Welcome to the future of doing good.
Your purchases. Your purpose.
The era of brands picking a cause and making a token donation to do good is over. +Purpose brands are giving that power to you by making you into an impact investor through everything you buy from them.
Impact through investing.
When you earn dollars through a +Purpose brand to invest you're doing exactly that - investing.
When you invest through us you're actually lending at super low rates (<1%) into the world's highest impact organizations. They use that money to expand the good they do and then pay you back those same dollars to spend with the brands you love.
Why investing rather than donating?
First, welcome to the extremely text-heavy part of this website. If you wanted to leave the reading long and boring essays behind you in college now's the time to turn back.
There are two main answers here.
The short version is: we think it does more good per dollar and by allowing for repayment we can get more brands using more dollars to do good.
On the "more good" side of things, there's good evidence that investing into the right kinds of people and organizations can create more and longer lasting impact than donating.
Don't get us wrong, we're still big fans of charity and it has its place - to help communities recover from natural disasters, to fund important political causes like voting rights protection, among many other critical uses. Unfortunately charity can also undermine vulnerable communities' ability to support themselves by making them dependent on a stream of donations that may dry up at any point. Charities also tend to be pretty opaque about what happens with you specific dollars. And don't get us started on the scandalous administrative and fundraising expenses many charities run.
Investing, on the other hand, is great at building sustainable assets that create impact over a long term - schools, clinics, small businesses, energy projects. These can all be built with an initial investment, run sustainably without more capital needed, and then paid back the investment for it to be used again. When we look at around at all the things that define the lives of the luckiest people on this planet (and create generational wealth and prosperity) they were almost without exception built with the power of investment.
We're simply harnessing that power and, instead of using it to fuel more income inequality and lopsided development. Using it to build the future of the world's most vulnerable communities from the ground up.
On the "more brands and more dollars" side, our mission as an organization is to build a way for every company to do good in a perfectly sustainable way. We always struggled watching companies (especially younger ones) donating to do good - actually losing margin and struggling to compete against competitors who aren't. Hardly a way to build a world where every brand does good. Investing means brands can simply use more dollars (as they get repaid) to do more good and our platform democratizes how that happens out to their biggest stakeholders - the people who buy from them.
What's all of this about getting paid back?
We do good through ultra low rate (often 0%) lending into high impact organizations. Every cause you see here on addpurpose.com is one of those orgs that we've curated for the good they do. Each one of those investment opportunities has a different repayment term - some faster, some slower. The term typically depends on the kind of impact each organization is creating - investing in micro businesses tends to repay faster than planting trees, for example. Almost everything we do pays back in the 6-18 months range. We do have causes that have significantly longer paybacks than that, but we make some magic behind the scenes to make sure you unlock dollars before they actually repay.
When you take +Purpose dollars unlocked from a brand and target them into a certain cause we're making that happen 1:1. If you target $10 into a cause then $10 gets deployed into that cause. Likewise, every dollar repaid from that cause gets credited back to your addpurpose.com account for you to spend the same brand originated it. Depending on the cause you'll often start seeing repayment within a month or two. If you don't spend those dollars within a certain timeframe after they've repaid they simply go right back to the brand directly.
Can I cash out repaid dollars?
No. +Purpose dollars that you target and get repaid back to you can only be spent with the brand that originated them. It's also likely you also find yourself from time-to-time with dollars spendable with any +Purpose brand in the network. Recycling dollars through the cycle of "buying, investing, repaying, repeating" is how we build exactly the kind of sustainable virtuous cycle missing from the way brands do good today.
How exactly do I say +Purpose?
It's "Add Purpose". Why? Because what we do is literally adding your purpose to what you buy (and what brands sell) so we went with the perfectly uncreative route of just calling ourselves that. Also this sweet domain name was available.
Who's behind this whole thing?
We're a pretty small team. - Taylor, Mildreth, Trent, Francesca, Viola, Jessica, Mimi, Jim, and Jonnie if you absolutely need to know our names. You can find us spread out over the US, Canada, and Taiwan thanks to COVID-19's lone bright spot of normalizing remote teams. We'd have pictures here but the person writing this is a tragic developer and our engineers are busy, as they tell me, building actual features and making sure things don't explode.
I think the best description for us is "eclectic". We're new grads, retired executives, ex VCs/impact investors, and at least one actual engineer. Or, as this team would be described in the tech startup world: the guy who does all the real work + 8.
Jokes aside, we're here because we're honestly sick and tired of watching brands greenwash away their unsustainability or just ignore sustainability outright as "too expensive". We need to live in a world where every brand - everything we buy - does good. By giving brands and their customers a genuinely sustainable way to do good that's what we hope we're building.