Boulder, Colorado-based social software developer Giveo has just introduced a new way for brands to get customers engaged with their charitable giving efforts. It's called Crowdgiver, and lets the customers of charitable brands have a say in where the company is donating its money. WebProNews had a chat with CEO Ed Messman about the product, which was first launched in private beta about a month ago.
Messman considers Crowdgiver a way to "engage a new generation" with charitable giving, due to its social nature. With Crowdgiver, Messman hopes to play a significant role in changing a huge marketplace that has been predominantly direct mail-based. He noted that the shift has already begun (as seen on a large scale with the disaster in Haiti earlier this year). Charitable giving is becoming more social and more are giving through texting, social media, and credit card/mobile transactions. You have to wonder how much of a role direct mail will continue to play in this space in a few more years, when compared to the convenience of these other methods. "I guarantee my nine year old boy is not going to be writing a check," says Messman.
Businesses who get involved with Crowdgiver get their own branded page on the Giveo domain where customers can engage with the charity options, vote, etc. The following screenshot will give you an idea of what it looks like. It would be customized, but you can see how Giveo's platform is used. Businesses would have access to a dashboard with analytical information that general users will not see here.
Giveo will also help businesses do targeted marketing for their Crowdgive initiatives with email lists, widgets for blogs and Facebook, etc.
While Giveo is certainly happy to get larger brands involved, Crowdgive is aimed more at small and medium-sized businesses, who don't necessarily have the resources for these large charity campaigns that the big corporations do.
Messman notes a trend in cause marketing. Customers are often more enthusiastic about brands when they support a cause that they are interested in. Crowdgive has the potential to be quite effective for this reason, as it allows the customers themselves to get involved. This can help target the companies donations based on specific demographics and locations, which in turn could increase customer participation.
"Relevance really drives engagement. Personalization drives engagement," says Messman.
The basic philosophy behind this product seems to be: if you're going to donate your money to a cause in a way that markets your business, why not donate it to the cause most relevant to your customer base?
That could be quite powerful for customer loyalty.