Riverside, California (NAPSI) - You may not realize it, but chances are, you are a philanthropist. If you hold bake sales for your children’s school, volunteer to clean up the local watershed, run races for health research or support your place of worship, you fit the definition.

Philanthropy is about more than merely writing big checks. Today, charitable organizations raise thousands of dollars from a collection of individuals who make microdonations.

In fact, charitable giving from individuals, corporations and foundations in the United States accounts for more than $300 billion each year, according to the report “Giving USA” spearheaded by the Giving USA Foundation and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that online donations to American nonprofits grew 14 percent from 2011-2012, reaching $2.1 billion donated online.

Thanks to technology playing a critical role in this democratization of philanthropy, it’s easier than ever to get involved, learn about critical social issues and give to causes you care about.

Now, nonprofits are moving to online giving platforms that let people engage with causes they care about and donate easily and conveniently. Online donation platforms such as Network for Good, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Crowdrise, Kiva, GlobalGiving and Razoo have made giving more seamless and transparent. Online giving contests and Giving Days are also an increasingly common way for places to increase donations to nonprofits.

Much of the work at the Case Foundation has focused on a citizen-centered approach to philanthropy: demonstrating the tremendous effect of many small gifts through time, advocacy and money. Its investments in the online giving platforms MissionFish (now PayPal Giving Fund), Causes and Network for Good have made instrumental strides for the organizations they fund. Today, these three platforms have represented over $1 billion in individual giving.

Whenever you think about your personal giving throughout the year, you may care to remember that small donations, when taken together, can do extraordinary things.

You can learn more about good giving and how you can make a difference at http://bit.ly/GoodGivingCF.

• Ms. Case is CEO of the Case Foundation. Since its inception, the Case Foundation has donated more than $100 million to non-profits and issues solving and supporting complex social challenges.