Raise a Glass Cause Marketing

At the yet-to-open Shebeen Bar in Melbourne, Australia when you order a beer or wine from a developing country, a donation will be made to a cause in the drink’s country of origin.

So toast someone with a Vietnamese beer at Shebeen and perhaps a kid in Vietnam learns a marketable skill. Raise a glass of South African chardonnay and maybe a microfinance donation is made to help someone start a street cart business in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.

The social benefit business is the brainstorm of 27-year-old Simon Griffiths, who came up with the idea while traveling through Africa. The idea is not about guilting people into Shebeen bar, Griffiths told the Melbourne daily newspaper, The Age. (The photo of Griffiths at left comes from The Age.)

“We are moving away from the Oxfam tin-rattling approach to retail to a space where we create high-quality products and services and make them non-profit.”

Griffiths is wonderfully ambitious. Using what some call ‘embedded giving’ social entrepreneurs like Griffiths will “be turning everyday consumers into philanthropists and giving charities access to the trillions of dollars that change hands every year in the economy,” he says.

As Griffiths sees it, “our personal mandate is that we support projects that allow individuals to participate in the economy where they wouldn't otherwise be able to.”

What do you think? Can giving embedded into this kind of social enterprise carry this much water (or Ethiopian beer) for charity?

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