Folo is the latest charity endeavour from The Pure Foundation, the team behind profit-for-purpose Surry Hills cafe and restaurant-gallery Gratia Folonomo. It’s ideal if you’re eager but unable to donate. Or if you’re a “slacktivist”, someone whose charity efforts usually end at liking posts or signing online petitions.
“You don’t have to give out of pocket or organise a rally; you just incrementally give every time you shop online,” says Folo’s Jaimee Abict.
An incredible 700 online stores have already signed up with Folo. They range from fashion staples such as Nike, General Pants Co. and The Iconic, to travel website Expedia and retail giants Woolworths and David Jones.
The plug-in, which takes less than a minute to download from Folo’s website, works similarly to a cash-back program. Users decide how much of that cash-back – usually around four per cent of your purchase – goes to a good cause and how much goes to you. Put plainly, you can either get four per cent discounted from every purchase you make, or donate that allotment to charity. All the charities are non-for-profit organisations based in Australia, covering a range of issues such as climate change (1 Million Women), asylum seekers (Asylum Seeker Resource Centre), health (Cancer Council NSW) and homelessness (Homeless Connect Sydney).
“We wanted people to feel like they were actually giving money away, not like they were forced to donate to charity,” says Abict.
By sourcing donations without altering people’s habits or their bank accounts, Folo has found that almost all users so far decide to give away all their would-be cash-back. Abict says just 500 people using Folo could raise anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 a year. Folo has plans to go global later this year, and Abict has high hopes.
“If the same amount of people who downloaded Pokémon Go [21 million] downloaded Folo, it’d create something like $15 billion dollars in a year,” says Abict.
Abict is confident Folo will combat the recent decline in charitable donations by 15 to 24 year olds, not just with its potential to raise money, but by demonstrating how rewarding it can be to make a difference.
“It’s a gateway drug to gratitude,” says Abict.
Visit Folo’s website to learn more, watch instructional videos, and sign up.