Charity on the Web

By: Val Thompson Email
By: Val Thompson Email

One website allows you to donate to your favorite charity just by searching the web, and several local organizations are taking advantage of the opportunity.

One such organization is the Southeast Llama Rescue. The llamas roam freely on 20 acres of land in picturesque Page County, but some of them remember a much different life before they were saved by Nancy Sottosanti, the Virginia coordinator for S.L.R.

"I've raised llamas since 1988," said Sottosanti. "I got involved with some local rescues, where there were like eight or nine that needed homes. It was 99 degrees. They hadn't been sheared and we went and brought those in."

S.L.R. is a non-profit organization that has saved hundreds of llamas from neglect or abandonment. The bills to keep the llamas going can quickly add up.

"This past year has been a very challenging year," said Sottosanti. "We ran into a lot of parasite problems at our main farm, and we've had ten or 12 llamas that had to go to the University of Tennessee at $1,200 a pop."

Several local organizations, like Southeast Llama Rescue, are turning to the Internet to help pay the bills. One site they are turning to is called GoodSearch, which donates a penny for every web search conducted to the charity you choose.

"We all have something that we care about," said GoodSearch co-founder J.J. Ramberg. "For some of us. it's animals. Other people, it's finding a cure for cancer. Other people, it's the environment. What we don't all have is extra time and money."

More than 10,000 searches have been dedicated to Southeast Llama Rescue this year, which means GoodSearch will send the organization a check for more than $100.

There are 62 other organizations in our part of the Valley to which you can dedicate your searches.

Sue Britt, leader of the booster club at Fort Defiance High School, was looking for a new way to bring in money for student award parties. So she signed up for GoodSearch and made an extra effort to promote the site.

"I printed off the flier," said Britt. "I put one in every teacher's box, along with some cookies."

Now Fort Defiance gets more support from GoodSearch than any other high school in the area.

Another place that is benefiting is Pleasant View in Rockingham County, which helps adults with mental disabilities. Nearly 6,000 GoodSearches have gone to Pleasant View so far this year.

"It's a matter of promoting it," said Rosa Bare, of Pleasant View. "We have about 160 staff. So if every one of those staff makes GoodSearch their engine, of course, you're going to have more success with that."

Along with these benefits, using the web is a welcome option because the fundraising market is already saturated with people asking for money.

"It's very challenging," said Bare. "We have so much competition. There are so many worthy causes out there and we are just one of them."

GoodSearch is adding more than 100 new organizations every day. So helping your favorite cause, whether it's feeding llamas, celebrating good grades, or giving hope and a home to those in need, could be just a click away. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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