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U.S./world – Online philanthropy – Delivering a market

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By Todd Cohen

Using online technology to boost charitable giving, volunteering and advocacy, and help charities do a better job, is the focus of Network for Good, a new Web site launched by a nonprofit partnership spearheaded by three giant tech firms.

The site replaces helping.org, a philanthropy site launched two years ago by the AOL Time Warner Foundation that it says has generated $20 million in contributions and helped connect 175,000 volunteers to U.S. nonprofits.

The new site, operated by a new nonprofit, is a partnership that includes AOL and its foundation, Cisco Systems and its foundation, and Yahoo!, along with 20 nonprofits and associates.

The new site aims to boost philanthropy by making it easy for visitors to find out about and support charities, and by helping charities build the Web into their operations, including fundraising, recruitment and advocacy.

By helping individuals and charities find information and one another, the site aims to use the Web to deliver a bigger market to philanthropy.

The site, for example, lets visitors find out about and make donations to nearly 850,000 charities listed in the GuideStar database.

One hundred percent of donations made online by credit card go to charities, with Network for Good subsidizing all transaction and credit-card costs.

The site includes information about charities ranging program descriptions and names of board directors to financial data and ratios of administrative costs to programs.

The site also lets charities recruit volunteers through a database, provided by VolunteerMarch, that features tens of thousands of volunteer opportunities.

It also lets individuals speak out online, helping them find and communicate with elected officials or news media representatives, and providing information about becoming an online activist.

And it provides resources for charities on topics ranging from fundraising and volunteerism to advocacy and technology. 

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