A Location Based, Cause Marketing, Volunteer Mash-up

Could This Be the Future of Cause Marketing?
Oct 5, 2010 10:00 AM ET

Originally posted by Megan Strand on the Incouraged blog Oct 3, 2010.

Imagine this:  a mainstream location-based marketing app like Yelp, FourSquare, GoWalla or Scvngr that allows you to “check in” when you’re volunteering and earn points from a sponsoring organization for doing so.

It would go something like this:  You find a volunteer opportunity through an organization like VolunteerMarch. When you arrive at your volunteer gig, you check into Yelp under a special volunteer designation using your smart phone.  Because a partnership has been established between Yelp, VolunteerMarch and a large retailer like Starbucks, you get volunteer points.  After you’ve volunteered so many times per month or per year, your points become redeemable at any Starbucks just by showing your smart phone.  Once your points are redeemed, your volunteer points go into an archival status.

Additional partnerships could be forged with other retailers so that once archived volunteer points reach a certain threshold, the volunteer would be eligible for other rewards.  Imagine once you reach 20 hours of volunteering, you receive a $20 gift cart from Target.

Maybe the folks at Benevity could rig the whole thing up.

The purpose for doing this is not to incent people to volunteer.  I’m a purist and feel that volunteering should be intrinsically motivated.  The purpose for this type of mash-up is essentially cause marketing.  Companies will demonstrate what they’re all about by rewarding a behavior of which they approve:  volunteering.  That sends a clear message and potentially brings in new customers upon point redemption.

A location-based marketing (LBM) application like Yelp could gain a significant competitive advantage in an increasingly crowded space by being the one LBM application that takes the lead and systematizes volunteer check-ins on a large scale.

Just an idea.

Would it work?  What are the drawbacks to this type of mash up?  Always love your feedback!


About Benevity

In today’s climate where companies have a growing need to deliver authentic social responsibility and community investment programs, and where individuals feel more strongly about supporting worthy causes with micro-donations, Benevity offers a powerful and incremental way for corporations to make a difference. Benevity’s goal is to help build user-driven giving opportunities into all types of existing online interactions to involve customers and employees in giving to causes they care about; building greater loyalty, differentiation and customer and employee stickiness.   Companies can use Benevity to create choice-driven cause marketing, workplace giving and other charitable programs. Benevity wants to help companies and their customers, employees and partners turn “feel good” into real good, and change the landscape of philanthropy in the process. Find out more at www.benevity.org and by viewing our short video at www.benevity.org/goodness3.0.