Charity CHAMPs – get involved with microphilanthropy now!


Shop Causes offers a new shop for good experience by sylvng
July 20, 2009, 9:45 pm
Filed under: CHAMPs News, Microphilanthropy | Tags: , , ,

A few weeks ago I was comparing the various shop for good sites out there and I realized that they all look very much alike and need some differentiation. Well here’s one that I’ve tried out that’s definitely different – Shop Causes. Unlike the other sites, Shop Causes is a Facebook application, making it super easy for you to help spread the word about an idea that I think has a lot of merit. You can also see which of your friends have used the application, and see which causes are the most popular – 2 things that you can’t do with the other sites.

Shop Causes also has 2 cool promotions going on right now. When friends you refer in Facebook raise $20, your cause receives an additional $5. And if you Tweet about your Shop Causes purchase (with @shopcauses or #shopcauses), $0.25 will be added to your cause automatically AND you’ll be entered into a draw for a $200 Apple gift certificate. It doesn’t get easier or more fun than this!

Shop Causes was started by Michael Levitt of Cyperplex and is based in Toronto. I think it’d be great to partner with them for Charity CHAMPS. So try it out and let me know what you think!

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Shop for good sites need some differentiation! by sylvng

For years now there has been a “Taste of the Danforth” festival in Toronto’s Greek area and I’ve been to it a few times – the festival is always packed with street performers, game setups, and a ton of  vendors offering mouth-watering treats. So when I heard about a similar festival in Little Italy I was excited. If the Greek version had lots of street meat, wouldn’t the Italian version offer gelato, expresso bars, and cafe chairs and umbrellas as far as the eye can see? Apparently not. In fact, I was sorely disappointed when I went there 2 weeks ago. Taste of Italy may as well have been Taste of Danforth – the only difference was the location!

Differentiation goes a long way, and sometimes as an end-consumer I get fustrated with brands that are ok with just blending in. Especially with microphilanthropy, because the space is still new enough that I think there are still lots of novel ideas to try out, and more differentiation means more motivation for users to get involved with various sites. Take these shop-for-good sites, for example:

At first glance they look the same. They even have the same 3 step instructions telling you how to shop for your charity! They also all have long lists of merchants, with vary percentages of your purchase actually making it back to charity.In particular, We-care, GoodShop, and ShopWisely all let you add your own causes, and they all have coupons with merchants, like a special gift from L’Occitane when you buy more than $100, or free shipping from Crocs.com.

But really, even they their similarities they all have something slightly different to offer. We-care has the most usable and engaging site, with clear communication, a cause of the month, and good blog posts. But GoodShop is actually best for shopping, with a side bar of categories of products and a good store search. ShopWisely has some really high donation percentages, and ShopForCharity seems to have the easiest way of picking a charity (the charity list is shorter, but the other sites just don’t make the choice as transparent).

I just wish sites would spend a bit more effort on differentiation, so that users looking for a shopping site can pick the one that suits them best. I don’t believe that one size fits all, so the more microphilanthropy organizations the better, but it’s not good when everything looks the same on the surface!

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