Skip to main content

Social Networking/Charity Mashups

Cause-Related Marketing in the Newest Social Media

In the last quarter three charity/social networking mashups have crossed my desk, each with their own distinctive tang. All three are in beta, that is, they’re works in progress. All are for-profit endeavors. All could benefit from a little ‘network effect’ love.

The network effect aka Metcalf’s Law postulates that the value of a network is proportionate to the square of the number of users. That is, a network only starts demonstrating value after reaching the critical mass described by the equation.

In other words, each of these outfits has some selling to do.

uPlej. With an approach that could probably only come from Utah is uPlej, which owes its business model as much to multi-level marketing as it does to Facebook.

Here’s how it works: you sign up as a member of uPlej and designate a charity, create your own profile, alert your personal network to your new uPlej page and UPlej dings your credit card for $4.99 a month. Of that, $4 goes directly to the charity, and the remaining $0.99 goes to uPlej’s operations and fees for processing credit cards and the like.

What’s the appeal? Well if just 4 of your friends also join uPlej, then your designated charity could receive perhaps $85 a month (more or less)! Here’s how: “The charity calculator works on the premise that each of your ‘friends’ tells just 4 people each, who tell just 4 people, and so on through 3 degrees.

“For every person you tell that visits your user page and signs up, you receive $1.00 for the cause YOU have elected to support. For every person they tell that visits their user page and signs up, you also get $1.00 for your cause, and so on through 3 degrees. Everybody that you tell that joins your network is your first degree, everybody that joins the network of anybody on your first degree (anybody that they tell), becomes your second degree, and so on. This gives you the opportunity, for only your $4.99 monthly payment, to raise a significant amount of money for your cause every month—simply by connecting with other charitable individuals.”

As I write this, you can choose from uPlej’s universe of 150 charities, a number they’re working hard to increase. uPlej is not a charity, it’s a fundraising company that uses the power of a networked downline to raise money for charities.

Just Cause. Like uPlej, Just Cause is a for-profit entity as well. But they prefer to think of themselves as a ‘for-benefit’ company, ala Newman’s Own and Peacekeeper Cause-Metics. Just Cause bills itself as “social networking with a purpose.”

Causes, individuals, and companies can all set up accounts and start talking about what their doing to make the world better, mainly through blogs. You can create or join user groups, post events, seek volunteers, donors, supporters, etc.

There’s more than 150 blogs currently being posted on the Just Cause site and about 60 nonprofits. Just Cause also publishes a magazine by the same name, expects to sponsor community events. The magazine is distributed with participating ‘city magazines’ in Seattle, Atlanta, Chicago and elsewhere. Just Cause says that the glue that holds all the pieces together is its approach to telling ‘stories.’

Do Good Channel from good2gether. The Do Good Channel is a kind of localized charity directory that allows you to search charities by type, participation, opportunities. But what really sets it apart is that it can also generates income for participating charities and enables searches that connect current news with charitable missions.

Here’s how. good2gether gives an Internet ‘widget’ to local TV, radio and newspaper media outlets. When a story is posted about, say, the crisis in Darfur, the widget points to local nonprofit resources that are working on the problem. The widget displays information in a frame on the media outlet’s website, which it can sell. If the reader clicks on one of the nonprofit links, it connects to a Do Good page where they find a profile of the pertinent nonprofit(s).

The profile or elements of the profile can be emailed, sent to Facebook, added to your calendar, etc. The profile is free to the nonprofit and relatively easy to generate. Better, the charity can sell the sponsorship of the page which it splits 65:35 with good2gether, which operates Do Good. To participate in this part of the service, the charity has to agree to charge a minimum of $100 per sponsor and limit it to no more six sponsors.

good2gether launched the Do Good Channel in Boston this month and is scheduled to add several top 10 markets per month over the next few months, including San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.

There are elements of cause-related marketing in each of these approaches. uPlej enables a kind cause-related marketing for your personal brand, (although there's no reason why a company couldn't be a uPlej member too). Just Cause could certainly host a blog about your cause-related marketing campaign. The Do Good Channel in effect invites charities to connect to sponsors.


mire said…
Great resource! We just got back from the Cause Marketing Forum in Chicago and it was wonderful!! Lot's of great info and I highly suggest it for anyone interested in learning more about cause marketing.
Dexrex said…
Very informative and inspiring post!Social Networking really help us by creating valuable charities for the welfare of everybody!
Korleoni said…
Here is another social network which works for charity:
Todd said…
Interesting article
Amazing resource!! Charities are benefiting more and more from social networking and this article really accentuates that.

Popular posts from this blog

Top Eight Cause-Related Marketing Campaigns of 2007

Yeah, You Read it Right. It's a Top 8 List.

More cause-related marketing campaigns are unveiled every day across the world than I review in a year at the cause-related marketing blog. And, frankly, I don’t see very many campaigns from outside North America. So I won’t pretend that my annual list of the top cause-related marketing campaigns is exhaustive.

But, like any other self-respecting blogger, I won’t let my superficial purview stop me from drawing my own tortured conclusions!

So… cue the drumroll (and the dismissive snickers)… without further ado, here is my list of the eight best cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007.

My list of the worst cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007 follows on Thursday.

Chilis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
I was delighted by the scope of Chilis’ campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As you walked in you saw the servers adorned in black co-branded shirts. Other elements included message points on the Chilis beverage coas…

Cause-Related Marketing Meets Microfinance and Mix it Up

You’d have had to have been in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia the last year or so to have missed the run up of microfinance. Between 2004 and 2006 more than $4 billion of capital flowed into microfinance institutions. All told experts say the total loan microfinance loan portfolio may be as much as $12.5 billion. And of course the father of microfinance, Muhammad Yunus won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Microfinance is now so respectable, so effective, (so profitable!) that it’s already enjoying its first global backlash.

Actually that first sentence is hyperbole. Because even in Ulaanbaatar… far from almost anywhere on the vast, frigid steppes of Mongolia… microfinance is thriving such that the earliest recipients of micro loans there are now complaining about taxes and government bureaucracy! And May 29-31, 2008 the Conference of Microfinance Institutions will convene in Ulaanbaatar, the eleventh such annual conference.
Now Advanta, a credit card issuer to small…

Cause Marketing Beer with BOGO, Brew One Give One

On Monday’s post I touched on the topic of telling people what your cause marketing campaign accomplished when completed. I’ve recommended this approach to clients as a way to keep open the lines of communication with customers and clients and to get extra value from the campaign.

In other words, you’ll want to hold back some of the promotion’s budget to continue to activate the effort until the very end.

But what if that really cuts across the grain in your organization? What if it’s just not in your corporate DNA to do anything but to frontload your cause marketing activation? Well, then, add the report back to the activation of your next cause marketing effort.

New Belgium Brewing of Ft. Collins, Colorado, said to be the seventh largest brewery in the United States, did just that with this ad in Sunset magazine. I found this ad in the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database.

New Belgium donates $1 for every barrel it brews and sells. It’s a BOGO cause marketing effort, Buy One Give One. …