Shop for Charity with Endorse for a Cause

You can now support your favorite charity with the click of a mouse using Endorse for a Cause. This new social media / philanthropy platform was launched last week, and connects consumers with charities using social networking and online shopping to encourage people to show their support. Each purchase that a user completes – either directly through Endorse for a Cause or through one of the more than 500 retailers – sees a percentage of the money spent go towards a charity of the user’s choice. While philanthropic shopping isn’t new, Endorse for a Cause is unique in how it leverages user’s existing social networks to promote charity. Below the jump, a detailed look at how you can shop for a cause.

Users have to sign up with Endorse for a Cause to start their philanthropic shopping spree. They can then choose a cause to support from the ten charities in the initial roster. Initially, about 4-8% of the money the user spends at the retailers in the Endorse for a Cause network will go towards their charity, without costing the user anything.

Endorse for a Cause encourages users not only to shop at their partner retailers themselves, but to share links to the cause they support on Facebook and Twitter. If their friends sign up for their own Endorse for a Cause account through this link, the initial user’s purchases will see even more money going towards their chosen charity.

The Endorse for a Cause network not only relies on external social networks, but offers users a profile page, badges and more, all meant to foster social activity. For instance, users can earn badges for being an early adopter of the service, for referring friends, and they can earn points for the endorsements (purchases) that they and their friends give to the causes. These points and badges can be used for real-world prizes offered by the causes on the network, such as trips to conferences and gala events.

There are ten major charities linked to Endorse for a Cause as of today, including micro-lending non-profit Kiva.org, the American Cancer Society, and Feeding America. And users can add more charities if they can garner enough support (10,000 member votes). Along with these high profile non-profits, Endorse for a Cause has partnerships with more than 500 retailers across the country, including Target, Starbucks and Old Navy. With the clout that comes with big, recognizable names, Endorse for a Cause has high visibility in its favor.

If you’ve ever felt that you’d like an easy, effective way to support a charity, this is it. It takes very little effort after an initial account set up on the user’s side, and each purchase rewards a charity of your choice – without requiring that you actually donate any money yourself. For the budget-conscious out there, the Endorse for a Cause network is the way to go.