Google has launched a philanthropic counterpart to invest in projects in the developing world and ebay is helping charities raise funds by selling their second hand goods online with no charge.
Whole Food Markets, the parent company of UK organic retail chain Fresh and Wild, has set up a foundation to mark its 25th anniversary. Five percent of company sales made in all its stores on October 25, estimated at around $500,000, have been channelled into the Whole Planet Foundation. The foundation aims to tackle poverty in developing countries where the company has business interests, by funding collateral-free micro-loans to poor women who wish to start their own businesses. Contact Asley Hawkins, Whole Foods Market 00 1 512 542 0381 http://www.wholefoods.com
Wallets and Gromit
Bradford & Bingley is helping to raise funds for Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Foundation. with the launch of two new savings accounts for children and young adults up to 25 years old. Bradford & Bingley is to donate £1 to Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Foundation for the first 20,000 accounts opened. Contact Mike Hammond, Bradford & Bingley 0121 633 8143 http://www.bbg.co.uk
eBay has launched a service for charities to raise funds by selling second-hand goods donated by the public online, that waives the commission normally charged on each sale. Fundraising opportunities will not, however, be limited to charities. Anyone selling goods on eBay can choose to donate all or part of the sale price to a charity, and ebay will administer the Gift Aid process. The company will automatically take money from the accounts of sellers who do not pay the money promised to a charity within two weeks of the sale’s completion, giving buyers clear reassurance that the money will go to charity. eBay has also pledged to match donations made by sellers, by giving the equivalent proportion of its commission to the charity. Contact eBay givingworks.ebay.com
Google for good
Google has launched a philanthropic counterpart, Google.org, to invest in projects in the developing world. The company will contribute 1% of Google’s stock and profits to the new venture, which has a starting endowment of around $90m. Google also intends to invest a further $175m in socially progressive private companies as well as non-profit organisations. Initial programmes include a partnership with a non-profit venture fund that invests in market-based solutions to global poverty; and a partnership to help budding entrepreneurs in Ghana turn good business ideas into thriving enterprises with the launch of a Business Plan Competition and an Entrepreneurship Development Program. Contact Ema Linaker, Google 020 7031 3130 http://www.google.org
Not that long ago – remember the dot.com bubble? – apparently sane people argued that the new information and communication technologies heralded a revolution in virtually everything we did (and then bet their life savings on it). In fact, come the inevitable fall-out, some things have changed. A few viable new businesses did emerge, like Google and e-Bay. Nice to see both now making moves towards being good corporate citizens: the former not just doing the ‘usual’ 1% philanthropy thing, but also looking for social enterprises to invest in; the latter interestingly trying to apply its core competencies and so extend its business model.
What of the impact of the ICT ‘revolution’ on personal donations? The evidence is patchy.
Research in America after the tsunami showed that internet donations helped capture sudden impulse gifts from people unlikely to get involved with regular charity fundraising. In the UK, CAF has found that internet donors tend to be younger than regular contributors and more willing to use tax efficient methods. Among companies using their intranets to promote employee-volunteering opportunities, participation tends to be higher. But this evidence of real growth in people and money contributions from ICT is largely anecdotal – a case for the Google Foundation to investigate?
Corporate Citizenship Briefing, issue no: 84 – November, 2005