Internet searches make cents for charities

How many Internet searches do you make over the course of a day? While some of us increasingly rely on search engines for the job, there are a myriad of personal reasons to surf the Web whether it’s to find a new recipe, shop for the latest handbag, get directions for a restaurant or check out the latest movie reviews.

Imagine now that with each search you could earn money for the charity, non-profit or school of your choice? If, with each click, a portion of the $8 billion annual Internet advertising revenue, could help fund good works.

A number of search companies allow you to do just that – and it won’t cost you a cent.

Consider developed by Internet entrepreneurs and brother and sister team Ken and JJ Ramberg. According to the company, it donates 50 per cent of its revenue – or about a penny per search – to the charitable organization designated by a user., which is powered by Yahoo!, generates revenue using a model similar to paid searches on Google or other search engines: Advertisers pay a fee whenever a user clicks on a given link. GoodSearch then takes a portion of that revenue and donates it to charity.

And while a penny a search may not seem like much, it adds up quickly: for example, if just 500 people with the same charity search four times a day for a year, the charity earns $7,300.

“We know there are a lot of people who want to do good but may not have the time or the money to help out,” says Ken Ramberg, the company’s co-founder.

GoodSearch makes it as easy as possible. We’ve taken something people do every day — searching the Internet — and have turned it into doing good.” (View a media report on GoodSearch.)

Doing good works, one click at a time
In addition to GoodSearch, there are a number of socially-minded search engines that donate a share of their ad revenues to various charitable organizations. Here are a few:

EveryClick. This UK-based search engine allocates 50 per cent of its gross revenue to charity each month. Users can select from more than 170,000 charities, and to date, the company has raised more than £369,127. (A user doesn’t need to support any charity in particular, but can select ‘All Supported Charities’ – in this case, money raised will be apportioned across all the listed charities.) The company also offers a shopping search, where you can shop from e-tailers such as Amazon and eBay and at the same time raise money for charity. (eBay, for example, will donate 12.5 per cent of its commission to charity.)

MagicTaxi. Another UK-based charitable search engine, MagicTaxi offers dedicated shopping, research and travel searches. Each day a different charity is featured on the home page, and that charity receives 50 per cent of the gross revenue the company receives from its advertising partners. Users also have the option of supporting just one charitable organization.

SearchKindly. Empowered by Google, SearchKindly is an Illinois-based Not-for-Profit corporation. Unlike the other sites mentioned, SearchKindly donates 100 per cent of its advertising revenue to charity.

GoodTree. This Web portal offers a personal homepage and social networking so you can connect with people who support the same causes you do. According to its website, the company donates 12. 5 per cent of its search revenues to charities.

Clicks4Cancer. This search engine donates 70 per cent of its revenue to various charitable cancer foundations and organizations.

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