Creating a Social Legacy With Data for Good



I believe in the power of community, and I believe that everyone can do their part to benefit humanity. It sounds so daunting -- the will and ability to change the world. But it doesn't have to be such a behemoth undertaking, not with emerging technology shaping the way we connect, communicate, consume and contribute. There has never been a better time for people who want to make a difference to collectively lead the crusade for social change. The intersection of capitalism and activism is a perfect place to start, and provides common ground for customers and businesses to come together as a united front for good. 

According to the 2013 Cone Communications/Echo Global CSR Study, 93 percent of consumers want to see more of the products, services and retailers they use support worthy social, and/or environmental issues. And these consumers put their social currency where their mouth is. This is more than a trend. It's a movement. 

Case in point: At SXSW Interactive three years ago, the Foursquare Check-in for Charity campaign raised $15,000 for the Save the Children Haiti Relief Fund. Every time someone checked in on Foursquare in Austin TX, Microsoft and PayPal donated $0.25 to the initiative, increasing brand awareness around the corporate donors, the conference, and of course, the cause. 

During the holiday season last year, Lexus held a Check In for Charity campaign raising money for the Boy and Girls Clubs of America. For every check-in, the automaker donated $10 to the nonprofit. The app used for the campaign featured a leaderboard where a spotlight was put on the geographic area with the most users.

The buzz and sense of camaraderie created as a result of the two campaigns not only secured funding for worthy causes, it cultivated community -- that feeling of unity; the sentiment of "it's us against the world." When it comes to social good, it's us changing the world. As the aforementioned check-in for charity campaigns have proven, simple actions can lead to great change. 

But why only have an impact during special events or seasons, when we can do it seamlessly, easily and simultaneously across the globe? Why stop giving at the end of a campaign when we can create a legacy of good? 

That's what the team at eGood is aiming to do. Headquartered in Glendora, CA, their staff is obsessed with building communities through spreading the most infectious motivational tool in existence -- purpose. As the proud audience choice winner at TechCrunch Disrupt SF in September, this social enterprise knows a thing or two about mobilizing community. I had the pleasure of working with the eGood team over the summer and here's what I learned. 

The eGood platform is providing an authentic way for businesses to have purpose and support causes as part of their daily operations, while cultivating customer loyalty in the spirit of continuous giving. Customers are able to support the charities closest to their hearts through simply checking-in and shopping at any eGood-partnered business using the eGood smartphone app or in-store iPad. From there, eGood businesses donate 3, 5, or 10 percent of purchases to pre-selected causes. 

Here's how eGood works. 

Coffee is currently eGood's sweet spot, which is conducive to the cause and business model considering coffee drinkers are always coming back for refills. Classic Coffee, based in small, downtown Glendora, was the first business to use the eGood platform. They're averaging 60+ check-ins a day with over 18,602 check-ins to date with donations going towards charity. 

I'm on a big data for good kick, meaning I want people to be able to leave a legacy of good. The way I see it, privacy is long gone. We may as well optimize our digital footprint in the best possible way by learning to measure how our data does good in the world, and how we can build off of that data. 

"We see a lot of value in this data from all three perspectives -- business, causes and community," said eGood CEO Zack Swire. "When we looked at Foursquare to see how we're measuring up against some non-charity-based coffee check-ins, we found that Dee's Newbreak Coffee in downtown San Diego has 600 lifetime check-ins and has been listed on Foursquare for two years. We attribute social giving and community building to Classic Coffee's check-in consistency." 

Zack and his team's vision is to strengthen the bridge between businesses and customers across the U.S. through something that connects us all -- heart and the desire to give back and be a part of something bigger than ourselves. 

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