Buy Groupon for $15, Donate $30 to Save the Children

Unless you’re clueless to the world of tech and marketing… like, say, a headhunter in New Guinea… or utterly distracted, like jailed Russian oil oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky…you’ve probably heard of Groupon (and the reported $6 billion buyout offer from Google the company turned down!).

Groupon is a deal-a-day website promoting local businesses to 35 million members in hundreds of cities in nine countries in North America, South America and Europe. One of Groupon’s most common approaches is to negotiate the sales of merchandise or services for half their listed price.

But the Groupon from Wednesday, Dec. 29 in Greenville, South Carolina offered a different sort of half-off promotion. When you donate $15 to Save the Children, $30 will go to the respected international aid charity.

How does that work?

The only way it could work is if one or more people provide the matching funds, and the Groupon site confirms this:
“All donations made via this Groupon support Save the Children's Global Action Fund and are matched up to $225,000 by a small group of private donors, many of whom are former children themselves.”
As of this writing the Groupon had attracted 1392 buyers with about 24 hours left on the offer, which is certainly respectable, but well short of the 15,000 buyers that $225,000 could match.

Every fundraiser knows that matches work, and this is a version of a matching campaign that I’d be interested to see other charities try.

That said, I do wonder if bringing the idea of ‘saving’ on charitable donations isn’t ultimately counterproductive to Save the Children and any other charity that tries it.

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