Guest Post: Groupon Grassroots Launches Program for Social Ventures

Thursday, June 6, 2013

GrouponWhat does it mean to be a social venture? This question probably crosses many people’s minds when they see the words “social venture” or “social enterprise,” often used interchangeably. A social venture is a business or nonprofit whose primary social or environmental mission is supported through revenue from the sale of a product or service. Since April 2012, Groupon Grassroots has introduced more than 11,000 of our subscribers to 19 social ventures, generating $620,000 in sales.

Because of our success, we are dedicating a unique program for the social venture sector. Groupon Grassroots launched Groupon Grassroots for Social Ventures at the 2013 Social Enterprise Alliance conference in Minneapolis on May 20. This unique program for the social venture sector reaffirms Groupon’s commitment to community development through the marketplace in addition to our ongoing philanthropy. 

The number of consumers who want to buy products and services from socially responsible businesses is increasing. According to Forbes, a recent market study from Good.Must.Grow, a Nashville research firm aimed at understanding consumer behavior in the context of causes, discovered that “nearly 30% of American consumers plan to increase the amount of goods and/or services they buy from socially responsible companies in the coming year.”

With Americans wanting more opportunities to make a difference through the marketplace, there’s still a gap in how consumers are exposed to the social enterprise sector. This is where Groupon Grassroots fits in. Our platform helps consumers connect with social enterprises’ products and services.

In an interview with Groupon Grassroots, Kevin Lynch, President and CEO of Social Enterprise Alliance, cited a lack of platforms connecting customers with social ventures as the sector’s biggest challenge: “Social enterprises are providing fantastic services and creating innovative goods for both consumers and businesses, but they still don’t have reliable ways of getting in front of the right buyers at the right times.”

Groupon Grassroots for Social Ventures requires our potential partners to provide a product or service that is integral to its mission while also generating measurable impact at home or abroad. Most importantly, the social venture’s offer with Groupon must be compelling for our subscribers. POS and payment processing services via Breadcrumb are available to our social venture partners, which helps to make the transaction for good more seamless.

For access to the application for social ventures, contact socialventures@groupon.com. Visit the Groupon Grassroots blog to learn more about some of Groupon's Social Venture Community Partners.

~Anna Holcombe, Social Innovation at Groupon, Groupon Grassroots

This post originally appeared on the Groupon Grassroots blog on 5/20/2013

Register here through 5 pm Thurs., June 13 for Donors Forum's June 21 Annual Luncheon, which will feature keynote speaker Dr. Cheryl Dorsey. Dr. Dorsey is President of Echoing Green, a global social venture fund that has awarded more than $30 million in start-up capital to more than 500 next-generation social entrepreneurs since 1987. The Luncheon is open to all, regardless of membership in Donors Forum.