In the last few years, non-profit organizations have discovered the internet and web-preneurs have discovered the draw of charity. As charity sites have exploded on the ‘net they have fallen into five basic categories: Charity Homepages, Click-to-Donate, Donation Consolidators, Shop-To-Donate, and Surf-To-Donate sites. This article is intended as an overview of these types of charity sites.
These are sites owned and operated by the charities themselves. Their primary purpose is to disseminate information about the organization itself and its activities. Most provide donation information as well as online donation options.
If your charity/cause of choice has its own site, then I highly recommend you donate directly through the charity’s homepage as this will provide the greatest benefit to the organization.
Definetly the easiest and quickest charity sites to use, click-to-donate sites advertise that you can support worthy causes with just a click at no cost to yourself.
They work by taking you to a Thank You page after you click the donate button that displays several advertisements from the site’s sponsors. The revenue from these sponsors is split between the site itself and the charity or charities supported.
These sites allow you to donate to multiple charities all from one location. The concept here is that you only have to write one check (or have one charge on your credit card) and can still support multiple causes. Think of donation consolidators as the department stores of charity sites (all your giving needs met in one location).
Shop To Donate
Shop To Donate sites are essentially webmalls or collections of affiliate links that donate a portion of their income to charity. These require a bit more effort if your main purpose is donation, but can add ‘wram fuzzies’ to your online shopping experience, or at least hel pa little with the redistribution of wealth. The best shop to donate sites allow you to bookmark the webstores directly so that you don’t need to access the shop-to-donate site each time.
Many Pay-To-Surf sites (if you’re not sure what these are see my article at http://www.philaahzophy.com/2001/03/26/pay-to-surfpay-to-be-advertised-to/ ) will allow you to donate your profits rather than receive a check yourself. These work exactly like other ‘Pay-To’ sites of their type except that once you’ve reached the payment threshold a check is sent to the chosen charity (and the ‘Pay-To’ company gets the tax deduction) rather then you.
I hope you find this overview of the various types of charity web sites useful. For my advice on how to pick a charity site to use/support see my ‘Researching Charity Sites” article.