Startup Spotlight: Donate with Free2give

A donation that doesn't cost you a penny
Written by Wendy McAuliffe, Contributor
Charity site Free2give launched last week in attempt to rescue the bruised image of e-commerce. The fundraising site hopes to encourage online shoppers to buy their Amazon book or HMV video game through free2give.co.uk, so that a percentage of the purchase can be given to charity. Free2give hopes to establish a cyberfundraising stream for major charities such as Barnado's and Cancer Research Fund. The procedure involves the shopper making one extra click before making their purchase, and won't cost them a penny extra. Visitors to the site must initially select the charity that they wish the donation to go to from a drop down menu on the home page. Free2give make this process easier by dividing the 40 charities involved into nine main cause groups such as "children" and "environment". Once a charity has been selected, the consumer then goes through to a shopping mall that contains links to all of the registered retailers. A purchase is then made as normal. In return for building the site and drawing in traffic, the listed retailers will pay up to 15 percent commission to Free2give for every purchase that is made on their site. Free2give retain 50 percent of this money, with the remaining half going straight to the designated charity. John Wakeman, managing director of Free2give, admits that the success of the site has suffered from the recent decrease in enthusiasm about e-commerce. He is however confident that more than five percent of online shoppers will choose to purchase from a charity site. Five percent of all credit card holders currently hold a charity card, which accounts for seven percent of the total expenditure on credit cards within the UK. The truth of the matter is that a lot of people donate to charities for the recognition that they receive in return. Wakeman agreed that the anonymity of donating online through charity sites such as Free2give could remove the peer pressure needed to make that extra click. The service: Free2give.co.uk
What it does: collects a commission from registered retailers, half of which goes to charity
Who it's for: hardened online shoppers
The verdict: this depends on the state of the e-commerce market
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