Rednano offers help for charities - Oct 31, 2008 (ST)

BackOct 31, 2008

The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

Rednano offers help for charities

Search engine to create free websites as part of $500k effort to boost charities' online profiles.

By Chua Hian Hou
Oct 31, 2008
The Straits Times

INTERNET search engine Rednano has offered to create free websites for local charities who need an online home, company officials announced yesterday.

The Singapore-focused search engine and directory service said it wanted to help non-profit groups hit by turmoil in the financial markets and a slowing economy.

The Web presence should help charities, especially lesser-known ones, raise their profile and attract donors, said Mr Paul Jansen, chief executive of SPH Search, which runs Rednano.

The search engine, which made its debut in May, is a joint venture between Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and Norwegian media group Schibsted ASA.

Mr Jansen said Rednano has identified 93 charities which would benefit from increased online profile, from old folks' homes to groups helping the disabled. Over the next three years, it will extend the offer to all charities that have been given Institution of a Public Character (IPC) status.

Rednano's staff will begin contacting charities from next week. Those that want the help will be asked for the information they want to put online, including a description of what the organisation does and its contact details. This will then be assembled into a webpage, including an online map to the charity and a 'click-to-call' link, which will be hosted with Rednano.

Rednano typically charges customers $2,000 per year for such add-ons, but these will be free for charities.

Besides offering charities without a website an online home, Rednano will also promote them in other ways, said Mr Jansen. For example, it will create pop-up ads when users enter relevant search keywords like 'children' or 'elderly'.

Next year, when Rednano's e-commerce engine is launched, it will look into the possibility of helping charities to use the service to collect donations, said Mr Jansen. The entire charity effort is expected to cost Rednano an estimated $500,000.

Charities have welcomed Rednano's gesture, including Food From The Heart, which delivers unsold bread and pastries to welfare organisations and needy families. The organisation has a website, but it does not accept donations online.

Events and public relations executive Nurul Ain said any help is welcome. 'With more publicity, there should be more chance of people donating,' she said. She was hopeful the online donation system, by making it more convenient for donors to give, would help increase donations.