Give Purpose to Your Purchases with Toodalu

April 20, 2012

4:00 pm

If you’re interested in both giving and getting, Chicago-based Toodalu can help you rack up cash for yourself and your favorite charity – all by simply going about your daily shopping routine.

Toodalu is a new breed of loyalty rewards that generates charitable giving to the causes you choose, each time you spend at a partner location. When you link your credit or debit card to your Toodalu account, and use it pay at any Toodalu location, 5% of your purchase is donated to the charity of your choice, and you will also receive 5% cash back directly to your credit card. All it takes is a swipe of your card at a partner location because the entire process is automated.

Since charitable giving has been down in recent years, any form of cause marketing that easily integrates into consumers’ routines is ok by me. Instead of having to cut a check to the charities they support, Toodalu users  know they can simply eat at a particular restaurant, for example, and money from their tab will go directly to their favorite cause.

And from a merchant partner’s point of view, customers may be more likely to choose their business over another if they know their purchase will have a positive impact. In other words, cause marketing is good for the cause and good for the business. Toodalu also makes the merchant partners’ side of things as seamless as possible because there are no check-ins, punch cards, coupons or scanners, and the Toodalu technology fully integrates with any location that accepts credit cards.

The Toodalu team includes founder and CEO Todd O’Hara, CTO Ravi Singh, and Chief Web Developer Chris Lubinski. O’Hara believes this team is the critical component to Toodalu’s success.

“It’s all about the TEAM! No matter how great your idea is and no matter how hard you work, along the startup road there are going to be pivotal changes in your product or services direction. Without an awesome team that works great together and can handle the stresses of adaptation and change, you will never survive. I would urge all entrepreneurs in the early stages to focus more on their team and co-founders than the product itself. A great team can build a great product, but a bad team will struggle to build even a bad product.”

The Toodalu team showcased their product at Tech Cocktail’s Chicago Mixer last night – you can check out the company and their loyalty program at

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Meg Rayford is a communications consultant based in Northern Virginia. She previously spent two years as the Director of Public Relations for a nonprofit startup, where she learned a lot about providing clean water for impoverished countries, even within the confines of a bootstrapped startup.

She is the editor of Tech Cocktail, and she develops media strategies for companies in Washington, DC and Virginia. You can read her most recent work in the marketing chapter of the upcoming book, “Social Innovation and Impact in Nonprofit Leadership,” which will be published in Spring 2014 by Springer Publishing. Follow her @megkrayford.

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