The Los Angeles Times had an article the other day called “Causes offers gift cards for charitable giving.” Jessica Guynn covers the launch of charity gift cards by Causes that are available in 800 Safeway and Vons supermarkets in California.
Causes is selling $25 and $50 prepaid gift cards and donors get a tax write-off. Recipients log on to Causes.com/giftcard to choose from more than 1 million nonprofits. The article notes that “gift cards will be the No. 1 item on wish lists this year, with 57% of people asking for them, predicts the National Retail Federation.”
The idea of charity gift cards is not a new one. Companies like TisBest and Network for Good’s Good Card have been available for a few years now. The difference is that Causes is continuing to blur the line between online and offline activity.
This gift card program shows that Causes is looking for ways to diversify giving options. That means taking things offline and into a traditional retail environment. Will it work? Who knows. Is it worth paying attention to? Absolutely.
I was quoted in the article noting that less than 1% of online giving happens through social media today. Right now, most social media efforts should be focused on friendraising not fundraising. But, peer to peer fundraising has been one area where social media has had very positive results. Check out the “Making Event Participants More Successful with Social Media” white paper to learn more.