Bargain Hunters With Charitable Hearts Buy On Deal Site GreedyGiver
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Online bargain hunters may not seem like obvious targets for charitable outreach. But Toronto’s Apostolos Sigalas of GreedyGiver.com can attest to the generosity of penny-pinchers seeking deals with a side of good karma. He would know: he launched a company to serve them.
Sigalas is the founder and CEO of the Toronto-based daily deal site that offers customers deeply discounted rates on merchandise, dining, sporting events, spa services. Unlike popular deal sites Groupon or WagJag, GreedyGiver directs a portion of the proceeds — $5, $10 or $20 per transaction, depending on the deal — to one of 30-odd charities it currently works with.
Best, GreedyGiver lets the customer choose their recipient charity. Customers must hit a “give” button and select an organization — grouped under headings like “animals,” “women,” “hunger,” “poverty” — before proceeding to the checkout. Buyers can also suggest a charity be added to the roster.
The for-profit GreedyGiver.com, which Sigalas launched last April and which currently boasts 11 staffers, has raised some $7,000 for charity to date, he says, through sales generated online, mostly through subscriber newsletter but also through web-surfing happenstance.
“Capitalism and charity are always on different sides of the spectrum,” Sigalas tells Samaritanmag. “I really wanted to find a way to combine the two. We are in the business of raising money for charity.”
GreedyGiver.com is now poised to launch a crowdfunding division where small to medium-sized charities can leverage the site’s infrastructure and connections to raise money independently, similar to how Kickstarter or IndieGoGo allows artists raise cash to fund albums or books.
All of which is pretty altruistic for a self-described former “banker” guy who today operates a boutique financial services company (West Liberty Financial in Toronto’s Liberty Village) and who claims he basically got the idea hoofing around the mall.
“You know when you’re shopping and a cashier will ask you to donate a dollar to this or that cause? I thought to myself, ‘There has to be a better way to reach more people. How can we motivate people to donate daily while rewarding them for the donation?’” Sigalas says of GreedyGiver’s origins.
“We stay competitive with the other deal sites. If Groupon is giving you a $100 item for $50, we say, ‘Donate $10 and get that $100 item for $40.’ You’re still paying the same amount. But you are donating to the charity of your choice and unlocking the deal. The donation amount is pre-determined with our deals” – see the above-mentioned $5, $10 or $20 – “but the customer determines the deal they want and the charity that gets their donation.
“My perspective is: ‘Hey I am donating $20 but in doing so, I am getting 50 percent off a dinner for two. I’m being rewarded for my donation. There’s a value there. That’s the thinking behind our tagline of ‘give more, get more.’ And there is the good karma aspect. We want to make donation your first thought.
“We feel like we’re the voice of small-to-medium charities,” he adds. “We’re exposing charities that don’t have that marketing budget to a market they would never be exposed to.”
That’s certainly true of charities such as the Ontario Rett Syndrome Association, the FCJ Refugee Centre and Canadian Dachshund Rescue, to name three currently on the GreedyGiver site. Yet the presence of established organizations such as Plan Canada, Children’s Wish and Sierra Club Canada augurs well for the efficacy of GreedyGiver’s business model.
In addition to the increased consumer profile and the funds, which are aggregated and dispersed quarterly, what else is in it for the charities? GreedyGiver, Sigalas explains, “incurs all the costs of marketing.
“And we feel as though we are helping to expose deal shoppers to important causes,” he says, stressing that buyers cannot access GreedyGiver deals without making a charitable donation.
Clearly though, the soon-to-be-launched crowdfunding stream of the business is perceived as the next wave.
“Put it this way,” Sigalas chuckles, “if a deal site and crowdfunding site had a love child, it would be a GreedyGiver. We are combining these two things so that charities provide the cause and we provide the perks. If you are raising money for a movie or a book, you can easily provide a perk. For a sports team trying to raise money, they can’t. So we hope to be able to provide those perks.
“The response we’ve been getting so far has been great,” he adds. “Some of our staffers quit their jobs to come work with us. We have interns and about four sales staff so things are progressing very quickly.
“The site allows people to be rewarded for their donations, to get that karma boost and it allows charities to receive money daily. Plus it makes people think about charities daily, not just at Christmastime. Charities win via donations, businesses win via revenue, and customers win through saving money and giving back to the community. Everyone wins.”
* Samaritanmag.com is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.