In an age of overconsumption and overexposure, it’s fair to say that giving money to charity generates some pretty good karma. However, at a time where the cost of living is higher than ever, it can be difficult to find room for altruistic endeavours in an already overextended budget.
What would it be like if everyone could donate to charity without dipping in to an often limited pool of resources – time, talents, and finances – while simultaneously making purchases that we’ve already budgeted to make? Enter Folo; a revolutionary platform that automatically generates free donations when users shop online – wait for it – paid for by the retailer.
Founded by The Pure Foundation, a Sydney-based innovative philanthropic trust established to drive social change, Folo now has a staggering 700 retailers on board, including some impressive names that yield an extremely high volume of online transactions – Expedia, Nike, Sephora, The Iconic and Dan Murphy’s, to name only a fraction.
The platform is a simple yet brilliant concept, considering Australia’s collective online spend reached a staggering $19.3 billion last year, a figure that’s tipped to double in the next three years. Having only just launched in Australia, Folo already have their sights set on infiltrating the US, whose online shopping industry is sitting at a whopping $262 billion dollars, and growing rapidly.
The catch? The concept is almost too simple. Jaimee Abict, a member of Folo’s founding team, stated that the platform’s ease of use might actually be its biggest obstacle, as individuals who hear about the site initially assume it’s too good to be true.
“Folo is almost a grand social experiment – we’re basically asking people: ‘if we gave you free money to give to a charity of your choice and all you had to do was download this browser extension, would you do it?’. The potential Folo has to generate free money for charities everywhere is staggering. All we need is people’s participation.”
Think about it: 20-45 years old are the highest spending demographic for online shopping, which won’t be changing any time soon. If just 50,000 individuals downloaded Folo, that would generate $3.2 million for charities every year. That’s $3.2 million that has come from the pockets of retailers. From transactions that will inevitably happen.
Folo has solved another huge roadblock that charity givers can encounter – holding no particular affinity for a charity that they’re asked to give to. We’ve all experienced the guilt of denying a doorknocker a donation because the charity they’re advocating for doesn’t make an emotional connection to our ideals. Folo has something for everyone as it has hundreds of charities users can allocate funds to – from animal cruelty, to domestic violence, to sex trafficking, to climate change – making the donation more personal and more meaningful.
For the extremely indecisive, the platform also offers the choice of a whole cause area to support, rather than a single charity. To assuage any online payment scepticism, all of the non-profit organisations listed on the platform have gone through stringent charity verification processes, holding either DGR1 or DGR2 status.
There is simply no good argument for not participating in an initiative such as Folo. It is unequivocally making the world a better place, and is steadily revolutionising the charity sector.
Besides, any organise whose name is shorthand for ‘For Love’, is undoubtedly doing great things.