By Marsha Collier

Most people have donated to charity in one form or another. But here on eBay, charities really rock. Do you need a Jurassic Park helmet signed by Steven Spielberg to round out your collection (and deflect the odd dino tooth)? Post a bid on one of the charity auctions. How about a signed original photograph of Jerry Seinfeld from People magazine? Yup, you can get that, too.

All these and more have turned up in charity auctions. In short, having a big heart for charities has gotten a whole lot easier thanks to eBay.

November 2003 was a lucky time for this country’s charities. That’s the month that eBay launched the eBay Giving Works Charity auction platform. eBay originally teamed up with one of the first charity-giving sites on the Internet, MissionFish, which now runs the PayPal Giving Fund.

After 9/11, as “9/11 Auction for America,” eBay’s giving program originally raised over $10 million through online charity auctions for organizations supporting the victims of the tragedy and their families. To date, more than $650 million dollars have been raised on eBay For Charity, supporting more than 35,000 organizations.

If you’re involved with a charity, and are certified as a 501(c)(3), you can register your charity to get on the list of beneficiaries. You can also run your own fundraising events on eBay! Just go to the eBay For Charity hub.

ebay for charity
Where eBay buyers and sellers work for good.

The best part is that you can run an auction or fixed-price listing to benefit your favorite charity. Sellers can list items for sale and designate those items to benefit a charity from the eBay For Charity directory (which lists tens of thousands of charities). The seller can also specify what percentage (from as little as 10 percent up to 100 percent) of the auction proceeds go to the charity.

You can browse to select the charity of your choice on the Giving Works page. When you list your item for sale, you can indicate — on the Sell form’s Create Your Listing section — to which charity you’d like to donate proceeds, and what percentage of the final sale price to donate.

As you visit different areas of eBay, you can recognize the charity listings by the small blue-and-gold ribbon icon next to them in searches and the Category list.