Online Charitable Giving Takes Hold

The holiday shopping season has always been associated with the ringing of the bell of the Salvation Army officer standing in front of the mall encouraging children and their parents to drop in whatever they could to help those in need. Now, launched to coincide with the holiday season, the American Express Company has created a new Internet portal - the American Express Donation Site - bringing the power of the Internet to assist charitable givers.

The site connects users to a comprehensive database of over 800,000 charities, and a search engine allows users to narrow their search by name, keyword, location, category or income range. Search results provide further information to potential givers on the organization's finances, mission statement and Web site.

A click of a button will start the process of giving online to your favorite charity. Donors have the option of anonymity or full identification, can assign the funds to a certain program, and can give a gift in someone else's name.

"Anything that makes it easier for the public to make a donation is critical to the nonprofit community," said Bill Shore, founder and executive director of Share Our Strength, an organization devoted to finding hunger. "Online donations are incredibly valuable to nonprofit organizations because they significantly reduce the need for costly fundraising programs and enable charities to reach new audiences through the Internet. The end result is being able to help many more people in need."

Visit the American Express Donation Site.

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