It's one of those ideas that will prompt the question, "why hadn't anyone thought of this before?"
is a new e-commerce platform fascilitating a "marketplace for social good" by selling cause-related products for nonprofits. The founders of this website will offer fundraising options and digital marketing expertise at no cost to their nonprofit partners.
"Right now, nonprofts don't have a central marketplace where they can congregate and maximize awareness," says Co-founder Zack Rosenberg. "I've tried to find a functional 'marketplace for social good' out there for aggregating meaningful products, and there just aren't any adequate commerce platforms for distinguishing nonprofits exclusively."
The DoGoodBuyUs site is brand new and still under construction, but already it has attracted the attention of impressive nonprofits such as New York Restoration Project, A Global Friendship, New Forest Earth, Special Spectators and SCHEF Org.
Cutting costs and cause clutter
DoGoodBuyUs arrives at a time of desperate need among nonprofits. The recent 2010 Giving USA study estimated that domestic giving has declined 11 percent since pre-recession highs in 2008. The organizations that raised the most funds in 2010 were those who reported using at least six different online marketing outlets. Overall, 2010 saw a 58 percent increase in online giving according to a Nonprofit Research Collaborative study, and more than three quarters of nonprofits reported using online or Internet fundraising.
These trends reveal at once a tremendous opportunity and a novel marketing dilemma; as Internet fundraising matures, the competition for attention among nonprofits and corporate cause marketers will be fierce. Fundraisers racing to communicate through multiple platforms will make for a deafening media landscape and a crowded online marketplace.
Setting up shop
Online stores prove to be a highly effective way to cut through this clutter while fundraising. The American Cancer Society generated $97 million from their online store in 2010, and Lance Armstrong's store generated $32 million in the same year. What's more, the 2010 Edelman "Good Purpose" study reported that 81 percent of adults and 85 percent of millennials are willing to buy a product that supports a cause. The challenge, however, lies in actually finding the resources to promote and create such products online.
"Facillitating an effective online store can be a big risk for nonprofits with limited employees and resources," says Co-founder Zach Adler. "Our experts will take on the weight of promotions, research, and customer relationship building so our partners can minimize that risk."
Trends suggest nonprofits will need to cut down on such marketing costs to ensure future stability. The Nonprofit Research Collaborative study shows 51 percent of nonprofits surveyed reported 75 percent or more of their funds raised in 2010 going toward operations rather than capital, investment or endowment. DoGoodBuyUs wants to lower some of these operating costs by taking on a significant portion of marketing activities for nonprofits, thereby lessening the burden of their partners' employees.
From congregation to consciousness
Beyond these tangible marketing services, DoGoodBuyUs will also foster a collaborative network for its partners and audiences to prompt idea sharing.
"While we build a new community of responsile consumers," explains Rosenberg, "we'll also be building a network of nonprofits that will facilitate invaluable opportunities for collaboration and resource sharing among our partners."
DoGoodBuyUs plans to organize joint promotions and collaboration that will expose the site's visitors to a variety of new organizations. As the site aggregates responsible products pertaining to a variety of causes, the diversity of their customer pool could grow exponentially. This means a wider base of support for each partner. A site visitor looking for green products, for instance, may stumble upon products that support medical research. Visitors looking for fair trade goods may gain interest in green products, and vice versa.
Each nonprofit partner will also receive an individual page on the website dedicated to informing visitors about their cause. Between this dedicated online space, the site's diverse audiences, and the aggressive social media outreach planned for each nonprofit collection, DoGoodBuyUs plans to significantly expand each partner's exposure.
Your involvement will help to build this new "marketplace for social good." You can contact Co-founder and Director of Development Zack Rosenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org
to discuss partnership opportunities or ideas.