Categorized | Social Entrepreneur

Social Entrepreneur JJ Ramberg , GoodSearch.com and making an incredibly large impact.

JJ Ramberg

Cancer patients. The rainforest. Homeless pets. Underfunded schools. Refugees. This is a part of a list JJ Ramberg was thinking about when she and her brother came up with the idea for their socially responsible company GoodSearch.com. As she continued thinking, her list became more personal. Her mother had passed away from cancer in 2001; her nephew has a life threatening allergy to peanuts; her best friend started a fellowship program helping economically disadvantaged students get into good high schools. Faced with the reality of so much need, JJ felt compelled to figure out a sustainable way to raise funds and awareness for worthy causes. She wanted to revolutionize the way people support their favorite causes and create a way to incorporate “doing good” into every day life. The idea she and her brother came up with was so simple, yet so powerful.

In 2005, JJ launched GoodSearch.com. GoodSearch is an incredibly simple concept which is having an incredibly large impact. It is a Yahoo! powered search engine which donates about a penny per search to the charity or school of the user’s choice. You use it exactly as you would any other search engine, but each time you conduct a search, about a penny goes to your designated cause. There are 91,000+ organizations listed on GoodSearch including the ASPCA which has earned over $34,000, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation which has earned more than $14,000, and the National Inclusion Project which has also earned more than $14,000 among thousands of others. The pennies add up quickly. Just 500 people searching four times a day will raise around $7,300 without the supporters or the organization spending a dime!

The company took off immediately. Within months word was spreading like wildfire via emails and blogs with people asking their friends to “GoodSearch” on behalf of their favorite cause. JJ remembers a moment in 2006 when she was wearing a GoodSearch t-shirt at a sporting event and a total stranger came passing by said to her “Hey, I GoodSearch for my high school!” She knew that GoodSearch had clearly filled a need and that there was more to be done.

In 2007, GoodSearch launched its sister site GoodShop.com. It is an online shopping mall which works with more than 1,500 stores (from Amazon to Zazzle) which donates up to 30% of every purchase to the charity or school of the user’s choice. There are more than 1,500 stores participating including Amazon, Sephora, Best Buy, Williams Sonoma and others. The consumer pays nothing extra, but each purchase benefits their favorite cause! And, GoodShop works with the retailers to provide thousands of free shipping deals and money saving coupons so not only are the users helping a good cause, but they are saving money while doing so! Even more exciting, users can download the GoodSearch toolbar which ensures that every purchase counts towards a donation even if the user forgets to click through from GoodShop first!

Internet users have found GoodSearch and GoodShop to be a compelling idea. Leslie Philips, a veterinarian in Tennessee, uses GoodSearch and GoodShop to support The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee – the nation’s largest natural habitat refuge developed specifically for endangered African and Asian elephants. “Why wouldn’t I use it? It makes me feel good knowing that when I’m shopping for gifts online, some of that money is going to help endangered species!”

As the recession took hold of the United States over the past two years, the need for GoodSearch and GoodShop rose. Unfortunately as the economy teetered, the need for the services of so many nonprofits increased which their funding decreased. GoodSearch and GoodShop were able to help fill the funding gap for so many of these causes as they provided a way for their supporters to help.

GoodSearch and GoodShop are revolutionizing online philanthropy so that no one is denied the opportunity to support the causes most important to them. The response to this idea has truly been overwhelming – more than 100 new nonprofits and schools register daily and GoodSearch and GoodShop are helping make a difference in communities across the country. They are alleviating the strain in resources and making it possible for everyone, regardless of how much time or money they have, to give back.

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