Featured in publication 29/05/2008 | Posted on 01/03/2011
Feeling the pinch? Birmingham Mail Consumer Editor Emma McKinney discovers how a Birmingham woman has launched a website that helps shoppers save while raising money for good at the same time.
WHEN Tracey Woodroffe had to watch her husband battle with cancer she wanted to do something to help stop others suffering the same ordeal.
Determined to help, the 41-year-old, from Sutton Coldfield, decided to launch a website that would raise cash for charities working to carry out research into ways to cure the disease.
Almost three years on, the site - www.easyfundraising.org.uk - has now raised more than £600,000 for over 1,500 organisations, including charities, schools and local community groups.
And as a recession grips the nation, the site not only swells the coffers of groups in need, it also helps shoppers to save much-needed cash.
"The premiss of the site really is very simple," explains Becky Coleman, easyfundraising's spokeswoman.
"All people need to do is log on to the site, choose a charity or organisation they want to help support and then simply start shopping."
The site has links to more than 600 big-name retailers, including Argos, Next, Amazon and eBay, which shoppers can click onto and use in the way they would normally.
When shoppers registered to easyfundraising then make a purchase from one of the retailers, some of the cash they paid towards their chosen product is then donated by the retailer to the shopper's chosen cause.
And many retailers also offer recession-busting online deals and money saving eVouchers exclusively to easyfundraising.
The site also offers a price comparison service to help users find the cheapest deals. And anyone searching the web through the site instead of popular engines such as Google also generate cash for good causes, with ten searches a day raising around £20 per year.
Sound too good to be true? It isn't, promises Becky.
"People can be quite sceptical about the site when they first hear about it, but there really isn't a catch," she says.
"It sounds unrealistically generous, but in reality, retailers are happy to give up a small percentage to make a donation to a good cause in exchange for having customers referred to them.
"It's also much cheaper for a store to sell products online as they save on overheads, so they don't lose out by providing a donation from what they have sold.
"In the current economic climate it couldn't be better, saving shoppers money while giving them the feel-good factor knowing that, at the same time, they are helping those in need."
The news comes after a survey by the Charities Aid Foundation and the Association of Chief Executives of the Voluntary Sector has revealed that donations being made to good causes have fallen dramatically over the last 12 months as people tighten their belts in the credit crunch.
Staffed by a team of 12 people working at bases across the Midlands, easyfundraising hopes to grow bigger and bigger and help even more causes, says Becky.
"We seem to grow in popularity simply by word of mouth and Tracey is so delighted that from what started out as being something to help cancer research has grown into a site that helps so many good causes," she adds.