Yesterday, I received my daily Groupon email. If you aren’t familiar with Groupon you’ll want to get sign up with them to save money and discover interesting new places to eat, shop and pamper yourself in your city. The side deal on yesterday’s Groupon, was the first philanthropic Groupon opportunity ever. Groupon had paired up with DonorsChoose.org, a national nonprofit that serves K-12 public schools in all 50 states. Their primarily focus is on high-need, under-resourced communities. Teachers connect with DonorsChoose.org and post their project for funding. You can search by “Location” or “Most Urgent Need” when donating on their website to find classroom projects all around the country. For this Groupon, DonorsChoose.org had partnered up with Pershing Square Foundation to do a matching grant program and had approached Groupon to help spread the word. Groupon agreed to help promote the opportunity by donating the space on their site, forgoing their commission on the deal, making a donation to the DonorsChoose.org non-profit and encouraging their community of over 5 million subscribers not only to participate, but spread the word to others to help DonorsChoose.org reach their million dollar goal.
What was interesting to me about this deal was the discussion that close to 50 people had on the Groupon Website. I was personally delighted and intrigued to see that a philanthropic organization was finding a creative way to reach donors. While, many of the comments were from people like me who were happy to learn about this non-profit , several others who commented were not. They were upset that it wasn’t Groupon that had matched the donations and felt that it was bad that Groupon was some how benefiting from this opportunity while appearing charitable. I am continually baffled that people point fingers and make comments regarding opportunities like this. Groupon says they had no ulterior motive and were just working to share the power of their community to raise awareness about this non-profit as well as help raise the 500K that would be matched.
As a fundraiser, I am thrilled to continue to see ways that non-profits are thinking outside of the box and using new technologies and the internet to find potential donors. After the Haiti earthquakes, we saw the mobile giving reach thousands of people who gave $10 via their cellphone. Now Groupon and DonorsChoose.org have partnered up to increase the amount of people who will learn about this non-profit and perhaps donate, especially since their money will go farther. Several comments on the Groupon site wanted to know if they could buy multiple donations through this Groupon and give them as gifts. The answer of course is YES!
I hope those folks who wrote nasty comments on the Groupon site, realize that in the end it is the children who will benefit from this partnership and creative non-profit fundraising. I am excited and hopeful that through the power of the internet we can provide more creative ways to connect potential donors with worthy and beneficial non-profits.