Retail Philanthropy - More than just the Three C's

I have spent the day cleaning out my inbox and came across this Harvard Business Review article, "Making Charity Pay" from October 2014.  This past Giving Tuesday and, for the past several months, I have been writing and speaking on this idea of #RetailPhilanthropy, or using consumer driven approaches to generating sustainable revenue for charities while at the same time tapping into the consumer mindset.

Over the past year, we have seen a number of these types of consumer-driven retail experiences launch:

  • Agents of Change
  • Sponsor Energy
  • GoodPin
  • TheCardThat.Gives

What makes these ventures different from traditional Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives or third-party fundraisers, is that they are independent ventures that are using consumer behaviour to drive social change. Unlike their predecessors who would start social initiatives within an already existing business or charity, these companies have created their business models around the social product that is being sold.  

Retail Philanthropy started with micro-lending, moved into CSR and corporate citizenship and has been gaining momentum as the social enterprise/BCorp movement has taken hold.  I think that as government legislations around investment regulations into these types of businesses change we will see more of these types of businesses launch and become successful.

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