Mass merchandiser JC Penney joined the group of stores on ShopForChange, an e-commerce site that lets people do good while shopping. Beginning today, the Plano, Texas retailer will donate 5 percent of the purchases made on penneys.com by users who come through ShopForChange. ShopForChange's parent company, Working Assets, San Francisco, will donate the funds to various non-profit organizations.
Working Assets hopes to raise $5 million from its site this year, to be donated to more than 50 nonprofit organizations active in such areas as peace and social justice.
Last year, Working Assets members raised more than $3 million for such organizations as Greenpeace, Children's Defense Fund and Planned Parenthood. Neither participating merchants nor members can earmark donations, although members can vote annually on the roster of organizations to be funded for the next year.
"The mission of Working Assets is to take things that people are already using--like a credit card--and turn it into a tool for progressive change," said Working Assets director of new business development Susan Sueiro. "JC Penney fits a real niche for us in that it has a broad range of products and a lot of basic products that we were lacking on the site before."
With 1,150 physical stores in the U.S., Mexico, Puerto Rico and Chile, JC Penney is the largest and most mainstream merchandiser on the ShopForChange site, which launched June 7. Working Assets also provides long distance telephone service, Internet access and credit cards, all of which include an automatic donation to progressive causes.
ShopForChange is being promoted through direct mail and e-mail to Working Assets' 400,000 long distance customers, and a radio spot is being test-marketed in Boulder, Colo. The number of registered users is nearing 20,000 at about 1,000 new registrants daily. "You get exactly the same offers and prices from all the merchants [as you would going directly to their sites]--it's just one extra click," Sueiro pointed out.