How to help others while you buy and sell

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How to help others while you buy and sell

The idea of supporting a charity with a percentage of sales revenue or a fixed amount per unit has become quite widespread, if somewhat controversial.

One of the problems is that your customers - and perhaps more importantly potential customers - may not feel as strongly or even positively about your selected charity. So how about a mechanism that allows customers to choose their preferred charity?

eKarma is based on conventional affiliate programs, which are often used by web site operators as a source of income as they receive a commission on purchases made by the customers they introduce to an online store.

The difference is that half of the commission paid to eKarma is passed on to a charity.

By default, that charity is the one eKarma has selected as its charity of the month, but shoppers can select their preferred recipient by registering with eKarma. Most of the charities on the list are WA-based (as is eKarma), but some - notably the Leukaemia Foundation - are national bodies. The company does welcome suggestions for other charities, but it is up to individual organisations to choose whether or not they want to work with eKarma.

Some well-known online stores and services already participate, including Adairs, Amcal, Ancestry.com, Angus & Robertson, Autodesk, Bellabox, Black Pepper, Bookworld, Clarks, Delivery Hero, eHarmony, Grays Online, Havaianas, Hotels.com, iSubscribe, Julius Marlow,  Katies, Millers, Microsoft, Priceline, Rivers, Shaver Shop, and Ted's Cameras.

Turning to the purchasing side, perhaps you like the idea of including social enterprises in your list of suppliers. These are typically businesses that direct most of their profits towards activities that have a public or community benefit, such as Calico Country (bags, aprons, etc) in regional Victoria or PACE Setters (pallets and crates) in regional NSW, both of which provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

One way of finding such suppliers is to use a directory like SocialTraders' social enterprise finder, which is where we discovered those two examples. 

If you know what you want but you don't know which social enterprises can provide it, Cruxcee can act as a go-between.

The way it works is that you submit a request to Cruxcee, which passes them on to its list of certified social suppliers and then forwards their quotes. The service is currently free, but the plan is to move to a subscription basis. Extras such as matching the quotes against the customer's requirements are available for a fee.

It's currently a standalone service, but according to its web site Cruxcee has plans to offer integration with accounting, procurement and ERP systems.

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