AmazonSmile is Ending on 2/20/2023

AmazonSmile Charity Program Ending on 2/20/23

We appreciate all the PMD supporters who have dutifully used this program when they’ve shopped online and earned 0.5% donations to keep PMD’s volunteer programs going since 2013. Sadly, this philanthropy program is ending on 2/20 in the name of corporate cost cutting.

So if you are planning any new amazon purchases, please try to make them before this program ends – Remember to shop beginning at

Technically, you can still enroll at and support PMD volunteer programs.

Vote for PMD for $25k prize & win cool stuff for yourself from Virgin America

Virgin America is asking Bostonians how they are re-thinking the rules, creating change and supporting causes that matter. To mark their Boston launch, it’s gifting $25,000 to a Boston cause based on free votes that also enter voters in drawings for a world trip and 2/11 launch party invitations.
Voting is free and open to legal residents of Massachusetts who are at least twenty one (21) years old and who vote by 2/6.
Please vote for People Making a Difference (PMD)!

Improve the Process of Recruiting/Screening Bone Marrow Donor Volunteers

This morning I trudged a mile in the snow (over many unshoveled sidewalks) to participate in the Alexander Phan Bone Marrow Drive and completed a long paper application form, only to be soundly rejected due to diagnosed sleep apnea without corrective surgery. It was a frustrating experience, but if the process were revamped, there would have been several opportunities to build good will even if I could not volunteer/join the registry.

While I totally believe that bone marrow donation and a registry program are quite valuable, the recruitment and screening process leaves much to be desired. I’m frustrated because they wasted my time, so am going to go out on a limb and make suggestions based on this one experience.

I heard about this drive via email and facebook, which did a good job of personalizing it to help a particular boy (when, in fact, the greater pool of patients in need will be served), but neither source directed potential volunteers to online links to help self-determine whether they would be (dis)qualified. There are many medical guidelines to ensure the health and well-being of donors and recipients, so it would be nice to share the major requirements like Beautiful Lengths does for potential donors of hair for wigs for cancer patients. If this were the case, then I could have self-selected myself out of the process early on and saved everyone the time and effort. Instead, there was pressure to show up no matter what the weather/road conditions rather than to click to check and see if you could be of help.

Though the National Bone Marrow Registry cannot control social media players, they still had several more, preemptive opportunities to conserve effort and to build good will in the process. Initial signage at the drive should name all of the required medical criteria–sleep apnea/breathing disorders were absent-not just the major ones like criteria already associated with blood donation–particularly when this drive’s organizer has sleep apnea and knows he cannot be a marrow donor. (I’m an occasional blood donor, so I knew that I was acceptable in this regard.) The lower third of signs was dedicated to gross obesity charts, apropos for our overweight nation, so I could check and see that I fell within the acceptable range.

After reading the signs, I was thanked for showing up, given 10-pages of paperwork to read and complete, and asked to consider making a $25-$52 donation to cover the cost of my tissue typing. Instead, I suggest that the National Bone Marrow Donor Program reorganize WHEN one talks with the trained staff and volunteer screeners and RECEIVES and COMPLETES written information:

  1. Before filling out any forms, direct me to read the registration and consent for HLA typing so any disparity between what the registry requires and what the potential volunteer is willing to do is resolved or participation is preempted right away. These four pages were sandwiched inside the six-page application form, which also duplicated two of the key pages at the very end.
  2. A real person, not a form, should explain the purpose of the specific medical guideline questions before the form is completed. No one can argue with expert criteria for the well-being of donors and recipients, and understanding makes potential rejection easier to accept. Then a potential bone marrow donor should describe/check off conditions and be counseled/rejected for any conditions that could be or are unacceptable. At this point, the potential volunteer has invested very little effort, so can walk away “no harm, no foul” and still feel good about trying. (It was deflating to have my detailed application form given back to me to destroy due to all of my personal information in it.–It felt like there was absolutely no point in my showing up and completing the detailed form.)
  3. If the potential bone marrow donor volunteer seems like a good candidate, s/he should then be required to fill out detailed personal, employer, contact persons’, and other information before moving on to a cheek swab and request for a donation to cover part or all of the cost of his/her tissue typing.

Give 5 Stars to PMD’s American Express Project Entry by 6/17!

Former founding PMD board clerk, Nancy Goldberg, and I have developed what we hope will be a winning proposal for a project that is
  • Innovative (i.e., people often ask PMD/me and Nancy for advice for bar/bat mitzvah and confirmation projects after they are unable to locate useful information online)
  • Achievable with $1,000,000 to $5,000,000 due to PMD’s and Nancy’s experience and networks, and
  • will certainly have a lasting and broad, positive Impact.

See project description below.

If you are an American Express card holder, please show your support by awarding five stars to #03770 Tried and True: Plans for Teens to Save the World and participate in the message board as soon as possible before June 17, 2007.
Like many online community contests, it’s all about spreading the word among people we know and getting them to vote, so any help you can provide would make a real difference, much the way awareness about PMD spread beyond the board’s and my friends after the first year. You already know that PMD has integrity and is all about doing a great job helping others–Now that we’ve had 3,503 people volunteer for 628 PMD projects helping 107 charities, and they’ve told us how we can do better each time, we’re sharing our knowledge base to help others do a great job, too.
A project of this scope would enable PMD to help many young people make a real difference to local charities, going far beyond offering lists of possible project ideas or standards of excellence for volunteers, volunteer group leaders, and charities (that I’ve helped co-develop) to providing practical plans useful for all stakeholders so that teens’ volunteer projects successfully
  • Produce appreciable results and generate tools and materials while conserving recipient charities’ limited resources,
  • Educate volunteers about broader issues, and
  • Bring people together to make a difference.
Last year, Nancy and her daughter, Liesl, learned about homelessness and poverty, selected a local women’s day shelter to support, collected what they said they needed and made innovative centerpieces, as well as volunteered together with PMD at that charity to see how their contributions would be used.

Project Idea #03770

Tried and True: Plans for Teens to Save the World

Unedited project description below. Rules limit online descriptions to

1,000 words and do not let us name People Making a Difference (PMD).

Although many teens have the time, interest and inclination to engage in meaningful community service, it is very challenging for them to do so. Most volunteer programs aren’t geared to teens’ abilities or availability. Despite the many obstacles, some teens, teachers, youth group advisors, etc. have succesfully found ways to engage teens in making their communities a better place. We propose building a web site where teens and those who love them can share their sucessful blue prints for volunteer projects that really work. The project tasks, timeline, cost, and other crucial information would be available to those around the world to replicate in their own communities.

To obtain and to share a wide variety of community projects of all sizes

and scopes, we will conduct a massive outreach effort to synagogues, churches, other faith-based groups, youth group leaders, teachers, etc. So that we can obtain useful, detailed, and complete information, we will offer a donation the 501-c-3 charity served by the project, in honor of the teen or adult organizer, as an incentive for sharing unique community projects.

© 2007 Nancy R. Goldberg & People Making a Difference through Community Service, Inc.

Use Engine & Support PMD

CompuMentor/TechSoup drew my attention to how a search engine can rally PMD volunteers and supporters to raise money for PMD programs without any cost to PMD.

Use to search the Internet. First select People Making a Difference (or another registered US charity or school) so that every time you search, you’ll raise money to support PMD service projects. 

Kudos to whoever had the forethought to pre-register PMD back in February–I’ve submitted more info.

This site is powered by Yahoo! so you’ll get the same quality search results. What’s unique is that they have developed a way to direct money to charity with every search, not just ad clicks as in the past.

The more people who use this site for legitimate searches, the more money will support those in need. If the 900+ people on PMD’s email list perform one per day, they would generate nearly $3,300 to support PMD programs in a year.

So please spread the word about and PMD to your colleagues, friends, and family. Thanks!

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