Helping those in need is only a click away

The Internet is a haven for the budding philathropist. The Web makes it easier to donate and it’s created some unique giving opportunities of its own.

Mighty mouse clicks: In exchange for using GoodSearch.com, the Yahoo!-powered search engine will donate money to the charity of your choice.

Launched last month, GoodSearch was created by Ken Ramberg. He also co-founded college student jobsite Jobtrak, which he and partner David Franey sold to Monster.com in 2000.

Ramberg says he came up with GoodSearch by connecting two seemingly disparate ideas. First, he feared smaller charities were being overlooked in the wake of Hurricane Katrina; and second, he discovered that Web search engines earned $4 billion a year.

That led to GoodSearch. You name a charity, which then earns money based on the number of times that you use the search engine. Ramberg says he gives 50% of the GoodSearch revenues to charities.

Go-to guys for giving: Networkforgood.org allows do-gooders to choose among 1 million charities. The site was launched after 9/11 by the leaders of AOL, Cisco and Yahoo!.

In addition to providing easy donation outlets, it lists nonprofits’ financials and budgets and keeps donors’ histories on record for tax purposes. Since its bow, the network has processed $76 million in donations to some 20,000 charities.

Look before you leap: Punch in your zip code at VolunteerMatch.org and find local nonprofit groups that could use your help.

Among the bank of 35,000 charities are plenty of virtual volunteering opportunities; charities need computer work, too.

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