The UK loves to shop online – enough to have spent a whopping £91 billion online in 2013. We are expected to spend even more this year, partly thanks to shopping events adopted from the US such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday that have transformed UK retail sales figures.
Boxing Day and the New Year sales are set to be no different. With more than 37% of all online Christmas sales now made on tablets and smartphones*, online shopping is increasing in popularity, particularly when bargains are on offer.
One charity is using this boom to its advantage – by converting the usually hidden commission fees created whenever someone buys online, turning them into cash donations for charitable causes that are chosen by the shopper.
Changing the way we give
TheGivingMachine is one of a small number of similar shopping platforms that enable online shoppers to ‘give for free’ whenever they shop online. Platforms like these are transforming the way people give, giving online shoppers the freedom to choose where their free donation, paid for by the retailer, goes. Over 1,500 shops participate, making it possible to give while doing the weekly supermarket shop at Sainsbury’s or Asda, buying outfits in the sales at ASOS or Boohoo or when buying cut-price appliances from Amazon, Debenhams or John Lewis.
Some retailers participate in donation schemes by giving a small percentage of Christmas card sales to a nominated charity each year. By participating in free giving shopping platforms, retailers are able to support a wider variety of charities all year round. This strengthens the relationship with customers who know that by shopping with a certain retailer, the shop will support a cause the customer cares about.
While some similar online shopping models take a percentage of each donation for profit, TheGivingMachine is the only UK charity and social enterprise and ensures that charities benefit from the highest percentage of each donation.
Giving makes us feel good
While shopping has long been known to give an emotional boost, giving has been proven to release dopamine and serotonin without the guilt we sometimes feel after buying something new. By shopping through platforms that combine shopping and giving into one action, it has the power to boost our mood and make the shopper feel more satisfied as the result of the purchase.
New fundraising techniques for charities
For the 6,800 charities that participate, shopping platforms like TheGivingMachine have opened new and regular forms of funding, like the Cystic Fibrosis Trust has experienced. “We rely on philanthropy to continue our mission which ensures that everyone with cystic fibrosis has access to the best care and treatment possible,” says Carol Hunt, South East Fundraising Manager. “Platforms like these are an easy and regular fundraising channel that is incomparable to other fundraising methods in terms of time intensity and cost. So far TheGivingMachine has generated over £4,000 for us – an amazing sum of money, particularly considering the money costs our supporters nothing to create.”
Richard Morris, CEO of TheGivingMachine wants giving to be possible for everyone through online shopping websites such as his. “Up until now, giving to charity has often depended on whether you can afford it”, says Richard. “By taking away this financial barrier, giving becomes a choice rather than something guilt-based, which benefits charities as well as shoppers.”
Discounts and promotions
Free giving platforms work with retailers to offer special discounts to encourage customers to buy from them. Some upcoming Christmas and New Year promotions with TheGivingMachine include: