Author: Carmen Adamson

If you follow Stanford Social Innovation Review, you have probably noticed their series on corporate purpose. “When companies lead in driving social and environmental change, they position themselves to build deeper bonds, expand their consumer base and enlist others to amplify their brand message”- Stanford Social Innovation Why Purpose? Why Now? Series. There is clear evidence in the value of corporations investing in purpose, including Environmental Social Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility – check out this article on Why ESG and CSR are Here to Stay.

This article summarizes recent and relevant data on the relationship between companies that lead with purpose and consumers, as well as provides an interview with the co-founder of Change to discuss how companies can engage their customers to join their philanthropic efforts.

Consumer’s Relationship Towards Companies that Lead with Purpose

We compiled research from a Markenstein Survey, the PwC ESG Series, and the 2019 Porter Novelli Purpose Biometrics Study to give you a comprehensive look at how consumers feel towards brands that lead with purpose and what they expect from those brands. Expectations include consumers wanting to know what brands are doing to address social and environmental issues, which means not only does your company need to have ESG and CSR business practices, but you need to communicate that for consumers to see.

Engaging Consumer with Your Corporate Philanthropy: Interview with Amar Shah, President and Co-founder of Change

I recently read a post on Linkedin by Amar Shah, president and co-founder of Change, titled “A New Era of Philanthropy”, where he told the story of how Made in America embedded giving into their mobile app, social media, on stage and in-between acts, to engage their consumers through their entire experience with the brand to be a part of their philanthropic efforts. Change allows companies to build giving experiences for their customers by adding things like a donation round-up as part of the online checkout process. We interviewed Amar to learn more about why he’s passionate about this software and how they envision companies engaging consumers to participate alongside them in social responsibility.

What is CHANGE and how can companies use this to build giving experiences for their consumers?

Change is a donation processing platform that powers customer-facing giving experiences. Companies around the world use our platform for charitable initiatives ranging from roundups at checkout, carbon-neutral shipping, loyalty programs, to even charitable NFTs. Companies can jumpstart their giving experiences in minutes with our Shopify app or build a custom experience with our Donation APIs.

What other ways can companies engage consumers in philanthropy besides the traditional ‘Would you like to donate to XYZ charity?’

Companies can add donation rewards to their loyalty program to boost user engagement. Companies love it because they’re not left with the liability of unused points in their loyalty programs. Consumers love it because they’re able to donate their leftover points to a cause they are passionate about. Separately, companies are always trying to drive particular user actions — anything from completing customer surveys to trying new in-app features. Instead of sending over a $5 gift card, companies can build a much more meaningful relationship with their customers by gifting a donation on their behalf to a cause that consumer is passionate about.

How do you see this impacting the future of corporate philanthropy?

The 2020s are the decade of purpose and corporate philanthropy is the new way to build a brand community. Customers are demanding change from corporations and are aligning themselves with companies that reflect their personal values. Today, we’re just scratching the surface of corporate philanthropy and this market will continue to grow. From charitable NFTs to luxury fundraiser experiences, companies will continue to innovate and launch new philanthropic initiatives.

What benefits do companies see by offering giving experiences for consumers? (Increased revenue? Improvement in ESG? Improved brand perception/social media presence?) 

As mentioned, customers choose brands that align with their values. Giving experiences boost customer retention and loyalty, leading to increased revenue for the company. One of the most interesting benefits we’ve seen is increased community engagement. After launching their giving campaigns, brands we’ve partners with have seen heightened engagement on their social media and community forums, like Discord.

And as a follow up to the question above, what are the benefits to nonprofits?

Nonprofits have access to an entirely new suite of software tools they can offer corporate partners to support their cause. 100% of the funds processed by our donor-advised fund, Our Change Foundation, is donated to the nonprofit. Our fundamental goal is to build a world of transparent giving, so we don’t charge nonprofits to receive funding – whether it’s selling NFTs or joining a corporate loyalty program.

Can you talk about your vision for how this can ignite Millennials and Gen Z in participating in driving social impact?

The younger generation knows how to tap into the power of social media to increase community consciousness and impact change. With every donation, Change generates social media content that is unique to the brand and nonprofit. This allows customers to easily share their impact online – bridging their physical and digital worlds. Millennials and Gen Z may not have large savings, but the rising generation is more charitable than ever. This social sharing feature will enable everyday moments to be tied to meaningful donations which boosts awareness for critical causes like climate change, social justice movements, gender equality, and more. 

Change is Blackbaud partner as part of the Social Good Startup Program

An Exciting Frontier for Partnerships

The interview with Change + the insights on consumers’ relationships towards brands that lead with purpose showcase an exciting new frontier for corporate philanthropy. I can only imagine the social impact that will occur when companies start to leverage new tools like donation checkout round-up or donation loyalty programs. I love the ability for consumers to easily share content about their giving experiences. This type of innovation allows companies and consumers to truly partner together on spreading awareness for causes they are passionate about.

More from this Series


Workforce Trends that are Here to Stay | The Power of Purpose Driven Work


Why ESG and CSR are Here to Stay

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