Online Mall Extends Mother’s Day Dollars to the Needy

The e-commerce world is buzzing this week with the tremendous opportunity Mother’s Day brings for retailers to make an extra online buck. But while many online sellers are adding incentives for buyers to visit their sites first, iGive.com offers a more benevolent approach — get a gift for mom and support charitable organizations in one click of the mouse.

Shopping sites of every type are taking advantage of the Mother’s Day buying spree. America Online, one of the largest online shopping portals, reports Mother’s Day purchases are up 340 percent from last year, and customers are shopping “around the clock.” To grab some of this temporary market, another online portal, Excite opened a “Mother’s Day Shop” this week. The Virtual Florist and Disney’s GO Network are offering online contests, such as GO Network’s “Mother of the Year” competition, to lure shoppers.

Giving Double

Two-year-old iGive.com takes a different approach. The company will give $2 to charity every time a new shopper registers at its Web site, and the 24 online stores in the iGive mall will donate a portion of the money the shopper spends.

iGive’s mall features stores such as etoys, jcrew, Beyond.com and American Greetings. Shoppers can find books, flowers, perfumes and many other products there. Each online store has agreed to donate a certain percentage to the shopper’s designated charity, in exchange for the business the mall brings them. etoys, one of the Internet’s largest toy stores, gives the largest amount — 12.5 percent of the shopper’s purchase total.

Thousands of Groups Supported

Shoppers can choose from a list of thousands of non-profit organizations at iGive.com, or they can designate a group not listed. iGive.com will verify the non-profit status of the group and notify the shopper whether the donation is approved for that charity. Organizations that have received donations through iGive.com include the well-known, such as American Red Cross, to the local, such as a school’s Parent Teacher Association, to the unusual, such as the Legion of Superferrets, a Nebraska shelter for endangered ferrets.

iGive.com does not make donations to organizations that promote crime or violence or to political groups, because political donations are federally regulated. The donations are not tax deductible for the shopper, because the shopper does not actually spend additional money beyond the purchase price and shipping charge for the goods they order.

Since its start in 1997, iGive.com has raised nearly $300,000 for more than 4,500 nonprofit organizations.

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