Give to charity just by searching the Web
An Internet search engine aims to make philanthropy as easy as surfing the Web.
By Erika Rasmusson Janes, FSB contributor

NEW YORK (FORTUNE Small Business Magazine) -- Attention, would-be philanthropists: Ken Ramberg knows you're busy. He knows that you mean to write checks to help hurricane victims and you want to raise money for your kid's school. He also knows that those good intentions don't always materialize into cash for worthy causes.

To make charitable giving easier, Ramberg, 41, and his sister, JJ, recently launched GoodSearch.com, an Internet search engine that aims to make philanthropy as easy as surfing the web.

GoodSearch.com is powered by Yahoo! and raises money for charities using a model similar to paid searches on Yahoo or Google: Advertisers pay a fee whenever Internet users click on a given link. Last year search engines generated almost $6 billion through such searches. In the GoodSearch.com version, a sliver of that goes to a nonprofit the computer user designates.

Ramberg estimates that each search sends about one cent to a given charity. That may not seem like much, but if 500 supporters pledge to raise money for, say, a school, and each searches the web five times a day, that comes to $9,125 a year.

GoodSearch is the latest socially minded venture by Ramberg. In 1988 he and his mother, Connie Ramberg, co-founded Jobtrak, a job-listing site and resume database for college students. The company didn't give any of its revenues to charity, but it allowed nonprofits to post their job listings free. In 2000, Ramberg and his mom sold the company to Monster.com for an undisclosed sum.

A year later Ken and JJ lost their mother to cancer, an experience that helped spark the idea for GoodSearch.com. "We dealt with a lot of cancer-research organizations and hospitals and became aware of how desperately they were in need of funding," Ramberg says.

He began looking for ways to combine his passions for the Internet and charity. He got the idea for GoodSearch in 2004 and started hiring programmers soon after. In its first week the company was contacted by some 500 nonprofits; today the GoodSearch.com site lists more than 800,000. Ramberg set the company up as a for-profit, though he takes no salary and donates 50% of annual revenues to charity.

He doesn't doubt that his mom would approve. "She was very proud of what we accomplished at Jobtrak," he says. "And I think she'd be even more proud of what we're doing now."

How UPS, Starbucks, Disney do good. See companies that are most admired for social reponsibility.

Click here to read about the for-profit Web site that anyone can use to raise money. Top of page

To write a note to the editor about this article, click here.

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Follow the news that matters to you. Create your own alert to be notified on topics you're interested in.

Or, visit Popular Alerts for suggestions.
Manage alerts | What is this?

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.