Charities That Aim To Prosper In Cyberspace

IS IT EASIER TO GIVE TO charity online? The Starbright Foundation, a nonprofit group that sets up online services for children in hospitals to talk to other hospitalized kids, hopes that's the case. The organization recently added a feature to its Web site that lets donors electronically contribute to its $65 million fund-raising goal. Chaired by director Steven Spielberg and retired General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Starbright's service already is in 11 hospitals with plans to expand to 100 nationwide.

At Starbright's site, donors type in the amount they want to give and their Visa or MasterCard numbers. Once the transaction is completed, they receive a thank-you letter and a receipt from the foundation. Starbright isn't alone in hoping the Web might reach some people who don't want to go through the hassle of writing a check and putting it in the mail. Other fund-raising campaigns, including Britain's BBC Children in Need and the United Cerebral Palsy Assn., are turning to the Web to help drum up money.

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