Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Shop • Donate • Feel Good
WHO: Jonathan Xu (MS MS&E 03), Caroline Bernardi (GSB06 SO), Valorie Cook Carpenter (GSB 82), Alex Musatov (GSB06) and Farida Sandsui (GSB07 SO)
FreePledge is a project that is hoping to remake philanthropy into e-philanthropy and leverage the power of growing e-commerce market to power non-profit organizations. It took me about five minutes to sign up, designate a non-profit and look up participating retailers - go to FreePledge now to do the same. Once it is configured all you do to donate is start your next ecommerce transaction by following the link to the e-tailer on FreePledge. The item is bought, shipped and supported by the e-tailer (SAME PRICES, or lower) and FreePledge handles getting a portion of the profits to your designated non-profit. Simple. Hopefully once FreePledge gets established they can tap into browser cookies and let you start with the e-tailers directly.
FreePledge is a technolgy solution that is trying to reach out to all the socially-minded consumers out there and leverage non-profit supporting programs offered by most major e-tailers. They are following the lead of serveral off-line examples including SchoolPop (support your local school by shopping) and the latest Red Campaign (fight AIDS in Africa by buying iPods, using American Express, shopping at the Gap, etc). It is also a big opportunity as Jonathan has shared with me - there are 1.4M non-profits in the US that spend a total of $1.3T and employ 10% of the US workforce.
I would like to congratulate these guys on building out the idea and having great early success:
- launched in September 2006
- 150 non-profits signed up
- 150 (and growing weekly) retailers participating
- growing user base and over $5K donated so far
Help them out - every transaction helps and it does not take much to make a difference.