GoodSearch offers an online option to charitable donations
In 2005, Ken and JJ Ramberg started a way for people to “give without giving.”
After their mother died of cancer, the siblings wanted to find a way to give back to the community.
“Her death was not the thing that inspired this,” JJ says, “Her life did.”
They wanted to create something that was “game-changing in the world of philanthropy,” and did so by launching GoodSearch.
GoodSearch, an online search engine powered by Yahoo, allows Web users to search and donate to a charity at the same time. By choosing a school or charity, each time a person uses the GoodSearch search engine, that nonprofit receives a penny.
So far it has raised $8 million with more than 100,000 schools and charities having benefited. The schools and charities like using GoodSearch as a fundraiser because it is a “simple way to raise money,” says CEO Scott Garell.
The Humane Society of Yuma, Grand Canyon Association, Desert Star Community School and United Way – Pinal County, are a few of the many organizations in Arizona that use GoodSearch as a way to receive donations.
The idea of GoodSearch is to take everyday actions, such as searching the web, shopping and eating, and using them as ways for people to give back to the charity of their choice.
A few years after GoodSearch was started, GoodShop was launched. GoodShop is an online mall with more than 2,500 stores at which to shop. The website provides coupons to shoppers, and 3 to 20 percent of the final cost is given to the charity the shopper choose.
“They (people) are going to shop anyways, why not save money and give back?” Garell adds.
Since the addition of GoodShop, GoodSearch has grown 15 percent yearly, and a new addition to this growth is a way to donate while dining out, according to Garell.
On Nov. 8, GoodSearch came out with its newest venue, GoodDining.
GoodDining has 10,000 restaurants that diners can eat at that will donate up to 6 percent of their check’s price to their charity.
GoodDining is partnered with Rewards Networks, and all customers have to do is register their card on the site, choose their charity, and eat at the participating restaurants.
According to Garell, this is a great way for businesses to donate to a charity they support without costing the business any money.
GoodSearch came out with a toolbar that allows searching without having to go to the GoodSearch website every time. If this toolbar were installed on all of a business’s desktops, workers would raise a penny for the companies’ cause, whenever they searched the Internet.
The toolbar also reminds users that they can use GoodShop to shop, too. It does this by lighting up a GoodSearch button if the user searches for a store that is available on the website.
Businesses can also use GoodDining by taking their clients out to eat at the restaurants on the site, or using it when they travel.
GoodSearch is a daily tool to users, but studies have shown that GoodShop tends to follow the American shopping schedule, with Christmas being the most popular.
Garell said that because of the recession, many might not be able to donate to their usual charity during the holiday season as they usually do. By using GoodShop to do their Christmas shopping, they can save and still give back to their charity.
Ken and JJ had worked in the Internet prior to creating GoodSearch. Ken and his mother founded JOBTRAK, which they sold to Monster.com, and JJ was an employee when Cooking.com started.
Because they knew how much money a search engine could bring in, they wanted to redirect those funds to nonprofits and schools that people care about.
We work with about 100,000 organizations now and have donated $8 million, but as far as we’re concerned, this is just the beginning,” JJ says.
For more information about GoodSearch, visit www.goodsearch.com.