People are going to buy things. Many of the same people want to give to charities. Why not tie the two activities together? That’s the idea on which SocialVest, a website that launched in February of last year, is working. The site pairs with major companies like Sunglass Hut and FedEx, said Adam Ross, SocialVest’s founder. Individuals register their credit cards with SocialVest, and when they make a purchase with any of the associated companies and retailers, a small percentage of the money spent is directed to their SocialVest account. From there, users can direct the money to any of the 1.5 million charities SocialVest supports.
Currently, the company has under 50,000 members who have given an average of $15 each to more than 100 charitable organizations.
Ross said his company has plans to partner with nonprofits and universities, and that they plan to begin marketing efforts on select college campuses in the fall. “The idea is to engage consumers and brands in democratized corporate philanthropy,” Ross said. “A lot of brands give money to lots of nonprofits, but how does that resonate with me as a consumer?” Ross says that SocialVest does not investigate the companies it allows its users to donate to at this point. “There’s always a challenge when you try to cull the options. There’s always pushback,” Ross said. All charities on the site are registered 501(c)3 nonprofits.