Charity Online

The Internet can spur social change. So says a new study on the Internet and charitable activity by CMS Interactive, a division of the consulting firm of Craver, Mathews, Smith and Co.

The researchers concluded that the Internet represents a vast -- but largely untapped -- means of doing good. They identified a core group of 7.5 million Americans -- dubbed "progressive pace-setters" -- that has embraced advocacy and charitable giving online; another 7.3 million (called "thresholders") appear close to following suit.

Still, the Internet is unlikely to replace traditional avenues to charity, the study concludes. Privacy and security are big issues: Nearly 90 percent of activists, or would-be activists, said they would never share their credit card information with a philanthropic group. Also, most Internet users say they are more likely to visit the Web site of a group they know of already rather than organizations they came across online.

A Transplant Site

An offer to auction off a human kidney on eBay turned out to be a hoax.

But the United Network for Organ Sharing, based in Richmond, has just launched a new, very real site to help people understand the transplant process.

Transplant Living, at www.unos.org/patients, offers the latest information about organ-donor programs, advice on what to do if you've just found out you need a transplant and how to get on the national waiting list for an organ.

There's also a glossary of terms and information about specific doctors and hospitals that do transplants. And there's a section on how to finance the operation. Another feature explains what to expect -- from follow-up visits to diet changes -- after the process is over.

You also can use the site to send a virtual postcard to someone who has recently had transplant surgery.