Group-buying Web sites have emerged not only as a virtual paradise for cost-conscious shoppers, they have also become an effective medium for fundraising for charities.
Statistics showed that team-buying Web sites raised NT$30 million (US$1 million) for charitable causes last year.
17Life, which spearheaded the move to combine group-buying Web sites with charity sales, last year joined hands with the Chiling Charity Foundation, founded by model Lin Chi-ling (林志玲) in 2011, to launch a fundraising campaign for children from economically disadvantaged families.
The campaign offered wall and desk calendars featuring Lin at NT$399 each. It set a record for charity sales on group-buying sites, with 8,171 calendars sold and revenues of NT$3.26 million.
The site is working on other collaborations with charitable organizations to launch a new online fundraising platform later this month, with visually impaired people being its initial target group.
Equally impressive was a joint fundraising scheme initiated by group-buying site Groupon and the Child Welfare League Foundation in June last year, which invited the public to make a small donation of NT$100 to save 1,500 children from hunger during the two month-long summer vacation.
According to the campaign, 60.5 percent of children from poor households go to bed on an empty stomach, especially during winter and summer breaks when government-funded free lunch programs at schools are unavailable.
The campaign attracted 54,419 donors and raised about NT$5.54 million in nine days.
“The power of group buying is remarkable!” staff at the foundation said upon learning of the fundraising results.
A female junior-high school student who participated in the campaign also sent a letter to Groupon, saying that “it was her first time to make a donation and that she did so with her pocket money.”
“It was an amazing experience,” the student said.
Citing its survey on charitable contributions, Groupon said that 76 percent of respondents were more inclined to donate a small amount of money and that 61 percent of those polled said Web sites were the most convenient platform to make a donation.
“The majority, or 34 percent, of respondents said they were more likely to contribute to fundraising campaigns targeting children, while 15 percent said they were more inclined to donate to people who are ill or people affected by a disaster,” Groupon said.
While the survey showed that respondents were least inclined to make donations to the elderly and the physically challenged, Groupon said it managed to raise NT$3.06 million for nearly 1,000 underprivileged elderly people in the first quarter of this year.
Meanwhile, the Dream of Love foundation (台灣一起夢想公益協會), founded by group buying Web site Gomaji, has endeavored to assist not only charity groups by raising funds, but also individuals in need.
It has helped a 17-year-old boy, A-yan (阿燄), who uses a wheelchair and has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and a seven-year-old girl nicknamed Hsiao Yu (小羽), who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2011, fulfill their dream of visiting Disneyland by raising NT$90,000 and NT$60,000 respectively last year.
It has also helped a team of young baseball players from San Min Junior High School in Hualien County’s Yuli Township (玉里) by collecting NT$250,000 to build a small baseball field.