CauseOn Blends Group Discounts and Community Giving

Over the last few months, the group buying trend has really taken off in social media, with companies like Groupon and Living Social becoming wildly popular. These companies offer deep discounts when a large enough group of people opt in and agree to purchase the item. These "daily deals" are offered at local restaurants, salons, hotels, shops, and so on and can range from 50% to 90% off.

Last month, CauseOn launched in Portland. Like these other group discount websites, CauseOn promises its users great deals. But CauseOn is focused on charity, not just coupons and says that 20% of its revenues will go to the cause of the customer's choice.

CauseOn launches with a number of cause partners: the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer foundation, the Dougy Center, Girls Inc., Oregon League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, TechStart Education Foundation, Oregon Robotics Tournament and Outreach Program, and the YWCA of Greater Portland. And CauseOn says it expects more partners to join soon.

Like many of these discount sites, CauseOn is only available in certain large cities at this time. It launched in Portland with coupons for local yoga classes, green stores, and wellness products. It will be interesting to see, as CauseOn expands, if it will maintain this blend of support for local causes as well as local businesses.

“We believe we are bringing a significantly different twist on the online coupon model that is becoming so popular with consumers,” says founder Craig Barnes. “Consumers are eager to find easy ways to give back to their communities, and CauseOn provides them with an easy way to give back while also controlling the causes that receive their contributions.”

According to a 2008 study on cause marketing and consumer behavior, 85 percent of Americans say they have a more positive image of a product or company when it supports a cause they care about and 79 percent say they would be likely to switch from one brand to another, when price and quality are about equal, if the other brand is associated with a good cause. CauseOn offers customers an opportunity to get discounts on local products and services, while giving back to the community. And it also gives local companies a way to generate business and align themselves with a group discount site that supports charitable causes.