Real Business met up with David Berney, founder and CEO of Wishgenie, to discuss the opportunities that Wishgenie represents. Based on the crowdfunding concept, Wishgenie is a platform built for weddings, birthdays and other special occasions. Friends and family can create gift lists, chip in and buy each other presents, making full use of the viral capacity of social media.
“But what really makes it special is that a percentage of everything you spend will go to the cause of your choice,” explains Berney. “In contrast to our competitors, Wishgenie does not charge any fees or commission but rather allows not-for-profit to raise funds from their supporters at no cost to these individuals or the charities, making community-giving a sustainable concept. And although the site is about giving without the extra charge, I am passionate about what this could mean for future business.”
It seems there’s a huge opportunity to grow corporate social responsibility as a marketing tool as well. Businesses can engage with customers, build trust, and create a better community through new-found funds which would previously have gone to traditional advertising.
Berney states that “businesses can also have a page on Wishgenie and from a branding point of view it has real value as they’re not there to make wishes, but to grant them. For example, a small children’s nursery were seeking printing requirements and they got £2,000 worth of printing from a company signed up to Wishgenie. In turn, these businesses can show what they’ve given and attract more customers. And, as it turns out, one of the parents from the nursery went on to commission the printers for £8,000 worth of printing.
“We’re just trying to look at how we can make the wider good more visible and rewarding. It’s about encouraging people to do good by actually not breaking your back. Like shopping, for exampl. You need to do your weekly food shopping anyway and by doing it through someone like Wishgenie, without spending more money than you would have done, a percentage of that could go to your local animal charity. We’re trying to propose that you build your business, or even part of your business, by involving yourself in your community. Why? Because your community makes up some, if not all, of your customer base. So, engage with them and share the riches.
“What’s really interesting is when you can get a business actually doing good and gaining from it. And with social media, it’s a huge opportunity to engage with a wider audience. For example, a charity on Wishgenie sets up a wish to save a wrecked park and their community or a business that is linked to that style or community can work with them. Another example is Metro Bank, who are very dog friendly. Metro Bank are giving money to the RSPCA and our tools are letting all of RSPCA’s members see that.”
Indeed, some recent statistics in the UK suggest that 52 per cent of consumers would prefer to make a purchase from a business that had been supporting something in their local community. In that sense, Wishgenie could potentially save the high street.
“So, we would be encouraging people to be involved with the high street because the high street will be rewarding them in turn,” concluded Berney.
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