Digital Pledge Drive for

Groupon  The Point  Pershing Square Foundation &
A Fundraising Collaborative

If you live in a major city, you probably know about Groupon. But you may not know Groupon began as a project of The Point, a site for collective action.

The Point helps individuals or groups organize an event, petition for change, or raise money to bring collective giving to the forefront. Andrew Mason founded both.

Groupon is the daily deal site offering unbeatable deals on the best things to eat, do, see and buy in 140 cities in the U.S., Canada and Europe. is an online nonprofit organization that connects donors to classrooms in need.

The Pershing Square Foundation has been a supporter of since 2009. Pershing provided the match to the Groupon deal because it was a great way for to acquire new donors in a more affordable and innovative way than traditional advertising.

The Fundraising Idea

In May, Teacher Appreciation month, these groups came together to launch a fundraising campaign to make a difference in classrooms across America. For one week, six million Groupon subscribers in 65 cities could “purchase” donations to All donations were matched by the Pershing Square Foundation. The Groupon members go to and donate their gift and the match to a classroom of their choice. Kudos for The Point and Groupon for asking their subscribers to make a contribution to a great cause. (I know my friends and I bought the Groupon.)

The Results – Fundraising and Awareness

In one week this fundraising campaign raised $133,240 from 1,475 Groupon members.

  • Groupon purchases = $64,857
  • Average gift of $43.97 matched by Pershing Square Foundation
  • Pershing Square Foundation Match = $68,383
  • As of 6/16/10, more than 500 Groupons have been redeemed reaching 490 classrooms across the country reaching an estimated 12,000 students.
  • Nearly all Groupon purchasers had never heard of before and came to the site as first-time donors.
  • The NY Times and Wall Street Journal picked up the story
  • Dozens of additional re-tweets and blog

So are these good results? I think it’s a great start and I know The Point and Groupon are working on more community engagement opportunities for their six million Groupon subscribers in the US!

I think there are some opportunities to raise expectations and more money. The five I’s of fundraising says to be successful we need to:

  1. Identify donors – Groupon has 6 million subscribers/potential donors
  2. Get their interestGroupon has a website that has their interest for sure
  3. Provide informationI think this is where Groupon went from buy deals to make a contribution and missed the opportunity for education
  4. Invite their involvementCrowd sourcing is the buzz of the day. Ask Groupon members what organizations they support, where they volunteer, how they want to give. Ask their business partners who they support.
  5. Ask for their investmentFundraising theory goes, if you do the first four, at the right time, with the right ask, you will get the right gift.

So what do you think? Good effort? Let’s look for ideas to engage more of the six million? Leave your comments here and email with your ideas or suggestions for a nonprofit partnership.

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2 thoughts on “Digital Pledge Drive for

  1. As a teacher who has had several projects funded this year through DonorsChoose, including materials to create our own yearbooks, materials to make Egyptian masks, science fair materials, a camera and speakers for technology projects and so much more, I think The Point and Groupon were quite successful with A better time to try again would be in September. Parents and donors don’t think about donating to schools in June. This is a time when many are buying gift card for teachers as a thank you. Many parents are eager to help in the fall and will support projects for their own area schools because they feel connected. Teachers are desperate for materials. We just need more support like this.

    1. Samantha
      Thank you for all you do in your classroom and your comment. I agree the campaign was a good idea. I will be sure to pass your suggestion onto the leaders at Groupon and

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