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Original Publication Date: 2001-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2001-Mar-01
Document File: 2 page(s) / 29K

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Mark Lill: AUTHOR [+2]



This text was extracted from a WORD97 document.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 55% of the total text.


By Mark Lill, Miles Jackson, and Joe Wodka

Presently commerce is conducted directly between the consumer and merchant. Businesses within this environment solicit contributions on behave of charitable organizations in a number of forms. This may occur through the collection of loose change via designated bins, envelops at the door, or volunteers at intersections and entryways soliciting contributions. Each instance allows the consumer a chance to donate funds to their personal choice of charities.

The Internet and supporting technologies have allowed commerce to be conducted through electronic means both at the point-of-sale and through remote access facilities. Employment of the technology has allowed the means for users of hand-held computers, personal digital assistants, or mobile phones to perform wireless electronic commerce transactions. While this has allowed electronic commerce transactions to grow, it further erodes the need for direct point of sale transactions to occur.

As the consumer takes advantage of this new electronic commerce media, the reliance on carrying physical money will decrease. This fact makes the old methods for soliciting contributions to worthy causes less effective. As the world depends more on E-commerce, the need for a method that allows charitable monetary contributions to be consummated at the point of sale will become more important.

Described within is a method and apparatus that allows the consumer to register a contribution to their charities with the merchant at the point of sale through the use of electronic transactions.

Generally, the ability to make small contributions to charitable organizations is a palatable idea for the consumer and often a good marketing tool for the provider. There can be many factors involved in the choice of the charity organization and the contribution amount. Figure 1 presents a system for allowing multiple charitable institutions a conduit for their cause while providing the merchant the ability to aggregate the contributions.

Upon presentation of a transaction, the consumer would have the following choices:

No contribution.

Round-up amount.

User specified contribution amount.

The purchase and contribution amounts are recorded separately and forwarded to the network server. When a direct point-of-sales terminal or a browser is used to perform the consumer purchase, contributions are displayed as separate line items on the consumer receipt. Through the use of a wireless device to facilitate the transaction, purchase and contribution records can be stored internally and synced with the user's home server for future reference (figure 2).

With the use of either a browser via the Internet or through a wireless terminal, supported organizations can be listed giving the user the ability to designate the charity to receive their contributi...