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Fri August 28, 2009
Something Good on the Internet
By Rebecca Feldhaus
Murray, KY – The Murray Calloway County Humane Society, like all non-profits raise funds in many different ways, donations, fundraisers and now... Web clicks? Executive Director Kathy Hodge has been getting almost effort free checks through the search engines Goodsearch and Goodshop.com. The sites are a growing fundraising model for national and local charities and schools. All their supports simply need to do is search the web.
Hodge says Goodsearch has been more than a positive addition to the funding they receive. Most of their fundraisers are larger events that take a good deal of preparation. Having something as easy as Goodsearch makes a big difference.
"So many people's lives are so busy, that they really don't have time to volunteer at an event or foster dogs or cats for us or things like that, but they want to do something to help. So this has really appealed to most everyone, you know, particularly to the people who can't help us in other - other ways."
Powered by Yahoo, Goodsearch is a search engine with over 81 thousand charities and schools who benefit from the web activity of their supporters. By logging on to Goodsearch.com and choosing from the many charities and schools, users contribute approximately a penny per click, or a percentage of their purchase through Goodshop the partner online retail shopping engine.
The two founders of Goodsearch, brother and sister Ken and JJ Ramberg, have backgrounds in financial development and web site management. At the drawing board, the Ramberg's had one simple idea.
"We wanted to figure out a way to incorporate doing good in somebody's every day life, and when we saw how much search engines were making, I think at the time it was something like 6 billion dollars, we thought Here's the way.'"
Goodsearch gives away 50% of its revenue to member charities and schools. The other 50% goes to site support, like updating servers and paying employees.
Because Goodshop donates a percentage of the amount spent, it gives the chosen charity a much higher earning potential. Ramberg says Goodshop is especially helpful around the holiday season, when online shopping is at a high.
Ramberg says the journey from budding search engine to donating machine was one filled with many questions
"You know, we felt like it would work. We felt like people's response would be Why wouldn't I use it?' But we had no idea, and once we launched it just took off, so much faster than we could have ever predicted, and the support we've gotten and the emails we've gotten and the phone calls from supporters and from organizations who are benefiting from the site has just been amazing."
Ramberg says Goodsearch has a personal connection. In 2001, Ramberg's mother died of cancer. Through that experience, Ramberg saw how many organizations were doing good work with the little funding they had. She also saw an opportunity for even better work with more money. The Ramberg's searched for something that would help all worthy causes.
"We want to do something more than help the causes that we care so deeply about, we want to do something that's a real game-changer."
Advertising for Goodsearch comes primarily through word of mouth. President of the parents' association at Clarksville Academy, Debbie McConnell, includes advertisements about Goodsearch in the school's weekly newsletter. Clarksville Academy is one of the highest earning Goodsearch organizations in the area. McConnell says the funds really make a difference. With the annual Goodsearch check Clarksville Academy receives, they've purchased encyclopedias, bookshelves, and also helped to fund the library renovation.
Interested charities and schools simply need to go to Goodsearch.com and fill out a short application. Ramberg says as long as the organization is legitimate, there should be no problem when registering to participate. With hundreds of charities growing each day, Ramberg said it's difficult to gauge which charity is leading the pack in annual earnings.
Calloway County Humane Society boasts one of the highest local earning rates, with $470.35 since the site's inception and a little over 97 dollars this year alone. Though it might not sound like much, every click helps.
"Goodsearch and Goodshop have been a nice addition to the rest of our fundraising plan and I think there's the potential for a great deal of growth there and I think that's always exciting."
Search, click, give... who knew it was that easy?