Fundraising for Small Groups Newsletter

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December 16, 2018

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Fundraising with Search Engines

by Deane Brengle

Up to now I've been recommending ways for your members to redirect where they spend their everyday discretionary dollars in order to contribute to your group. This has been part of my continuing series about adding "low impact" fundraisers to ensure you capitalize on the newest trends in fundraising.

Now I'm recommending a new way to raise money for your nonprofit without anyone spending any money. It's an offshoot of our internet revolution and it is called "fundraising with search engines".

To the internet savvy, the search engine is one of the most useful and frequently used tools on the web. Millions of people use them every day to find almost anything they want on the internet.

Now your nonprofit can benefit from this search craze.

Search engines all offer their services for free and make their money by offering ads they hope their visitors will click on. It's a billion dollar industry that has made household names of companies like Google and Yahoo.

GoodSearch, in partnership with Yahoo, has found a way to share that advertising revenue with nonprofits. By directing your members and supports to use GoodSearch, every time they conduct a simple web search they will generate a donation to your nonprofit.

How It Works

Launched in 2005, GoodSearch is powered by Yahoo's search engine and gives the exact same results as a regular Yahoo search. The only difference (besides a much cleaner page) is that GoodSearch asks it's users to enter the name of the charity they would like their search to benefit. That's where you make your money.

Now don't think you're going to get rich fast! GoodSearch donates 50% of its revenue to its registered nonprofits. Currently that equates to about a penny a search. Doesn't seem like much does it? But those pennies can add up fast. Here's a breakdown for different size groups and how much they could earn a year:

  • A small group with 100 members/supporters searching 2 times a day would earn $730/year.

  • A medium group with 1,000 members/supporters searching 2 times a day would earn $7,300/year.

  • A large group with 10,000 members/supporters searching 2 times a day would earn $73,000/year.

Who Can Participate?

To participate in the GoodSearch program, your organization must be a nonprofit. This includes schools, charities, hospitals and clinics, volunteer services, political organizations, fraternal organizations, professional associations, religious organizations, governmental agencies, etc. They are currently serving U.S. based nonprofits but are working on expanding in the future.

After you submit your nonprofit information to GoodSearch it usually takes just a couple of days for them to verify and add your group to their database. They will send you an email when you're ready to go.

GoodSearch has over 29,000 nonprofits currently using its services.

How to Make GoodSearch Successful for Your Group

GoodSearch sends one check a year, each December, to its registered organizations that generate at least $20 in the previous 12 months ending September 30. If your group doesn't generate the minimum amount it doesn't carry over to the next year.

Like any fundraiser, the success you achieve with GoodSearch will be directly related to how many of your members and supporters use it. So here are some tips to ensure that your group is successful with GoodSearch:

  1. Add GoodSearch to your group's website. Add a banner (lots to choose from on their site) to your web pages. This works best if you keep it above the fold (the part of your web page users see without having to scroll). Even more effective would be to also add a web page to your site explaining to your members and supporters how GoodSearch works and why they should use it.

  2. Add GoodSearch to your email signature. You've got an email signature right? Just add a quick note with a link in your email signature. That way, every time you send an email, your recipient will be reminded to use GoodSearch to benefit your group.

  3. Make GoodSearch your home page. Make GoodSearch your homepage and encourage others to do so too. Every time you start your web browser GoodSearch will load automatically and will be the first site you see. Include instructions on how to do this on your website.

  4. Tell a friend. Send email messages to your members, supporters, and your friends. Encourage them to use GoodSearch and remind them that every time they search, your group will receive a donation. You can do this yourself or GoodSearch has a page on their site where you can send messages.

  5. Mention GoodSearch in your newsletter. Announce GoodSearch to your members and supports with an article in your newsletter. Then follow it up with a note or advertisement in each of your newsletters to remind everyone how important it is to use GoodSearch.

  6. Mention GoodSearch in your message boards & blogs. A link to GoodSearch along with a mention of how your group is progressing with search donations will encourage your members to use GoodSearch.

  7. Make sure your charity is pre-chosen. You can ensure your group receives credit for each search by your members and supporters by encouraging them to let their computers use cookies and by customizing the links you generate to pre-populate with your groups name (yeah, I know that's techno babble, but your web programmer will know how to do it).

Like any habit, good or bad, search engine habits are hard to change. To successfully convert your members and supporters to using GoodSearch you will have to keep the message and benefits in front of them at all times.

While this fundraiser won't make you rich, it will add to your incremental income. It will also give your members and supporters a better sense of community.

See how others incorporate GoodSearch into their nonprofit message and websites:

Visit GoodSearch here:


About the Author:

Deane Brengle is the editor of several free online publications that cover fundraising for small nonprofit groups. You can visit these publications and read more about fundraising in articles by him and other experts in the field at The Fund$Raiser Cyberzine, The Fundraising for Small Groups Newsletter, and Fundraising Booklets.

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