Charitable Social Platform Enlists Red Cross, Old Navy, Starbucks

trimbleEndorse for a Cause announced its social media platform yesterday with a big list of notable charity-based launch partners, such as American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, The Nature Conservancy, Prevent Child Abuse America, and HandsOn Network.

The platform allows registered users to share either their online purchases or retail site links with their friends and followers on Twitter and Facebook. The Endorse for a Cause (EFAC) system then tracks when those tweets or posts lead to purchases, or “endorsements.” To be clear, it tracks clicks from the social activity streams on the social sites until the web viewer hits the “buy now” button, according to Ed Trimble, CEO of the for-profit Atlanta-based company. Participating retailers include Old Navy, Starbucks, Target, and outdoor gear retailer REI, he said, while adding there were 500 merchant brands on board.

“There are some big ones and some small [retailers],” Trimble explained. “We are not asking for anybody to give money. Times are tight. We all want to help our causes more, but it’s tough to write a check. This gives people a way to take what you are already doing – sharing your activity with your friends. But you are doing it in a way that helps your favorite cause.”

Trimble said it’s fair to characterize his company’s platform as a charity-based affiliate program. How much retailers pay for the referrals varies, according to Trimble. “We get paid a percentage of the sales, or [our take is] based on generating traffic,” he said.

Trimble (pictured above) added, “Let’s say an endorsement for REI goes out to 200 people and 15 to 25 people click through and some make purchases. If an endorsement generates $10 [via EFAC], we are going to keep $3 of that, and we are going to give $7 to your charity….An endorsement should go out on average to about 220 Facebook and Twitter friends. So now an REI is getting positive brand impressions, such as ‘Shop at REI and help me support The Humane Society.'”

Wendy Harmon, social media director for the American Red Cross, said her organization has participated with similar web-based platforms like Goodsearch, Social Vibe, and Good2Gether. “[EFAC offers] anyone who cares about our mission a simple way to contribute. Our goal is to empower ordinary citizens to perform extraordinary acts. Endorse for a Cause gives people one more tool to do just that.”

Lastly, Trimble added that a small operation like a local soup kitchen – that has enough registered EFAC devotees that vouch for that specific organization – can join his platform. “As long as they are [a legal charity], you can campaign and vote for them,” he said. “When causes get 10,000 votes from our members, we’ll invite them to join the site.”


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