Brands are increasingly trying to find more meaningful ways to provide help to needy populations in times of trouble. For example, after Hurricane Maria, Burger King offered free meals and refuge in its restaurants to residents of Puerto Rico. They also encouraged those stuck on the island without a way to communicate to leave notes in their stores, which they then posted on their Facebook page, in the newspaper, and on radio ads. Cruise company Royal Caribbean offered transport via ship, and Tesla provided batteries for solar-powered energy generators.
But what if your company has nothing specific to offer in-kind? There aren’t many alternatives to a donation of cash, which not every company can cough up so easily.
Morgan Lopes, CEO of development agency Polar Notion and CTO of non-profit New Story, which uses crowdfunding to fund and build houses in Haiti, describes this uncertainty as something the non-profit experienced after a devastating weather incident a few years ago. A day after the New Story team left Haiti, they received word that a bad hurricane had hit, killing many and destroying homes across the island.
He says the company immediately began to receive inquiries from concerned people asking how to get involved — there was a desire to help, but a lack of clear information on how to do so.
Now, Lopes’ team has developed a tool to allow those seeking to help during a disaster event to do so, using a property just about every brand (and many individuals) has nowadays — their website.
By embedding a few lines of code, companies can allow a non-profit to take over their home page in a ‘website donation’, to drive awareness for the organization’s mission and goals.
For example, following the aforementioned hurricane, New Story charity could have taken over the websites of their for-profit corporate partners. Every visitor to those sites that day would learn about the cause, be directed to the charity, or at the very least, become aware of the problem.
“Architectural Digest is a partner of New Story’s. If they ‘donated’ their site for Giving Tuesday, thousands of new people would hear about the work of New Story,” says Lopes.
The tool works like a popup, which visitors can follow to learn more or visit the non-profit’s website. They also can simply close or click out to get to their original destination.
“Businesses with a social impact component are increasing each year. This allows existing businesses to leverage the attention of their audience without refactoring their business model,” says Lopes.
The beta version of the product launches Wednesday. Lopes says they’re targeting 30 non-profits, each with 5-10 donor websites, as a “big win” for the beta.
They’re also planning to launch the tool on the Product Hunt platform on November 20th, right in time for Giving Tuesday on the 28th.
Eventually, he hopes for a larger rollout of the tool. There’s potential for monetization for larger non-profits, charging for larger utilizations of over 100 thousand impressions.
But for now, the product will be provided to non-profits and companies free from the Polar Notion team.