America Online’s AOL Foundation announced the launch today of Helping.org, a new philanthropy portal that is designed to provide an easy and cost-effective way for Americans to donate money or time to a wide range of charitable organizations.
Calling it the most comprehensive philanthropy portal on the Internet, the AOL Foundation said that the non-profit site connects users to over 620,000 charities and 20,000 volunteer activities, and does so completely cost-free to donors and the recipient charities. The AOL Foundation will support the site and pay all its operating costs.
“In the modern world, the shortest distance between two points today is the Internet,” said AOL Foundation Chairman Jim Kinsey. “Starting today, the shortest distance between charities who need help and those who want to give it is Helping.org. The AOL Foundation built Helping.org because we are committed to turning e-philanthropy from a curiosity into a vital segment of charitable giving.”
Foundation Holds Up Giving End
The AOL Foundation was founded in 1997 and has since issued a number of grants aimed at tackling education and community issues. Among its programs and awards are the Rural Telecommunications Awards, the Digital Divide Grant Initiatives, The Civic Involvement Initiative and the AOL Achievers Award.
The Helping.org site is its most ambitious project to date and could help spawn a new generation of donors and givers in America.
The foundation cited figures that show that less than one percent of charitable donors give over the Internet. Americans contribute some $135 billion (US$) a year to charities. The foundation disclosed that a soon-to-be-released study by AOL/Roper-Starch shows that 30 percent of online users said that they are interested in using the Internet to make charitable donations.
Then there are the volunteers — some 109 million Americans a year. Helping.org will utilize ImpactOnline’s Volunteer Match to match volunteers with groups that need them.
Helping.org will also feature updated information from the Red Cross on humanitarian disasters around the globe, with a special focus on youth services. The site will work with a number of recognized philanthropic organizations, including the National Urban League, the Benton Foundation and America’s Promise. It will also offer data on every charity registered with the IRS.