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Fundraising Through
Internet Searching


Strapped schools that seek new ways to supplement their income may not expect something for nothing, but it is possible -- nearly. There is a very uncomplicated way for schools and other nonprofit organizations to boost their bottom lines, simply by changing the online searching habits of students, parents, and staff.

"GoodSearch is an easy option for Internet searching that is beneficial to the school, and talk about an easy fund-raiser!" exclaims Jean Ferguson, principal of Amos P. Godby High School in Tallahassee, Florida.

A fellow administrator discovered the GoodSearch search engine (powered by Yahoo) while surfing the Internet and proposed that the school register as a participating nonprofit. Users of this search engine designate a school or other participating organization to "search for," and GoodSearch donates to that group for every search those users make. In just one year, Godby High School has received just under $800, which has been used for teacher appreciation activities and hospitality.

Join GoodSearch

To enroll your school or other nonprofit organization in GoodSearch, see the site's Add a Charity page. Be sure that your organization is not already enrolled by searching the database. Next, provide the name, address, employer ID number, and other required information. GoodSearch will verify the information and add your school to its participating organizations within a few days. You will be notified via email when your school is approved. Once your school has been added to the GoodSearch charities, spread the word among members of the school community so that they can designate the school and start earning cash for it through simple searching.

Ferguson appreciates that there are no restrictions about the use of the funds and that the service requires so little effort on the part of the school. GoodSearch is used on all of the computers at Godby High School, and teachers, students, parents have been asked to use it at home. The search engine is advertised on the school's Web site and has been shared through its listserv for parents.

"I even have GoodSearch saved on my home computer," stated Ferguson. "Raising money through GoodSearch is an example of how our school's fundraising efforts are entering the digital age.

It is about time we caught up with the students," she added.


GoodSearch, which is powered by Yahoo, operates like other search engines and returns results that users say are just as effective. There is no sacrifice in speed or quality of searches, and GoodSearch offers an optional safe search filter which sifts out adult Web search results.

"The only difference is that every time you do a search, GoodSearch will donate a penny to your school," explains JJ Ramberg, an MSNBC anchor who founded the site with her brother, Ken. "This is an ideal fundraiser in a school setting as students, faculty, and parents already use search engines, so GoodSearch offers them a way to turn something they are already doing into a way to support the school."

GoodSearch is also an ideal fundraiser for schools because it does not require that the students, faculty, or parents buy or sell anything. Instead, when just 500 people search four times a day and designate the same school, their activity will generate about $7,300 for that school over the course of a year.

"There are now more than 64,000 schools and nonprofits utilizing the GoodSearch search engine," Ramberg told Education World. "As many of our users say, Why wouldn't I use it?! GoodSearch has also been featured in the popular press by organizations such as O, The Oprah Magazine, ABC News, CNN and The New York Times."

Launched in 2005, GoodSearch is a free service that has mailed thousands of checks to nonprofits and schools across the country. It recently unveiled, a related online shopping mall that donates a percentage of each purchase to the user's designated nonprofit or school. With more than 700 top retailers participating -- from Wal-Mart to, eBay, and Target -- online shoppers have little reason not to help their schools and other organizations through their purchases. No user registration is required, so school supporters do not need to provide personal information or remember a password.

"Users simply go to, designate their school, click through to the store of their choice, and shop as they normally would," Ramberg added. "The consumer pays nothing extra, but a percentage of each purchase will go to the school."

Article by Cara Bafile
Education World®
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