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SocialVest: An antidote to brand and consumer apathy

August 4, 2010 Comments

When it comes to making the world a better place, corporations are often accused of apathy (the flip-side of blind self-interest). But if consumers are truly committed to social change, they must answer the same challenge. That’s why I think SocialVest is such as smart idea. It makes giving almost effortless removing yet another barrier to consumer participation. Here’s how it works.

SocialVest users register credit cards on the company’s website. Then when they make purchases online or from any of a list of retail partners, a small rebate (ranging from 0.5 to 10 percent of the purchase set by the store) goes into the user’s personal account. That money can then be redirected to the user’s favorite non-profit organization.

The real power here is leveraging existing consumer buying habits and repurposing a fraction of the product’s price to the user’s chosen cause. SocialVest takes care of all the middleman/middlewoman stuff, and then users get to choose where the money goes and  tell their peers about it.

There are so many obstacles to change on the scale we so desperately need. But companies like Leap CR (which makes it easy for corporations to enlist their staff in volunteer programs), Causecast (that makes cause marketing simple for brands) and SocialVest, help to overcome this issue of apathy. Changes in mindset are hard enough without expecting massive changes in behavior as well. If we can get consumers to make mindful shopping choices, to support brands that act responsibly and to purchase goods from those that dedicate a portion of the sale proceeds to causes, we are well on our way to re-purposing everyday purchases.

To find out what brands are a part of the program and to participate yourself, visit SocialVest. If you’re a brand, jump on board and make a difference to your customers and worthy causes.

Do you think this approach will make more consumers participate? Do you think brands will recognize the value in participating?

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About Simon Mainwaring

We First training and consulting helps the world’s most innovative brands tell the story of the good work they do in ways that build their reputation, employee productivity, sales and social impact.

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