The Giving Card
The Giving Card is the brand new way to save you money, bring extra business to companies and help charities right across the UK.
The competition is only open to people between 18-34 years-old and resident in UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark or the Netherlands. Does this apply to you
Country of residence of entrepreneur
Tell us about your personal background. Why are you passionate about this issue? Making an idea a reality takes innovation, dedication and strong leadership. Do you have the necessary entrepreneurial skills to realize your vision?
At the age of ten I was told that I did not pass the interview to write for the school newspaper, and so I started my own. It ended up outselling the main publication. I have always been determined to find new and innovative ways of doing things, and as such believe that I have an innate entrepreneurial spirit, which was fostered by my degree in business. I started my first profitable business, Mach1Discos, at 15 and whilst at University launched yoonee.com – a profitable business that earned me the accolade of ‘UK Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year’ and an opportunity to compete internationally. The experiences (and occasional mistakes!) that I have had will be invaluable to making the Giving Card a success. I have gained experience of devising business models, networking, making deals, learning to communicate and most importantly, figuring out how to deliver a desirable product.
My passions lie not only in business but by also making a positive difference in the world. Whilst I noticed that voucher schemes were thriving, I also noted that charities were suffering. This is when I realised, whilst sitting in one of my lectures (whilst I probably should have been listening), that there was a niche in the market for something that could assist both businesses and charities.
About Your Organization
The Giving Card
United Kingdom, Hertfordshire
Country where this project is creating social impact
United Kingdom, XX, Nationwide
Is your organization a
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The Need: What problem are you trying to solve?
Currently, businesses are keen to increase the footfall into their stores or online shops. They often don’t have the resources to market their business to the local or national population. There is a need for businesses to find a new way to expose their products or services. In addition, charities are looking for innovative ways to raise their profile, engage supporters and increase revenues. Thirdly, the general public are struggling to make ends meet and often living above their means. With rising inflation, people need to be able to reduce the cost of living, whilst still giving to their favourite good causes and helping local businesses. The Giving Card has identified these issues by creating a product which revolutionises the way businesses, charities and the public interact.
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
The solution is The Giving Card which enables the general public to save thousands of pounds a year on their shopping, allows charities to raise additional revenues and the companies we work with to attain free advertising and increased footfall into their stores and websites. It offers charities an easy way to raise extra revenues and increase their public profile, involving no charges or stockholding at any time. It also aims to reward people and businesses who want to support charities. Members pay £34.95 per year, which includes a £10 donation that goes directly to their chosen charity and every store the card is used in benefits from the increased footfall. Currently, similar discount schemes provide no charity link; they often charge the companies to get involved (we don’t) and are location-centric; we stretch right across the UK. Welcome to an easily-expandable, fair and eco-friendly way to save money and help good causes.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities
Generally, our customers come through our website. They often come directly from the charities we work with. Charities have existing databases that they use simply to provide information about up-coming events and often campaign for money simply by asking. However, with The Giving Card, the charity sends out an e-mail to their supporters offering them the opportunity to buy the card. This then directs them through to our website, where the transaction takes place. Now, in this first instance, the charity has received £10 from the sale, plus they are now able to apply Gift Aid to it in most instances. This is the first time that a difference is made; from the sale of every product, a good cause benefits. Then, the person who receives the card can access thousands of discounts across the country in a range of different categories. The lifestyle card can save them money on their car, children, holiday, travel, eating out and other leisure activities. This is the second time that a difference is made; The Giving Card offers consumers the opportunity to save more and enjoy more. Then, every single time the card is used, that retailer gains an extra customer. The discount isn’t a one-off and therefore we encourage customer loyalty. The Giving Card brings trade back to local high-streets and offers retailers an easy and cost effective way to gain extra revenues without spending a single penny. All they have to do is offer a discount when the card is shown. This is the third time that someone benefits. Furthermore, instead of forcing people to print vouchers and waste paper every time they want a voucher, they can simply reach into their purse or wallet and take out The Giving Card. It’s time the loyalty sector went green.
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others also working to address the needs you are and what differentiates you from them. What challenges could these players pose to your success or growth?
Our main competitors would be from daily-deal websites, however we don’t charge the companies we work with, we promote customer loyalty (rather than just one off discounts) and also provide a physical card to carry round in your wallet avoiding having to print off endless vouchers and search multiple sites.
The Giving Card also prides itself on not being industry specific and offers our customers the opportunity to save money in every aspect of their lives across the UK. At current our nearest competitors are too distinct to pose a negative threat to our success. However, we do recognise that each time anyone in the industry is featured, it adds to our exposure and credability.
Select the stage that best applies to your business
Operating for less than a year
This Entry is about (Issues)
What is the social impact you have had to date and how you measure it?
The Giving Card is responsible for raising much needed revenue for some of the largest charities in the UK. This revenue has been vital in supporting essential projects and services for the most vulnerable in our society. The Giving Card grants businesses with free advertising and increased footfall into their stores and websites at a time where local businesses have been hit due to the recession. Usually, charities charge companies to work with them and also do not market third party products (especially the large ones). However, The Giving Card is already working with over 80 charities, including Mencap, Shelter, Mind, Cancer Research and the RSPCA. We also provide support to local charities, such as small hospices.
What barriers might hinder the success of your business? How do you plan to overcome them?
One significant obstacle that I’ve faced is marketing The Giving Card as it is difficult to pin point the marketing for all individual groups (members, suppliers and charities). The challenge is to compose a relevant message for each section without impairing the overall message. We overcame this obstacle by communicating directly with suppliers, charities and card holders to receive feedback and we are always looking for new ways to push our product into the market. A further obstacle is that of an ever-changing industry; to combat this, I have started looking at taking the business into the mobile and payment processing space.
How does your model address financial, social, and environmental sustainability?
We do not charge businesses or charities that we work with. This enables us to get a critical mass of discounts and promotions, strengthening our product offering. We don’t charge charities either; we simply pass on the donations to them. This enables us to work with more charities and also they often allow us to use their existing channels of communication, and so we save on our marketing costs. Our main income stream is based on the sale of the card to members. The card retails at £34.95 and £10 of that goes directly to charity. There is a strong commercial element relating to the sale of this product. The business was launched with the help of personal finance, private investment and moving forward, the revenues generated from the card. The company is now introducing a new website which allows customers to book holidays, hotels, theatre tickets and do their online shopping, which also provides financial returns for The Giving Card.
Awareness & learning
How do you see social entrepreneurship contributing to the improvement of developing countries?
The Giving Card recently won an award for being a triple bottom line business; looking after people, profit and planet. I started the business because I believe if everyone gave a small part of their time, or profit to good causes, the world would begin to take shape. It may sound dramatic, but even if every business donated a small percentage of their annual turnover to a developing country, imagine the difference it could make. I also believe there is an excellent opportunity to get business involved with developing countries and see how we can work together. There are still millions of products and services in this world that involve people and skill, rather than machine or technology. There shouldn't be limitation based on geographical location and I believe social entrepreneurship can open doors, inspire people and help create better futures.
What aspects of your stay in Uganda as part of the competition do you think you will find most challenging and rewarding?
Having started a business in the UK and recognising how different people are in the North compared to the South for example, it would be a real eye-opener to see how different entrepreneurs and businesses work in a completely different country. I think the most challenging part will be the culture shock in understanding how differently business is seen in a developing country. In the UK, we often feel that we have to come up with ‘the next best thing’ to make a living, but being able to work with farmers who live and breathe their livings in a different way to us in the UK would be fascinating.