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The Buy-One-Give-One Business Model: Does it Work?

9 Jan

This is a guest post by Edgar Frohme.

The term BOGO once referred to consumers getting an item for free after they made a similar purchase. This drove customers to stores and websites because it made them feel like they were getting a great deal. However, a new form of BOGO has developed in which consumers themselves aren’t receiving the benefit from the purchase, rather, it’s donated. Now BOGO commonly refers to buy-one-give-one and rewards consumers by donating a good to those in need. While this seems like a better, altruistic alternative to traditional BOGO, does it work? The answer depends upon whom you ask.

Is BOGO Feasible?

As any good businessperson would want to know, how do BOGO programs affect revenue? By initiating a BOGO program, business owners are essentially obliging themselves to a future debt when a good is purchased. Before any BOGO program is started, it’s advised to investigate how this will affect the company’s cash flow. This may be easier for some than others.

hand holding the heart. charity

Using services such as American Express cash flow, which allows business owners more flexibility on when and how money is spent and paid back, make BOGO simpler to implement. Cash-flow services provide business owners with the opportunity to use BOGO programs without worrying about the financial commitment they’re making to customers and those receiving charitable gifts.

The most widely recognized success story with BOGO is that of Tom’s Shoes, which donates a pair of shoes for every pair of shoes bought. More than 2 million shoes have been given across the world, and Tom’s Shoes has become a chic choice for those wanting to help others. However, this business model has come under fire recently when it was learned that, while this program is profitable for Tom’s and well meaning, it might have negative effects. Charitable gifts abroad can have a distorting effect on developing markets by undermining local business and creating an unsustainable aid-based economy.

3 Questions to Consider When Developing a BOGO Program.

What’s the Local Market? – If the GO of BOGO improperly skews the market for a good, it may do harm. Undercutting local manufacturers and retailers who earn a living from those products has a net negative effect on the local community.

What’s the Production Chain of the BOGO Company? – Many times, a more-positive effect can come when the supply chain comes to the community. Sourcing materials and manufacturing not only puts money in the pockets of the local community but also provide much-needed skills.

Does the Product Solve a Root Cause of the Problem? – Temporary relief is appreciated and valuable but does not address the overarching problems present in a community. Charitable gifts should be centered on a sustainable, long-lasting way to support an impoverished part of the world.

BOGO programs are a net benefit for business, consumers and those they help only with proper forethought. By investigating what possible effects a BOGO program will have on recipients, business owners can confidently use these programs to create a win-win-win situation.

Social Good Stars: Global Philanthropy Group’s (@GlobalPhilGrp) Maggie Neilson

27 Apr

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Amy Neumann

Writer, Speaker; Social Good Marketing and Branding Consultant

Social Good Stars: Global Philanthropy Group’s Maggie Neilson

Posted: 04/26/2012 12:21 pm

This is the seventh installment of the Impact series, #SocialGoodStars. The people highlighted here are passionate, dedicated philanthropists, strengths to their communities, and social media masters. They also happily share their vast knowledge with others, making them shine as leaders in the Social Good world. You can read the seventh interview with Ryan Scott, CEO of Causecast, here.

“The world is more malleable than you think and it’s waiting for you to hammer it into shape.” ~ Bono

When it comes to world-shaping, Maggie Neilson, Partner and CEO at Global Philanthropy Group, has tremendous insight. With a background including working with some of the world’s best-know philanthropies and brands with Social Good vision, she has first-hand experience with helping to shape and develop impactful projects globally. Many of her clients are celebrities with a wide reach and equally big passion to help. Additionally, Maggie was on the United Nations‘ International Year of Microcredit Leadership Team, Synergos Insitute‘s international development programs around child malnutrition in India, sustainable global food programs and health programs in Africa, and has been a featured speaker at Harvard and Columbia on microfinance. She weaves her love of helping into every aspect of her life and her work, and shares some of her wisdom below.

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Photo courtesy of Global Philanthropy Group

You and your partner Trevor Neilson have worked with many well-known philanthropists, such as Bill Gates, Bono, Sir Richard Branson, President Bill Clinton, Rachael Ray, and numerous others. Are there strategies they share that individuals and organizations can also use?

Yes. Each of these individuals — as well as the corporations we work with — effectively leverages their unique strengths and passions. Bill Gates’ analytical approach and focus on measurable outcomes is unparalleled. Sir Branson deploys Virgin’s marketing genius to help launch new philanthropists. President’ Clinton uses his global network to build high powered coalitions. Rachael’s cooking expertise and approachability enable her to uniquely help people improve their eating. Every person can use what they have to make a change. Just look at what you care about, what you have and who you know. Some of the best philanthropic efforts I’ve seen in recent years have been by kids using what they have.

With your long track record of successful international projects, what changes have you seen in the global landscape because of things like social media and instant access to information?

Social media and information access have been an incredibly powerful tools in philanthropic work. Whether it is a rural farmer receiving crop price data via mobile phone or millions of young people learning quickly about African child soldiers from the Kony 2012 campaign, we see things that were not imaginable a decade ago. However, as with all tools, there is a downside. Pimps and johns can reach sex slaves within a click or two. I heard a john once say that he could order a girl as fast as a pizza. That’s sobering to say the least.

Based on trends you see now, are there new ways you envision individuals and causes interacting a few years from now?

Yes. Technology advances and the challenging economic environment are going to simultaneously result in more informed donors due to better information services and reporting as well as more effective, outcomes-oriented nonprofit organizations. In some cases, this will be due to mergers and acquisitions among duplicative organizations.

Having worked with the United Nations on microfinance/microcredit projects, what role do you see microfinance playing globally now, with the growth of smartphones, apps, text-based fundraising, etc.? What are your thoughts on microdonations becoming a bigger piece of fundraising internationally?

The current state of microfinance is transitional. Whether it achieves its potential will largely be determined by three issues; How can we protect already vulnerable people from abuses by unsavory microfinance practitioners? How can we scale up the provision of microfinance services like savings and insurance which help protect against the natural life events that often lead to extreme poverty? And how can we continue to unleash more commercial capital for microfinance use by low income customers?

I am very excited about the potential of microdonations. If, as I mentioned, we can improve the quantity, quality and usability of data available to donors, this could create a sizable, nimble funding stream.

Can you highlight a couple good examples of kids being involved in causes? What are some resources you’d suggest to parents who want to help their kids get involved and develop a passion for helping others?

This is one of my personal passions. We are in a time of great change in terms of who does what between the government, non-profit and corporate sectors. Everyone – including every person of every age – has the opportunity to be involved in philanthropy. Two good resources are Clover by Clover and Acme Sharing Company. Also organizations like Baby Buggy let parents give back in a way that is easy and makes a difference.

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Maggie Neilson, Partner and CEO, Global Philanthropy Group. Photo courtesy of Maggie Neilson.

Learn more about Maggie and Global Philanthropy Group’s work on Facebook, Twitter @mrneilson, and LinkedIn.

Amy Neumann is a social entrepreneur, writer, speaker and consultant on social good marketing. Check out her Charity Ideas Blog and follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas.

Ask 5 for 5 – Help Africa #Ask5for5

19 Sep

Guest Blogger: Sarah Lenssen from #Ask5for5
Family photos by Mike Fiechtner Photography

Thank you and nearly 150 other bloggers from around the world for allowing me to share a story with you today, during Social Media Week.

A hungry child in East Africa can’t wait. Her hunger consumes her while we decide if we’ll respond and save her life. In Somalia, children are stumbling along for days, even weeks, on dangerous roads and with empty stomachs in search of food and water. Their crops failed for the third year in a row. All their animals died. They lost everything. Thousands are dying along the road before they find help in refugee camps. 

At my house, when my three children are hungry, they wait minutes for food, maybe an hour if dinner is approaching. Children affected by the food crisis in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia aren’t so lucky. Did you know that the worst drought in 60 years is ravaging whole countries right now, as you read this? Famine, a term not used lightly, has been declared in Somalia. This is the world’s first famine in 20 years.12.4 million people are in need of emergency assistance and over 29,000 children have died in the last three months alone. A child is dying every 5 minutes. It it estimated that 750,000 people could die before this famine is over. Take a moment and let that settle in.

The media plays a major role in disasters. They have the power to draw the attention of society to respond–or not. Unfortunately, this horrific disaster has become merely a footnote in most national media outlets. News of the U.S. national debt squabble and the latest celebrity’s baby bump dominate headlines. That is why I am thrilled that nearly 150 bloggers from all over the world are joining together today to use the power of social media to make their own headlines; to share the urgent need of the almost forgotten with their blog readers. Humans have the capacity to care deeply for those who are suffering, but in a situation like this when the numbers are too huge to grasp and the people so far away, we often feel like the little we can do will be a drop in the ocean, and don’t do anything at all.

When news of the famine first hit the news in late July, I selfishly avoided it. I didn’t want to read about it or hear about it because I knew I would feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable. I wanted to protect myself. I knew I would need to do something if I knew what was really happening. You see, this food crisis is personal. I have a 4-year-old son and a 1 yr-old daughter who were adopted from Ethiopia and born in regions now affected by the drought. If my children still lived in their home villages, they would be two of the 12.4 million. My children: extremely hungry and malnourished? Gulp. I think any one of us would do anything we could for our hungry child. But would you do something for another mother’s hungry child?

My friend and World Vision staffer, Jon Warren, was recently in Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya–the largest refugee camp in the world with over 400,000 people. He told me the story of Isnino Siyat, 22, a mother who walked for 10 days and nights with her husband, 1 yr-old-baby, Suleiman, and 4 yr.-old son Adan Hussein, fleeing the drought in Somalia. When she arrived at Dadaab, she built the family a shelter with borrowed materials while carrying her baby on her back. Even her dress is borrowed. As she sat in the shelter on her second night in camp she told Jon, “I left because of hunger. It is a very horrible drought which finished both our livestock and our farm.” The family lost their 5 cows and 10 goats one by one over 3 months, as grazing lands dried up. “We don’t have enough food now…our food is finished. I am really worried about the future of my children and myself if the situation continues.”

Will you help a child like Baby Suleiman? Ask5for5 is a dream built upon the belief that you will.

That something I knew I would need to do became a campaign called #Ask5for5 to raise awareness and funds for famine and drought victims. The concept is simple, give $5 and ask five of your friends to give $5, and then they each ask five of their friends to give $5 and so on–in nine generations of 5x5x5…we could raise $2.4 Million! In one month, over 750 people have donated over $25,000! I set up a fundraiser at See Your Impact and 100% of the funds will go to World Vision, an organization that has been fighting hunger in the Horn of Africa for decades and will continue long after this famine has ended. Donations can multiply up to 5 times in impact by government grants to
help provide emergency food, clean water, agricultural support,
healthcare, and other vital assistance to children and families suffering in the Horn.

I need you to help me save lives. It’s so so simple; here’s what you need to do:

  1. Donate $5 or more on this page (http://seeyourimpact.org/members/ask5for5)
  2. Send an email to your friends and ask them to join us.
  3. Share #Ask5for5 on Facebook and Twitter!

I’m looking for another 100 bloggers to share this post on their blogs throughout Social Media Week. Email me at ask5for5@gmail.com if you’re interested in participating this week.

A hungry child doesn’t wait. She doesn’t wait for us to finish the other things on our to-do list, or get to it next month when we might have a little more money to give. She doesn’t wait for us to decide if she’s important enough to deserve a response. She will only wait as long as her weakened little body will hold on…please respond now and help save her life. Ask 5 for 5.

Thank you on behalf of all of those who will be helped–you are saving lives and changing history.

p.s. Please don’t move on to the next website before you donate and email your friends right now. It only takes 5 minutes and just $5, and if you’re life is busy like mine, you probably won’t get back to it later. Let’s not be a generation that ignores hundreds of thousands of starving people, instead let’s leave a legacy of compassion. You have the opportunity to save a life today!
 

Social good plus technology!

10 Sep

 

Amy Neumann

440-867-2155

Cleveland, OH via Los Angeles

email: amy@amyneumann.com


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