TheGivingMachine, a not-for-profit social enterprise that creates free cash donations for charities and schools when shoppers buy online, has become a fully licensed charity in its own right after raising almost £1m in donations. It is the first not-for-profit affiliate marketing program that supports charities and schools as an online shopping website, enabling people to give to a variety of charitable and social organisations across the country, for free.
TheGivingMachine exists not just as a fundraising platform, but as an engine to generate giving, connecting companies with customers and good causes. TheGivingMachine’s model enables individuals to unlock funds through a change in behaviour by building giving into their normal everyday routines.
Set up by four Hertfordshire dads in 2006, TheGivingMachine is a shopping platform used by more than 84,000 ‘Givers’ with access to 1,600 participating retailers. More than 6,700 charities have benefitted from the free funds so far, ranging from national organisations to local groups such as schools, the Scouts and Girl Guides, sports’ clubs, choral societies and animal shelters.
Every year, online shops pay hundreds of millions of pounds in sales commissions to other websites for referrals. People search for a product or service on the internet, or maybe visit a comparison website, click on a link and then make a purchase. In many cases, they generate a sales commission for somebody else – but in the case of TheGivingMachine, it converts those donations into fee donations for causes chosen by the shopper*.
The user can choose to donate to up to four causes at a time, with a percentage split of the money distributed to each one. Any UK cause whose primary purpose is for public benefit can sign up to TheGivingMachine, where little amounts build up to make regular donations over a period of time.
“At Viking we’re always trying to make things better,” said Mahesh Mistry, affiliate marketing specialist. “So when we heard about the TheGivingMachine, we just had to get involved. It’s a brilliant concept, it’s easy, it won’t cost you a penny and you’ll know that every order you place with Viking is helping your business to help others.” Since joining the scheme, over 4,500 free donations have been generated via Viking, worth over £23,000 to UK causes.
Richard Morris, founder and managing director of TheGivingMachine said, “Achieving charity status is a major milestone and something we set out to do from the very start. The objective of TheGivingMachine is to unlock the potential of millions of pounds of commercial revenue to achieve a positive social impact at the same time. In this way, it is about changing peoples’ behaviour so they incorporate giving into their daily routines. Participating retailers then benefit from combining giving back as part of their every day commerce and positive customer engagement.
“We can all give something back to society by enabling companies, customers and causes to work together for mutual benefit. Our ‘give for free’ model empowers everyone to contribute to causes that matter the most to them and to do that for free, every time they shop online. We are delighted that we have been accepted by the Charity Commission, enabling us to carry on our work as a fully fledged charity organisation.”