Have you heard of ‘charity search engines’? These are search engines, like SearchKindly.org that give as good results as Google, but raise money for charity every time you use them. Sounds too good to be true, right?
Some of the richest companies around today are search engines (Google, Yahoo! for example), but they are free to use. How do they make money? Mostly through advertising.
The basic premise of all charity search engines is that the searches still generate advertising dollars, but some or all of that money goes to charity. Which means you can support charities without lifting a finger (well, just about.)
Over the last 9 months or so, I’ve played around with about 5, and settled in at Search Kindly over 4 months ago. Why have I picked this one? What do I like and dislike about it? The rest of this article aims to answer those questions.
- It’s helpful – The site has been running for less than a year, and has already raised over $3800 dollars for some awesome causes. Last month $532.45 was raised for SafeHouse.
- It’s useful - The search is powered by Google, which means you get the same great results as always.
- It’s easy – Money is raised every time the page loads. You can help by simply setting it as your homepage – and still have a search engine ready each time you open a browser (as well as hiding on the ‘Home’ button). Also, no setup required at all.
- It’s non-profit – One of the only not-for-profit charity search engines around, it donates 100% of revenue to charity. Even site hosting is paid by the developper, Syed.
- It’s fun – The monthly total and goal are displayed at the center of the front page. You’ll be surprised at how fun it is watching it grow.
- It’s communal - The front page features a ‘comment wall’, and anyone can submit a comment – to which the developper will reply personally, below it. Suggestions for ideas, new charities, and general comments are all encouraged.
- It’s diplomatic – over each month, users can vote (from the front page) on which charity will recieve the following month’s donations. You can vote every 8 hours.
- It’s legitimate - most well known charity search engines are, and Search Kindly posts proof of giving here as they get it.
- It’s growing – and it wants your feedback!
- It’s measly – at the moment, every time the page loads, 1/3 of a cent is raised. While it’s not much, it adds up and should improve as better advertising deals are negotiated.
- Ads - obviously the money must come from somewhere. Unfortunately, by trying to increase the amount raised (see above), there are multiple ads. Nevertheless, it’s bearable and the developpers are working hard to strike a balance between clutter and earning.
- It’s cluttered – As you’ve no doubt gathered, they’ve managed to pack a load of stuff on the front page. For the first time user, it’s scary! Once you are familiar with it, its great having it all in one place. Again, the site is still developping and I sense a sort of makeover in the pipeline.
- It can be slow – partly due to the ads, and partly due to the clutter, the site is not as quick to load as Google. You didn’t think it would be completely catch-free, did you?
- It’s not customisable – at this stage, people who want to be able to check the weather on the moon from their homepage will be disappointed: no feed aggregators, widgets, or emails. (News headlines have been popping up recently though.)
Total: 8/10 Crazy Aussies. with room for, and promise of, improvement
Charity is never cost-free (but almost always rewarding). Using sites like these are great ways to (relatively painlessly) make a difference, but they should never replace or interfere with macro-scale projects or donations.
If you didn’t actually read any of the article, hear this: I can’t think of any good reason not to set your homepage to SearchKindly.org. (unless you absolutely must know the weather on the moon from your homepage)
If you’ve not used it before, have a look and I’d love to hear your impressions. If you have, do you agree? Would you add anything to my review?