than half a million people connect through CaringBridge. One of the users of CaringBridge wrote this: "We had no idea God would use the tool of CaringBridge to bring us the comfort and hope we needed so badly."

CaringBridge is a 501(c)3 charitable nonprofit and because their service is free to the users, they depend upon individuals, corporations and foundations for financial support. Next time, you're considering your charitable gifts, consider including CaringBridge on the your list. I know it's on mine.

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