Searching and Shopping for Good
More than 81,000 nonprofits and counting have partnered with the online shopping mall GoodShop.com and Yahoo-powered search engine GoodSearch.com to enable their supporters to generate donations by shopping online or searching the Internet.
GoodShop.com allows visitors to search more than 1,000 top online retailers including Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Apple Store, Sephora, Macy's, 1-800-Flowers and Expedia with up to 30 percent of the purchase price going to their favorite causes. Every search conducted on GoodSearch.com generates approximately one penny for the user's favorite charity. Both services are free.
If a penny a search sounds like just a drop in the bucket, consider that the ASPCA has raised nearly $30,000 to date thanks to the program. And it's not alone. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has raised more than $11,500.
Co-founder JJ Ramberg, whose day job includes hosting MSNBC's small-business show "Your Business," says she started the program with her brother Ken, both of whom have been involved in philanthropy for much of their lives.
"Giving back to the community has always been really important to us," she says.
To begin searching and/or shopping for a cause, visit GoodSearch.com, download the toolbar to your browser, and click the button in the toolbar that reads "Click to Choose Charity" and type in the name of the charity you'd like to support. You can even keep tabs on the amount raised via the sites for your cause of choice. Once a person is signed up for GoodSearch, she automatically is signed up for GoodShop and can shop by clicking on the "GoodShop" button on the GoodSearch toolbar. Checks for the total amount raised for an organization are cut once a year.
"The whole point of this is that it's something you do every day," Ramberg says. "We search the Web so many times a day. You're giving up nothing on the experience front, but you're helping your favorite cause every time you search the Internet."
Nonprofits interested in signing up can go to GoodSearch.com and click on the button that says "Add a New Charity or School" at the bottom of the page. Any registered nonprofit or school is eligible. Ramberg recommends organizations interested in using the service sign up and promote their involvement to get as many people as possible to download the toolbar.
"You'll get a percentage of all of those purchases without ever having to ask your supporters to write a check to you or even think about it, because it's automatic," Ramberg says. "It's a really easy way, particularly in this economy, to allow your supporters to continue to support you every single day. We've also heard from nonprofits who we've worked with that what's important to them is that their supporters know that they're helping them every day and that translates into greater loyalty, greater volunteerism and then greater donation checks as well."