Dubai’s discount sites promote charity

Charity promoted on discount websites is raising thousands of dirhams

Earlier this month, Groupon buyers were offered the discounted deal to ‘Jump for Yemen’, a charity joint initiative of the World Food Program (WFP) and Skydive Dubai.

The deal was sold out within half a day, and Dh63,000 was raised within these few hours.

Is doing charity the new trend of discount-savvy Dubai?

It took off about one-and-a-half years ago, explains Alexander Kappes, the CEO of Groupon Dubai. The group-buying website offered Ramadan packages on discount – food packages that were distributed to labour camps.

A fundraising campaign for the victims of the flood in the Philippines followed, and last week, the World Food Program teamed up with the site to raise funds for distressed people in Yemen.

“The idea of a group-buying website is to get enough people together to do something. It is a social model, which was there from the beginning. We also have a corporate social responsibility, so we offer charity organisations to raise funds on our website,” explains Kappes.

The fundraising activity is free-of-cost for the charity organisation. This organisation either asks people to donate money against a certain discount, where the discounted amount is made up for by the organisation or the website. Or, there is a benefit for the buyer; there is a discount on a certain deal, and the money comes to the charity organisation.

“Jump for Yemen is a joint initiative, where people are offered a jump at Skydive Dubai for the discounted price of Dh900. Skydive Dubai donates the money to WFP and basically offers a free-of-charge jump to 70 people,” explains Alexander.

“We target organisations that do not really need the discounted offer. And we do not mention the discount on the site, because it is not really about the discount. However, we use offers like these as an imperative for people to donate money. They get something out of it and, at the same time, the money is raised for charity.”

Elise Bijon, Partnerships & Business Development Manager at WFP, explains that the organisation has worked extensively with Groupon over the past 18 months, and calls the cooperation a successful formula.

“One of the keys to its success is the fact that people can measure the social impact of donating money through these sites. We mention what can be done with the donation. For instance, as little as Dh25 can help WFP provide food assistance to more than 10 food‐insecure people for a day in Yemen.

“In addition, there is a very low price point, and the site reaches out to a lot of people,” Bijon adds. “It is not about offering discount. We reach a lot of people in this way. If we do not raise money, we raise awareness about our work and the causes we are involved in. With every campaign, we receive a lot of phone calls from people informing about the cause, asking if they can really help with a donation of this amount.”

With Dh2.5, the organisation is able to feed one person a day. WPF is aiming to support the Yemeni population, of which half is in hunger or on the edge of hunger. The country has the second-highest child-malnourishment rate in the world, informs Bijon.

Next week, on Sunday, February 18, Bijon and some Groupon staff members will join the buyers of the deal in the jump. Although the 70 available tickets have been sold out, people can still donate money to WPF’s work in Yemen.

(Home page image courtesy Shutterstock)

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