There’s recently been a wave of startups emerging in the group buying and flash sales space. The model whereby users purchase items at a discount is typically a straightforward, for-profit business. However, some sites are experimenting with more integrated, socially conscious approaches.
BloomSpot, a luxury flash sale site, offers a unique twist to discount buying with their online giving platform, Community Circles. Community Circles empowers members to contribute to a cause of their choice, at no cost, while shopping online. Any organization can easily create a Community Circle on BloomSpot, and anyone can join their Circle to support the cause. From that point on every time a Circle member makes a purchase, BloomSpot will donate a percentage back to the organization.
By integrating social impact into their service, the startup is able to not only differentiate their product but also build a level of loyalty with their users in an otherwise competitive space. Unlike sites with separate charitable initiatives, Community Circles is run as part of the BloomSpot’s core business; an innovative way to share their service while also giving back to local organizations. The community driven nature of Circles also makes the platform particularly unique. Circles is a tool that nonprofits can leverage and integrate into their development strategy. Supporters can grow their Circle to an infinite number of members and continue to raise funds with little to no effort for the organization.
Although their charitable giving is significant, BloomSpot’s primary focus remains on their core business: delivering high quality offers to quality customers. From a social enterprise standpoint, this emphasis on the product increases the effectiveness of their community giving platform. Users are not signing up just because they can support a cause – they are enjoying fantastic offers and supporting charities as an added benefit.
Community Circles has already captured the attention of many nonprofits and BloomSpot users. “DonorsChoose.org is really excited about our partnership with BloomSpot. It provides an innovative way for us to raise awareness and funding for public school classrooms, while providing our users with relevant offers in their cities,” explains Candice Chesson Jimenez, Director, West Region, DonorsChoose.org.
In tough economic times, organizations of all sizes are taking advantage of Circles as a source of online fundraising. Kiva, an international nonprofit that empowers individuals to lend to entrepreneurs across the globe, has Community Circles for their supporters to join in cities across the U.S. At the same time, more local organizations such as the San Francisco Food Bank are also getting great results.
As part of the business, BloomSpot develops personal relationships with each one of its Circle partners. The program relies on frequent user feedback to continuously improve the platform for the charities it supports. “Working with Circles at BloomSpot has been a delight”, says the Executive Director of a participating Circle “it’s the easiest fundraising we’ve ever done.”
You can easily join or start a Circle to contribute to a cause of your choice by visiting the BloomSpot Community Circles Page. Follow @BloomSpotCircle on Twitter or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to support a cause of your own or get more information!