Good Tech Byte: The Simplest Way To Give 'Free Money' To Charity

‘Every time you spend money, you are casting a vote on the kind of world you want.’

An Australian social enterprise wants to help consumers donate to charity every time they shop -- and they’ve come up with a simple mechanism to do it.

Folo is a free web browser extension that pools donations from everyday purchases made online. The donations, paid for by the retailer, are then fed to a charity of the consumer’s choice.

“It’s simple and it costs you no money, but the brands that you spend money with will donate to charities through Folo,” head of partnerships Sam Adams Nye explained to ten daily.

Consumers can gave give back with every purchase online. Image: Supplied

Adams Nye joined Folo and the wider 'Pure Collective' -- a group of 'profit for purposes' businesses -- while working in New York during President Trump’s electoral rise.

“I was seeing how media was being used and sensationalised to sell stories and ad spaces without any regard of what it was doing to the political system,” he said.

“I had to step away from that and found Folo. It’s the most powerful way to at scale make a positive impact on society.”

According to the latest Australian Charities Report by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission, charities received $10.5 billion in donations and bequests in 2016 -- 7.3 percent of charity revenue.

More recently, the National Australia Bank Charitable Index found a one percent increase in the amount of Australian donations over the year to February 2018, with the average donation sitting steadily at $350.

Young Australians continue to be donating less than those aged over 55. 

Folo offers them an alternative system.

Consumers who download and activate the extension can choose a charity or cause area and online shop as they would normally.

It will then appear alongside any partnered retailer that displays the amount from every purchase that will be donated to their selected charity.

“At the moment, the retailers are paying us a commission for driving new sales. Seventy percent of that goes directly to the user’s Folo account and out to a charity of their choice,” Adams Nye said.  

“We keep the rest to pay our salary, and anything that’s left goes back into our foundation.”

Over 500 retailers are now partnered with Folo, with consumers able to choose from over 100 non-profits or 17 cause areas based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

“In five or ten years from now, I see Folo being the mechanism for being able to give every time people transact,” he said.