11/16/2010 12:16 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Desperate For Holiday Gift Ideas? Try Online Auctions For Charity

Trolling eBay for holiday deals? You may want to try out a different site this season, which uses online auctions to raise money for schools and nonprofits.

In the crowded marketplace of online auctions entrepreneur Jon Carson has carved out a niche for his platform, BiddingForGood.

Determined to find a solution to fundraising inefficiencies within typical charity auctions -- what he describes to Agence France-Presse as "artificial constraints of time and geography" -- Carson devised a formula to boost bidder participation. He built a platform that helps nonprofits improve the efficacy of their campaigns by maximizing and tracking bid performance.

Money from winning bids go toward an array of dedicated causes including civil rights, community improvement, social advocacy, arts and culture, and secondary and higher education for both public and private schools.

His approach seems to be working. Last month, BiddingForGood announced that it has raised over $100M since its creation in 2003. According to Carson, the recession has proved more of a "tailwind" than a hindrance.

The highest-yielding item so far? An unwashed autographed Lance Armstrong jersey, which sold for $110,000.

Currently on sale for the winter season: a pair of Bruins tickets and ski tickets to Okemo Mountain in Vermont -- both benefiting public schools in the greater Boston area.

For those outside New England, the national site organizes events by zip code, price, and cause category to better serve its bidders.

Check out BiddingForGood to see if your perfect deal awaits.

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