Amid a confusing and uncertain time, brands and retailers have notably altered consumer communications. And for many fashion and beauty brands, change has also meant a reason to give. Designers have volunteered sewing services, produced hand sanitizer and, in some cases, given large donations.
Givz, referred to as the “Venmo for charity,” has been one of the fastest and easiest way for consumers to donate money to U.S. charities. “The initial thesis was that it shouldn’t be 10x easier to pay my friend back for a burrito than it was to send $10 to a charity I cared about,” said Andrew Forman, cofounder of Givz. “It was crazy to me that this didn’t exist back in 2010, let alone in 2017.”
Today, Givz also works with brands as a B2B purpose-driven marketing technology allowing businesses to efficiently promote meaningful engagement. The tool is designed to optimize growth and drive repeat conversations. And with many brands pledging to serve communities last year, Forman and his cofounder Jay Henderson say this pandemic is the chance for many of these brands to “walk the walk.”
Here, Forman talks to WWD about the importance of philanthropy, connecting with the consumer and new projects.
WWD: Why was starting a solution like Givz important to you?
Andrew Forman: Givz was founded in 2017 by my cofounder, Jay Henderson, and I. We initially felt that if we could collate all of the donors in America in one place we would make it a lot more efficient for charities to fund-raise, increase the amount people donated by removing the current friction and leave a lasting impact on the world.
[At the time] I served as the treasurer of a small nonprofit organization in New York. During my time as treasurer, I made two key discoveries: people inherently want to give, and they want a solution that allows them to get funds to the charities they care about with the least possible points of friction.
We have strong relationships with quite a few charities but the Givz platform hosts every registered 501(c)3 in the U.S. From the largest organization to your local food bank, if it’s a registered 501(c)3 in good standing with the IRS, they can be found and donated to via Givz.
WWD: As a B2B tool, how is Givz helping brands to connect with consumers?
A.F.: Our Shop-to-Givz model allows brands to use Givz cash credits as full-funnel, high-converting incentives that leverage the power of emotional connection to drive measurable growth. Shop-to-Givz puts individual purpose behind each desired conversion.
Business launch campaigns that offer Givz cash as a reward for a conversion. Once the customer converts, they are rewarded with a unique link to redeem their reward and make a donation. The customer is directed to the Givz platform where they can choose to donate to one of the brand’s spotlight charities or any other U.S. charity of their choice. The brand receives a comprehensive report detailing the causes that their customers care most about, the full list charities supported, the locations of their charities.
WWD: Why is a philanthropic facet so important to a company’s brand? Is this more important during a time of crisis?
A.F.: Social impact is incredibly important for a brand’s survival as socially conscious consumers are the majority across all age groups and all income levels. We also know that consumers with a positive emotional connection to a company are 8.4-times more likely to trust the company, 7.1-times more likely to increase purchases, and 6.6-times more likely to forgive a company’s mistake.
These stats existed even before the COVID-19 pandemic. With the majority of the country under some form of a stay-at-home order, and with the constant barrage of media highlighting the grim circumstances that we’re in, consumers have low tolerance for insensitive, self-serving campaigns.
WWD: What can you tell WWD about your new partnership with H&M?
A.F.: As part of our ongoing efforts, Givz has partnered with the world’s second largest clothing retailer, H&M USA, to power a nationwide Shop-to-Givz campaign aimed at providing relief for those affected by COVID-19.
[Through April 19], every time an H&M loyalty member makes a purchase of $60 or more, H&M USA will reward them with $10 Givz cash to donate to any U.S. charity that is providing support and relief to those on the frontline of the pandemic. Loyalty members can choose to donate to myriad organizations like CDC Foundation, Direct Relief, Meals on Wheels and GLAM4GOOD, among others.
Are there any other unique projects you have created with brands?
As a part of our continued efforts to help brands and their customers work together to restore health to society, we recently launched campaigns with TB12 [where shoppers] receive $12 for every $100 spent to donate to the charity of their choice that is making the most impact. Diageo + Jimmy Kimmel is powering their #TipsFromHome campaign where people can support those in the service industry. And Milani customers receive 10 percent of all purchases at milani.com back as Givz cash to donate to charities doing fantastic work to support COVID-19 relief.
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