Online Websites Aid Non-Profits

By: Steve Nicoles, Reporter

IOWA CITY - The Monday after thanksgiving has recently been dubbed "Cyber-Monday." If you are one of the millions of Americans shopping online, you might want to know that some web sites give money to charity when you make a couple of clicks of the mouse. One recently expanded from a search engine to an on-line mall to help non-profit organizations bring in extra cash.

Volunteers at the Johnson County Crisis Center are preparing bags of groceries for the community. This group knows how to stretch a few dollars. Director Ross Wilburn said, "For $18-$20 we can get a grocery sack for a household of three."

For non-profits like the crisis center, coming up with the money can be harder than making it work for them. But websites like www.goodsearch.com and www.goodshop.com can help. Good search is a search engine like Yahoo or Google. Anytime you use it a penny goes to the charity of your choice. Co-founder of good search JJ Ramberg said, "If 500 people search four times a day, that would raise about $7,300 for an organization."

Iowa City charities are not seeing anywhere near that kind of coin. Three groups are on good search: the crisis center, the Ronald McDonald House and the Public Library Friends Foundation. Combined they have earned less than $100. The library has not even topped $4 in a year. It is not enough for a new edition, but every penny counts. Patty McCarthy is with the library foundation. She said, "It's sort of a no-brainer. You don't lose anything by signing up. And I think we are all interested in helping charitable organizations as much as we can."

Ramberg says it is up to each organization to promote itself on good search. Then more people will use it and more money will come to organization as well as good search.

Good search recently added www.goodshop.com. It is an online mall. Visit mainstream stores like Barnes and Noble and more money trickles into the pockets of your favorite organization. There is a lot of available money out there. A lot of people are online shopping this time of year. The National Retail Foundation says more than 70 million Americans shop online on "Cyber Monday."

Email Steve Nicoles at Steve.Nicoles@kcrg.com
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