Searching for fund-raising ideas? GoodSearch is just a click away
By Tony Staley
Who's using GoodSearch?
Numerous Catholic groups in the Green Bay Diocese are participating in GoodSearch and GoodShop. Among them are:
Catholic Central Elementary School, Appleton.
Holy Family School, Green Bay.
Notre Dame Academy, Green Bay.
Our Lady of Lourdes School, De Pere.
Prince of Peace - Holy Martyrs School, Green Bay.
Relevant Radio, Green Bay.
Resurrection Parish and School, Allouez.
Roncalli High School, Manitowoc.
Sacred Heart School, Shawano.
St. Gabriel School, Neenah.
St. John Nepomucene School, Little Chute.
St. Margaret Mary School, Neenah.
St. Mark Parish and School, Redgranite.
St. Matthew Parish and School, Allouez.
St. Nicholas School, Freedom.
St. Peter the Fisherman Parish and School, Two Rivers.
St. Pius X School, Appleton.
For more information on GoodSearch and GoodShop, including how charities can sign up and how to use GoodSearch to benefit your favorite nonprofit, go to www.goodsearch.com.
Tips for increasing program use
Here are some tips provided by GoodSearch and representatives from some area GoodSearch participants to increase use:
E-mail parishioners, parents, friends, family and supporters about it.
Add a GoodSearch logo to your Web site.
Download the GoodSearch toolbar (available for Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers).
Add a GoodSearch footer to your e-mails.
Blog about GoodSearch.
Make GoodSearch the homepage on your personal computer and all computers in your parish or school.
Put out a flyer about your organization's use of GoodSearch; post it in school, church and other locations and send it as part of regular mailings to parishioners and parents.
Put announcements in the parish bulletin, parish newsletter and all mailings.
-- Tony Staley
GREEN BAY -- In the Internet era, searches have become almost like breathing - something we do often without much thought.
For some enterprising people, that is no longer the case. They have found a way to earn money for their parish, school or other charity by using a certain search engine.
That search engine is GoodSearch, www.goodsearch.com. It is the idea of two tech-savvy brothers, Ken and J.J. Ramberg, who started it as a tribute to their mother after she died of cancer.
Ken, the founder of JOBTRAK, now a division of Monster.com, and J.J., an MSNBC anchor and former marketing director at Cooking.com, wanted charities to receive some of the $6-8 billion search engines make each year.
GoodSearch was born in 2005 after the Rambergs worked out a deal with Yahoo to use its search engine technology.
They give half the money - about a penny for each ad site a user clicks on - to participating nonprofits, based on how much revenue users generate. This fall, GoodSearch launched a companion Internet shopping service, GoodShop, which returns approximately three percent of sales to nonprofits registered with GoodSearch.
Checks are sent annually to nonprofits that earn at least $20. Earnings under that are divided proportionately among those who made $20 or more.
Since its founding, word of mouth and stories in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, ABC News, and other media outlets, have led nearly 50,000 nonprofits to sign
Among them are at least 20 Catholic groups - mainly schools and parishes - operating in the Green Bay Diocese. So far, no one is getting rich, hardly surprising since they've been registered with GoodSearch only a few weeks to a few months.
The biggest earner by far - $210 by late November - is the Sinsinawa Dominicans. Others had raised anywhere from nothing to more than $55 at St. John Nepomucene School in Little Chute.
Nationally, GoodSearch's Web site reports that the ASPCA has earned $7,700. Other big national earners include the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation ($5,400), Elephant Sanctuary ($5,000) and Save Darfur ($4,300).
GoodSearch estimates, based on two searches a day, that a nonprofit with 100 users would earn $730 a year; compared to $7,300 for one with 1,000 users or $73,000 for one with 10,000
Because nonprofits earn money only when the ad-supported links are clicked, GoodSearch's Web site warns that it has built-in safeguards to keep people from artificially running up totals. Anyone trying that would be barred from the site and the charity could be de-listed.
One feature on the site allows users to see, in real time, the number of searches and amount raised by their charity.
Tricia Buxton, communications director with the Sinsinawa Dominicans, said they learned about GoodSearch through one of their sisters. Their research convinced them it would be a good way to help the congregation.
After signing up, they notified their sisters and associates by e-mail; ran a story in their donor magazine, sent to 19,000 people; asked the sisters to tell family and friends; and made GoodSearch the home page for all computers in the mother house, Buxton said.
"Our hope is that more and more people will find out about it and use it to benefit our sisters in retirement and ministry," Buxton said. "With fewer and fewer sisters in ministry, we need to look for different ways to raise money to support the congregation."
At Notre Dame Academy in Green Bay, Gina Fredrick, director of technology, said she "signed up the school and hoped it would catch on" after learning about GoodSearch from a co-worker.
Fredrick e-mailed all employees and students, asking them to use GoodSearch, made it the default search engine on school computers and sent a letter to parents telling them how their searches could earn money for the school.
"I've heard from a couple students that they like it and they get the same search results as from Google or Yahoo," Fredrick said. "I think it's a great way for a nonprofit to earn some extra money doing what people do every day."
As of late November, Notre Dame had raised nearly $50 through searches and GoodShop. Fredrick hopes to get parents to use GoodSearch at home so the school can buy the resources it needs.
Despite minimal promotion (one note sent home to parents), St. John Nepomucene School in Little Chute had raised nearly $60 through searches and shopping since February when Liz Pifinger, school librarian, learned about it.
Mary Ann Welch, assistant to the principal, attributed the success in Little Chute to great family support. She said parents are both highly supportive and computer literate, as are the students because of an excellent computer lab.
Both Penelope Dart, business manager at St. Matthew Parish and School in Allouez, and Rosemary Perrino, principal of St. Nicholas School in Freedom, compared GoodSearch to Scrip - a convenient and easy way for parishioners to raise money for their schools that took getting used to.
"It's similar to Scrip in that if you walk into ShopKo and use Scrip it's a benefit to the school because it pays a percentage back to the school," said Perrino, who called it another funding source for nonprofits.
"People use search engines 10-15 times a day. Students use them. It's untapped and a great way to make money," said Perrino, who made it the search engine on school computers. "It's really protected so names won't go to advertisers. We're very happy with it so far and hopefully we'll get more."
St. Nicholas picked GoodSearch at the suggestion of a parent, she said, and by the end of November the school had made more than $21. She has run a notice on it in the school newsletter and plans to push it more after the holidays.
St. Matthew has earned more than $30 since signing up with GoodSearch in September at the suggestion of the school board. "It's new. We're working at it," Dart said. "We haven't made it a habit yet. We include information on it when we sent a statement to parishioners this month. We made it the home page on school computers and we notified parents." But like Scrip, it will take getting used to, she said.
If GoodSearch becomes as natural as breathing, they all agreed, the result will effortlessly breathe new revenue into schools and parishes for things they can't now afford.