Community website makes donating to nonprofits easier

December 24, 2010 11:36:11 AM PST
A website that connects San Mateo County residents to local nonprofits is making holiday donations a little bit easier, Burlingame Mayor Terry Nagel said.

Nagel and a group of volunteers in Burlingame started the "Community Wish List" six years ago.

"In 2004, the site started as just a printed booklet specific to Burlingame," Nagel said. "To meet demand, we eventually went online and expanded to include all of San Mateo County."

The Community Wish List includes personalized pages for 91 local organizations where they can list the services or goods that they would like donated, Nagel said.

Many of the items listed are things people might otherwise throw away, she said.

"We think of it as a triple win," she said. "Not only do nonprofits get items that they need, but people that contribute get tax write-offs and everyone benefits when we keep things out of the landfills."

Nagel said nonprofits can maintain their own pages and update their listings independently from website administrators.

"Each nonprofit is invited to have a free page that displays their mission, services, contact information and even a Google map," Nagel said.

She added that the website was written in open source code, meaning that other cities and counties can use it as a building block for their own systems.

"It's not protected and we are happy to share," Nagel said. "A city in Hawaii has already used our site as a model."

Mary Watt, executive director of CALL Primrose, a nonprofit that provides emergency direct aid, said the website has completely transformed the donation process.

"It has made getting certain things at certain times much easier," Watt said. "It has also bolstered financial contributions. More than anything, it has brought a level of public attention that we have never seen before."

Nonprofits wishing to be listed on the website should email helpdesk@communitywishlist.org.


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