In honor of Blog Action Day, I’d like to talk about how you can use your online community to help people in a time of crisis. Healthy online communities, big or small, feature people united by some sort of common bond. Most often, it is subject based. But, there are sure to be other things that tie individual members to one another. This grouping of people can be powerful.

After the United States, my country, was attacked on September 11, 2001, I took what I had up on down and I put another page up, sharing my feelings on the event and asking for people to help how they could. has a copy of the page. I posted announcements on my sites and I linked my network bar back to that page.

When the tsunami hit Asia in December of 2004, I posted some similar announcements, such as this one at When Hurricane Katrina hit the southern United States, I did the same.

What impact did we have? How many dollars did we raise? $2? $5? $100? We didn’t keep track and I have no idea. But, that’s not really the point. The point is trying, the point is raising awareness and the point is that everything counts, regardless of how small.

The power of online community can be immense. But, even if you feel like your small community cannot help anyone, remind yourself that everything counts. You never know the impact that you can have.

I’m using examples of major catastrophes here and monetary donations, mainly. But, obviously, that is not the limit. If a well established and liked member who has greatly contributed to your community faces some sort of devastating hard ship, how can you help them? Not necessarily with money, but with ideas and with personal, genuine sentiment and compassion for them and their situation.

Have your door open to listen to people who have ideas. I get pitched charitable efforts by various people. Sometimes I share them, sometimes I don’t. We all have limitations. I know I do and I know I’d like to be much more charitable than I am. Money wise, anyway. I would like to think I am charitable with my time as I make an effort to help others and to share my knowledge.

Online community is, by and large, about relationship and relationships are what drive us to care and to help others. It’s a powerful thing and it can be used for good. In all sorts of ways. Good in helping people, good in giving people enjoyment, good in helping you to fulfill your dreams and, yes, charitable good, as well.