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Freelanthropy was started in 2004 to help non-profit organizations raise money online.
Freelanthropy was developed to tap the power of "pay per click" (PPC) search advertising for non-profit organizations. In August 2004 along with its parent company, Freelanthropy was merged with Vendare Media and Freelanthropy launched to the public in early 2005 with its first product, the Charitable Toolbar, powered by Yahoo! and AskJeeves (now Ask.com) search services. Dan Sheehy, who had originally conceived the idea and retained social entrepreneur Thorsten Hoins to develop the beta site, purchased Freelanthropy from Vendare in December 2005.
Freelanthropy still offers free customized browser search toolbars to non-profit organizations, but no installed software is required to use the service and Freelanthropy's offerings have expanded to include a consumer search portal that allows users to designate support for any one of more than 1.3 million 501(c) and 527 group organizations (registered US non-profits) in Freelanthropy's database. In 2006 Freelanthropy entered into a new multi-year partnership with Yahoo! who now exclusively powers the search experience for both Freelanthtropy's custom browser toolbars as well as the Freelanthropy.com search portal. Ask.com is no longer involved. Freelanthropy also helps to generate revenue for its non-profit partners through its "Shop & Give" directory which includes hundreds of online merchants. When people access any of these merchants through Freelanthropy's Shop & Give program, money is raised for the designated non-profit organization. All of Freelanthropy's services are completely free for its non-profit partners, their constituents, as well as the general public that support charities through the Freelanthropy.com search portal. Freelanthropy does not collect any personally identifiable information (PII). The toolbars that Freelanthropy creates for its nonprofit partners are free of any adware, spyware or "malware," and function purely to reinforce the charities' brand with their supporters, facilitate Yahoo searches, and deliver messages from the charities to their supporters via the toolbar's RSS feature.