SocialVest Allows You to Do Good While Shopping

The Atlanta based startup SocialVest announces today an open beta of its online and in-store shopping platform that aims to make it easier for consumers to support their favorite non-profits. The free service rewards users with cash back from purchases at over 500 retails. The money that is earned by users can then be donated to over one million registered non-profits.

To use the site, customers shop via an online mall or in the physical stores which which SocialVest has partnered. The company then provides users with a rebate ranging from 1% to 15% of the purchase price. Funds accrue in users' accounts and then can be pledged to non-profits at no cost to the consumer.

The site is very easy to use. When you sign up at the site, you register your credit card, so that SocialVest can track your purchases at one of their over 500 partners (including Target, Macy’s, and Best Buy). Even if you don't want to sign up with your credit card for the site, you can still earn the cash rewards by shopping directly via the SocialVest platform.

Research indicates that 83% of consumers have said they are willing to modify their buying habits if it would make the world a better place. And research also suggests that social media branding can help businesses improve their sales. It's no surprise from these figures that personal, social recommendations, along with a sense of corporate social responsibility help shape the ways in which people prefer to spend their money.

SocialVest also announces one angel round of funding, and says it's in the process of completing another round. These funds will be used to develop both the SocialVest platform and its partnerships. While free to consumers, SocialVest collects fees for connecting companies with these cause-conscious customers.

We have seen a number of startups blending social good, group buying, and non-profit donation lately. The growth in online sales and in social media are merging to provide a lot of opportunities for companies and shoppers to support charitable causes.

“Our goal is to create a platform that aligns consumer purchasing with the needs of non-profits,” says Adam Ross, founder and CEO for SocialVest. “Having personally worked with several non-profits, I realized there was an opportunity to leverage consumer shopping power, social networking and corporate interest in enhancing customer loyalty, to fundamentally change the charitable donations paradigm. SocialVest makes it easy and convenient to invest in social good by empowering consumers with the tools they need to financially support their cause-based interests.”