Service Collects Web 'Spare Change' for Charity

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Change Round-Up Inc., a cause-marketing service for online retailers, began an e-commerce program that brings retailers and charities together to generate donations.

Shoppers have the option to round up their online purchases and donate electronic "spare change" to a charity of their choice.

"One of the reasons that people don't donate is because they don't have enough time," said Dan Quigley, president of Change Round-Up, Troy, NY. "I see this as the future of Internet fundraising because people can donate during their time shopping."

During checkout, consumers are offered a drop-down menu of charities that the retailer supports. Consumers decide how much to round up their total, and the donation is included in their payment.

Change Round-Up deducts 10 percent of the donations received to cover the retailer's administrative costs, credit card fees and operations. By contrast, the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance charges a maximum standard fee of 35 percent.

"We have the ability to help charities raise donations at a low cost and provide an ongoing business model at the same time," Mr. Quigley said.

The service is free to retailers. Those that participate receive no profit from the donations. Change Round-Up encourages online retailers to select four to five charities that align with the causes they support.

"One great example is IslandSurf.com," Mr. Quigley said. "They used our service to provide aid to poverty-stricken areas where surfing is really popular."

Any tax-exempt nonprofit organization is eligible to partner with Change Round-Up. There is no cost to sign up. Charities can do so through the organization's Web site at www.changeroundup.com.

The retailers collect full payment from donors while Change Round-Up compiles donation data and bills each online retailer monthly for the total amount of donations raised on the site. Once collected, Change Round-Up distributes the funds to the appropriate nonprofit organization via check or electronic transfer.

"There is no effort on the side of the nonprofit organization," Mr. Quigley said. "They just cash the check."

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