KickStart.com Jump-Starts Online Funds

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KickStart.com, Denver, will launch a plan this month that allows online consumers to automatically make donations to as many nonprofit organizations as they want by simply calling up their browser, conducting searches or making purchases.


KickStart.com (www.KickStart.com) allows consumers to create a personalized KickStart.com start-page containing art and updated information from the nonprofit chosen by the consumer, as well as ads from participating merchants, search-engine capabilities and links to numerous online retailers. Currently, it has 45 nonprofit organizations and 160 merchants signed on. It also is working with search engine GoTo.com.


"We wanted to create a portal site, not a destination site," said Janice Scott, director of KickStart.com.


Users of the KickStart.com service instantly can set up a start-page, free of charge and choose the nonprofit group or groups they want to donate to. The organization chosen by the user will get its graphic displayed on the page along with a history about the organization and frequently updated information about news and events. Users can choose a number of organizations to donate to, but they must hit the Change KickStart button and change the organization in order to get a new one posted.


"Not every group they choose gets a donation each time they call up the page," Scott said. "It's only the group they pick to be on the first page. And they can change that as frequently as they want."


The program is set up so that consumers and Web users can make donations in one of three ways: every time a user calls up the start-page (1 cent), every search conducted (1.5 cents) and each purchase made (amount determined by the retailer).


Scott estimates that 90 percent of the donations will be raised through page views and searches. The start page also will contain national news, weather, horoscopes and stock information.


"Eventually we are going to be able to provide marketers with the ability to deliver highly targeted ads and announcements to our users," Scott said. "In October we will be giving retailers who are not linked to our site the ability to place ads on the start-pages."


Also on the site will be access to the GoTo.com search engine. After clicking on a choice, the user will be provided with a list and a link to all of the participating retailers in each category.


For now KickStart is concentrating on marketing the program to nonprofit groups.


"Over the next couple of months we are going to be promoting it at a number of fundraising events and nonprofit and technology events," Scott said. "And we are going to be partnering with major nonprofits from 10 different cities that will be giving us access to their lists so that we can send out mail pieces to their donors about the program." n
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