Australians can now give to their favourite charities for free through a world-first website that diverts online advertising dollars to good causes.
MakeSomeChange.com rewards people for spending time online, with a virtual currency called Change. People can give their Change to charities, which receive a real cash donation.
From today, leading brands such as Telstra, Schweppes, Officeworks, AAMI and RateCity will be giving away Change coins at MakeSomeChange.com.
“It’s fun, easy, free and creates a real-time game out of giving,” MakeSomeChange.com CEO Michael Battle said.
“You can earn Change by doing things like watching movie trailers, discovering new music or getting vouchers, then give the money to causes you care about such as the RSPCA, Act for Kids or Oaktree.
“We’re aiming to give $100 million to charities in five years.”
Hear and Say executive director Dr Dimity Dornan said Make Some Change could be a game changer for charities.
“It gives us a free, recurring income stream so that we can focus more on our core purpose,” Dr Dornan said. “And it gives everyone the chance to be a changemaker.”
Opportunity International Australia CEO Robert Dunn said it could save millions of lives.
“Through friends telling friends, and sharing on social media, the exponential growth in giving could dramatically change the world,” Dunn said.
Michael and co-founder Jesse Richardson are former advertising creative directors who wanted to harness the booming digital economy to help good causes, and create positive change in the world.
“Doing good has to make business sense to prosper,” Richardson said.
“Australia’s $4.6 billion digital ad market is a perfect place to start – businesses can direct part of their ad budgets to charity, as well as connecting better with their customers.”
Australian arm of global media agency PHD CEO Mark Coad said that despite the massive growth of digital advertising there are still significant challenges.
“With the rise of adblocking technology and growing consumer dissatisfaction with ads that annoy and interrupt, both advertisers and users are hungry for a better experience,” Coad said.
“This model gives people an incentive to engage with brands, while providing businesses with a genuinely receptive audience, and also creates a passive revenue stream for charities which everyone can feel good about.”
AAMI executive manager of marketing Josh Wittner said consumers were increasingly looking for businesses to do more than just sell.
“The more that brands give back to the community, the more their customers want to support them – it simply makes good business sense,” Wittner said.
Following its Australian launch, MakeSomeChange.com would look at international expansion as well as other ways to integrate Change into customer rewards programs, mobile games, and ecommerce.
One million free Change coins are being given away to launch the currency.