Pulse: Shopping for a Better World
Just in time for the holiday online shopping rush, aGoodCause.com allows shoppers to make donations to their favorite charities while they shop.
Already, organizations including Action Against Hunger; The Parkinson’s Institute; ASPCA; SOS Children’s Villages; and The Climate Group, the world’s first international NGO focused exclusively on the solutions to climate change, are reaping the benefits.
The site’s co-founder, Mads Ellegaard, says it’s a simple way for consumers to help charitable causes while purchasing things like books and plane tickets. And it costs nothing for an organization to become a part of the site’s network of charities.
“Our purpose is that we want people to be in power and have an opportunity to make the world a better place whatever way they choose,” Ellegaard says. “They have the power to do this while shopping online, and it doesn’t cost them anything.”
Visitors to the site must download the free AidMaker software, which automatically identifies more than 800 e-commerce sites where retailers donate a percentage of sales to a user-selected charity.
Among the participating retailers are Best Buy, Apple, Hotels.com, Kodak, Starbucks, Peapod, REI, Tumi and West Marine. The percentage of sales donated is predetermined by the retailer and aGoodCause.com, and averages 7 percent of a sale. A commission on the donation covers the operating costs for aGoodCause.com.
To become a charitable recipient of aGoodCause.com, Ellegaard says, a nonprofit can simply e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to get the ball rolling. Interested retailers are encouraged to do the same.
Ellegaard founded the Scandinavia-based aGoodCause.com in 2004 after his mother suffered a stroke. He had been designing Internet solutions for some of the largest companies in Europe when it happened.
“I reconsidered why I was working the way I was and started thinking of a higher reason,” he says.
Ellegaard teamed with Jonathan Low, who at the time was a marketing manager for one of Denmark’s largest bookstore chains, to create aGoodCause.com, which since its start has garnered $760,000 for charity.