Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Searching for a Good Cause

How many times do I search the web each day? Several organizations have created web search interfaces that make small contributions for charity every time we use their engines. To date, most of these sites have used Yahoo as their search engine. Yet I recently learned about a newer option, EcoSearch.org, which uses Google. The upside: a much more powerful search engine, and support for organizations including the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Save the Bay. (The downside is that EcoSearch is light on details about how much they contribute per search, how often they make their donations, etc.)

For sheer transparency and accountability (albeit with a Yahoo search engine), I really like iSearch, which is an offshoot of the charitable shopping site, iGive. On iSearch, you choose the charity you want to support, from an extensive list that includes lots of smaller local options. iSearch’s benefits: you can click to see the donations to the charity to-date, your own contributions to the organization — this is the only site I know that allows individuals to track their own contributions — and the date and amount of the last check they set to the organization. And iSearch/iGive mails quarterly for amounts over $25 (other similar sites only mail donations once a year). I’ve included a screenshot above for the group I’m currently supporting, Wisconsin AIDS Network.

Today’s mitzvah: search out EcoSearch or iSearch the next you’re searching the web

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