Charity of the Month: The Giving Machine
PUBLISHED: 09:08 13 March 2016
A bright idea to turn our online shopping into a charitable exercise is helping thousands of good causes
Winner of the 2015 Hertfordshire Business Awards Social Enterprise category, The Giving Machine is the brainchild of four friends, Jonathan Bayly, Mark Clark, Craig McKenzie and Richard Morris, who in 2006 decided to create a business using their combined skills to benefit others rather than generate profits for shareholders.
Based in Bishop’s Stortford, The Giving Machine is based on a simple but powerful idea: to generate money for charity through a retail hub website.
The website thegivingmachine.com links to more than 2,000 retailers’ websites, including Amazon, Play, John Lewis, eBay, Sainsbury’s and Next. Anyone clicking a link can become a ‘giver’, just by buying an item as you normally would. This is because the commission given by the retailer to The Giving Machine for being a portal is converted into a donation to the charity or charities selected by the buyer from an extensive list. To date, more than 1.5 million donations have been made to 209,967 good causes and the number of recipients is growing.
When a buyer signs up to the site (for free) they can choose up to four good causes to support. A search online will also reveal if a retailer is a member of The Giving Machine. Install a ‘shop and give’ reminder on your computer and every time a search is made for a product sold by a member, a purple heart icon will appear. This reminds you to visit The Giving Machine website and make your purchase via them.
It was estimated (by Vouchercodes’ parent company RetailMeNot) that we spent an average of £1,174 in 2015 on online shopping in the UK. So with commission rates varying between 1-10 per cent you could be donating over £100 per year. You can also boost your donation by joining gift aid, which means the tax man will add 28p to every pound generated.
To support a chosen good cause, visit thegivingmachine.com and sign up as a ‘giver.’ If you can’t find the charity you want to support, simply introduce them to the site so they can sign up and start to benefit from being a member.