Web site gives online shoppers a chance to donate to charity

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    By Jennifer Mayer

    Purchasing power increases as students at BYU have an opportunity to donate to their local charities while they shop online.

    A national Web site, buyforcharity.com, allows its patrons to donate money to local charities while they shop at their favorite clothing store online, according to Natalie Sheffield, 20, a Provo native, majoring in business management with a marketing emphasis.

    Gap, Barnes and Noble, Best Buy and American Express are just a few companies that are willing to donate money every time a customer makes a purchase on their Web site if they are signed on through BuyForCharity.com, Sheffield said.

    “Students don”t have a lot of money to give,” Sheffield said. “A lot of students are pushing pennies.”

    According to Sheffield, registration does not cost, and students would only take seconds to sign into the Web site before they go shopping.

    “Just make sure you shop on the Internet when you are doing it,” Sheffield said. “Once logged on, you don”t ever have to log on anymore.”

    Sheffield said she decided to promote the Web site for the Timpanogas Food Bank as a service learning project at BYU.

    “The hardest thing is getting the word out,” Sheffield said. “The food bank could get thousands of dollars a month from people that actually shop online.”

    Although the food bank just registered with the Web site for donations, BuyforCharity.com has raised money throughout the United States, Sheffield said.

    “It remains the highest paying source of shopping-related charitable giving on the Internet today, surpassing other online charities in the amount of money passed onto charitable organizations,” Sheffield said.

    Myla Dutton, Provo executive director of the Timpanogos Food Bank, said she is excited about the Web site because it offers opportunities for people with low incomes, like students, to donate.

    “If they do purchases through the Internet, they would be supporting us here, because there would be donations from all the big merchants,” Dutton said. “It is a way for them to give back.”

    Dutton, who has worked with the Marriott School of Business, the School of Social Science, and the Marriage, Family, Home and Development Department at BYU, said it is a great opportunity for students to become involved with the community”s local charities.

    Each of the BYU programs promote service projects as assignments, Dutton said. Sheffield is one of five students working on the current project for the Timpanogas Food Bank.

    “It is a real win-win situation,” Dutton said. “Students serve agencies, and they learn and earn credit.”

    Dutton also said it is easy for students who shop online.

    “Customers win because they have a resource going to their charity,” Dutton said. “The large companies also win because they may receive tax exemptions for participating.”

    Every dollar donated to the Timpanogas Food Bank is equivalent to 17 pounds of food, Dutton said. The food bank includes families from Utah, Wasatch and Summit counties. It is one of several foundations set up by the Community Action Services.

    “It is a very easy way to help a local charity,” Dutton said.

    The fundraising for the Timpanogas Food Bank will go to feeding the poor and needy, Dutton said.

    “Most of the people are two-parent families that are struggling,” Dutton said. “Unemployment is higher.”

    The elderly will also be recipients of donations to the food bank, she said.

    “Elderly people who have high medical costs and prescriptions and high utility bills,” Dutton said. “They are making a choice between eating, utilities or medicine.”

    Project Read and the Rape Recovery Center, as well as other Provo organizations, are also registered on buyforcharity.com.

    The Web site has more than 2,000 recipient causes, including animal shelters, medical research foundations, school marching bands, women”s shelters and missing children advocacy groups.

    According to buyforcharity.com, up to 35 percent of each purchase is given to the charity. Prices are not increased.

    “Donations result in no additional cost to shoppers and benefits the charity of your choice,” Sheffield said.

    Because buyforcharity.com acts as an affiliate for donating money, the company removes fees for administrative, technical, service and infrastructure costs, according to the Web site.

    “It”s a great way to give back to your community,” Sheffield said.

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