It’s that time of year. Santa ringing that bell loudly as you enter and exit every. single. store. Accidents in the parking lots because the yellow lines are covered with snow and people have their faces buried in coupons for the next stop. Realizing that you should have used two coats of water-proof spray on the boots you have to wear all day. And yet, in spite of the struggles, the crazed sense of urgency and the unpredictable Mitten weather, people are more giving then ever in the month of December.
The Awesome Mitten is excited to introduce you to Givinci.com, a website launched just in time for the most wonderful time of the year, but one that allows you to give (and shop) for more than just a few weeks.
The brainchild of economist Eric Kovalak, Givinci is “giving reinvented” for West Michigan. Givinci has partnered with a number of local and chain retail communities to give back a portion of what you’re spending online shopping to the charity or non-profit YOU CHOOSE. I spoke with Kovalak about what makes this model so successful.
Currently, whether you’re shopping online or in store, it’s “either the customer or the client” that benefits. “What makes us special is our process,” says Kovalak, and the “three-way benefits of Givinci” include the customer, client and a charity. A bonus for customers is that these aren’t random or little known businesses that are partnering to donate. Mega companies like Target, Meijer, REI, and even Groupon are participating to donate as much as ten percent of your online purchase. Even for the companies donating one percent, however, the money adds up. “The biggest thing that makes us unique is our fundraising; having no short term benefits is a problem.” A problem Givinci doesn’t have, as participants can witness progress bars for their charity of choice with every pair of shoes, every grocery, and every pack of diapers purchased online.
The charities currently on the site are as diverse as the customers choosing them. The charity Givinci featured during their inaugural month was More-Self-Less in their “I Dream Beautiful 2013” campaign to bring Christmas to 200 children and their guardians in West Michigan. If there’s something you want to start supporting on Givinci, simply add your own and share the goal with friends and family. Even knocking out five percent of a fundraising goal by shopping online sounds pretty awesome to me.
While this endeavor hasn’t reached in-store shopping yet, Kovalak sees a bright future for Givinci.com. When I asked about its expansion beyond West Michigan, he humbly said “I don’t think it has to, but I hope so. There’s a lot of things we’re working on.”
Try Givinci now as you finish up your holiday shopping! Download the plug-in and you’ll be reminded whenever you shop at a participating store. Looking forward to seeing the generosity of this great region in the coming weeks!
Lyndsay Israel, Feature Writer