June 30, 2011
Daily deals are all about getting what you want, from discounts at your favorite Thai restaurant to free money on Amazon. But now you can use them to help others, too. Deals for Deeds is a DC-based deal site that donates 5-15 percent of purchases to local nonprofits. After launching last year in DC, it expanded to Baltimore in May and has its sights set on Philadelphia.
“It really works out for everybody,” says cofounder Josh Hoffman, who started Deals for Deeds with fellow University of Pennsylvania graduate Harrison Miller after a stint teaching English in Guatemala. “You’re getting a great deal and a portion of the sale is supporting a cause you care about.”
Early on, Hoffman and Miller saw the daily deal space gaining momentum and knew they needed a new twist. Both DC natives, they realized that pairing deals with charity would help them stand out and benefit the community.
While some philanthropic deal sites like Sharing Spree let subscribers choose their own charity, Deals for Deeds picks one charity per week and helps it raise money for a specific project. Subscribers can see their dollars going toward computers for three students, a hundred children’s books for a domestic violence shelter, or hot breakfast for 400 homeless people, for example. So far, Deals for Deeds has raised almost $30,000 for local charities.
With niche daily deal sites serving moms, techies, and everyone in between, does its focus on charity give Deals for Deeds an edge? On top of the usual benefits, subscribers get the satisfaction of helping their community and vendors earn a reputation for philanthropy. “It helps vendors connect with their customers on a different level and form a relationship that will hopefully create loyalty,” explains Hoffman.
But to make that happen, Deals for Deeds has to do the extra work coordinating with charities and take a cut in initial profits. Hoffman says they make up for that loss because charities drive their own following to the site, which currently has about 25,000 subscribers. In the end, I suspect that Deals for Deeds doesn’t have a significant advantage over other daily deal providers–but Hoffman and his team are still accomplishing their goal of making a difference.
The guest author of this post wishes to remain anonymous.
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