It was the Great Shave-Off at Groupon today, and dedicated male employees picked up their razors for the first and last time for a while. November first marks the start of Movember, a month-long awareness campaign for men’s health issues. The conversation starter and mascot for the cause? The mustache.
“One in six men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer in his lifetime. Catching the disease early is key to successful treatment. However, studies show that men are less likely than women to visit a doctor for basic health screenings. Our organization raises awareness of men’s health issues and funds to support them.” – Tom Whiteside, a member of Movember’s Grassroots Engagement team.
Movember began in 2003 when two mates in Melbourne, Australia, who were lamenting the fact that the “Mo” had gone out of fashion, decided to revive it. They agreed to grow a Mo for the 30 days of November (in doing so renaming the month Movember). The following year, Movember raised funds for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. Today, more than 1.9 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas have raised nearly $300 million to change the face of men’s health.
As damage is assessed and Sandy subsides, it’s clear that our merchants, customers and own employees have been hit hard by this week’s events. We wanted to share what’s being done for these groups as well as Groupon’s overall strategy when situations like these occur.
On Our Company and Motivation
As you may know, Groupon grew out of The Point, a site for collective action where users could work together to support community initiatives big and small. Social good is in our DNA and we recognize that responding to community needs is a daily commitment. Through Grassroots, we touch schools, children’s groups, local arts programs and countless other community pillars every single day, aiming to improve the neighborhoods that our Groupon merchants serve.
We often talk about our mission to become the local commerce ecosystem. Merchants are far more than part of our professional network; they ARE Groupon. When they hurt, whether it’s strain due to a bad economy or a natural disaster like Sandy, we do too.
Fortunately, thanks to our daily Grassroots work, we have existing relationships with trusted international partners who can help remedy the pain our businesses face in times of crisis. We can act quickly and make a difference, while still serving our core mission (merchant success.)
What We’re Doing After Sandy
Our focus with all of our philanthropic efforts is community empowerment and neighborhood resilience. Our response to Sandy will focus on long-term recovery (vs short-term relief) of Groupon merchants and the small business community at large.
Actions already taken:
We checked in on all merchants being featured this week, and in affected Northeastern markets, eventually moved to “opt-in only,” meaning merchants had to proactively contact us to confirm they were still interested and able to run this week. We’re playing this day by day and will eventually return to normal operation once affected businesses and markets have more stable local resources and city functionality. Our goal is to eliminate any possible strain a feature may cause or continue to help these businesses gain exposure if they’re ready.
We referred merchants to relief and recovery resources through Disaster Help Desk powered by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Immediate next steps:
We’ve launched a Grassroots fundraising campaign for Accion to provide small business recovery microloans, as we did similarly for the Colorado wildfires earlier this year. Please visit www.groupon.com/sandy if you’d like to support our merchant communities.
We’ll continue to assess the needs of our merchants in impacted areas, call to check-in, and in some cases just provide some moral support.
As assessments continue to develop a clearer picture of the damage, so will our interventions and approach to supporting the recovery efforts. Thanks in advance for keeping the Groupon family – our merchants, customers, and Groupon employees – in your thoughts.
Today’s blog post is guest-authored by Meghanne Phillips:
Last Saturday a cohort of Groupon cyclists volunteered at one of our favorite charities, Working Bikes, where Chicagoans’ unwanted bikes become cheap and efficient vehicles for those who need them here and abroad. This storefront in Pilsen conceals a mind-boggling number of used bicycles on its three floors: they’ll take whatever rusted piece of junk you want to donate.
Although some of the thousands of bikes brought into the shop every year can be repaired and resold in Chicagoland, the vast majority of them are shipped to Global South countries, where they serve a variety of purposes. During our welcome tour of the expansive property, we learned that these donated bikes serve as hands-on training for bike mechanics in countries like Africa and Peru, after which they provide transportation for professionals who desperately need them–one circuit doctor in Africa was able to cut down his service route from weeks to days with the help of Working Bikes. More impressive still are the ways in which spare parts from these bikes can be reappropriated to construct wells and generators. Projects like these particularly interest founder Lee Ravenscroft, who is constantly designing new machines in the shop–which you, too, can see when paying Working Bikes a visit.
We were given the the task of streamlining bikes to fit into shipping containers, removing pedals and turning handlebars in order to economize precious space. Because of our help, the cooperative will be able to pack 5,000 bikes into containers today for Wheels of Africa.
Working Bikes regularly opens their doors to volunteers Tuesday 5-9pm and Wednesdays and Saturdays 12-5pm. And if you don’t think you know enough about bikes, don’t worry: the staff is eager to teach all enthusiastic volunteers. Any day you are able to give is not only providing ease of access to medical care, education, and food for whole communities in the Global South, but is also a learning experience for the amateur mechanic (and rumor has it that there’s a burrito in it for you at the end of the day).
Around the holidays there’s a day to give thanks on Thanksgiving, a day to flood the stores on Black Friday, a day to hover over computers on Cyber Monday, and now with your help, we’ll establish a day to give back: November 27th, #GivingTuesday.
The mission is to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations. Recently Groupon Grassroots manager, Patty Huber Morrissey, spoke about Groupon’s partnership with the cause.
What is Groupon planning for #GivingTuesday?
We are committed to launching a collection of pro-bono Groupon Grassroots fundraising campaigns on the Groupon website that will be featured with a custom URL – groupon.com/givingtuesday. We are currently accepting applications from national non-profits and social ventures to be featured in our holiday giving campaigns.
How to Help: Since holiday decorations start popping up before the leaves change color, it’s never too early head to the virtual streets of the internet and spread the word about #GivingTuesday. Visit www.GivingTuesday.org for more information, follow @givingtues on Twitter, and start using the hashtag #GivingTuesday to get the ball rolling! Are you a blogger? CLICK HERE to read more about how you can be involved as a Social Media Ambassador and rally behind this charitable movement.
Thanks for your help in making the inaugural #GivingTuesday a success!
In honor of the launch of Groupon Grassroots and the upcoming Earth Day, employees are celebrating Green Week by volunteering for different environmental causes. Jade helped out with Groupon’s beach cleanup and shared her story with us:
On Wednesday, volunteers signed up to partake in a clean sweeping of Lake Michigan’s Oak Street Beach in Chicago. Armed with bags and gloves, we set out to rid our shores of any plastic and Styrofoam litter. It just so happened we were blessed with 72° temperatures and beautiful skies, with a backdrop of the majestic downtown Chicago skyline. We were also blessed with some lost socks, a sweatband, unexpired coupons, and a burned paperback book!
Rewarded with joggers and bikers shouting thanks and with the visible result of our do-good work (a clean beach!), we plan to make this a monthly event and look forward to expanding our cleanup team!
Today Nick and Anna, Grassroots reps for the West Coast and Southwest, tell us about Connect the Dots and Trees for Houston:
I had the pleasure of meeting Deb—my community partner for the Connect the Dots Grassroots Earth Day Campaign—during a recent voyage to the Bay Area. As we meandered through the Mission District and Dolores Park, we discussed a little bit of everything, including the local nonprofits her organization has already helped go green, the esoteric art galleries populating Mission Street, and the micro-climates that reign supreme over Bay Area neighborhoods.
Groupon Grassroots and Connect the Dots are teaming up on Earth Day to raise funds for environmental audits at the facilities of Gum Moon Transitional Housing. Connect the Dots makes green business solutions accessible to the nonprofit community, helping organizations develop sustainable operating practices that minimize environmental impact while maximizing funding for their work. I am super excited to feature the outstanding and important work of Connect the Dots, along with all of the other environment-centric initiatives you’ll find on the Groupon Grassroots platform.
Check out the Connect the Dots campaign and the other 49 fantastic causes featured this week and help spread the word! Cheers ~ Nick
American author Hal Borland said, “If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees.” Despite their resilient qualities, Texas’s current drought—the worst in half a century—has left trees parched and dying in Houston’s beloved Memorial Park.
Trees for Houston, an organization that cherishes leafy companionship, is dedicated to planting, protecting, and promoting trees in the Lone Star State. A critical player in restoring the trees Texas has lost to drought, the organization is seeking to make a big difference in the landscape with their Groupon Grassroots campaign. If 30 people donate $10, then Trees For Houston can plant two trees in Memorial Park. Every additional $150 will provide Memorial Park with another tree.
Help Trees for Houston green up Memorial Park by donating to the campaign.
To celebrate the launch of Groupon Grassroots, all this week we’re highlighting some great environmental campaigns:
Friends of the Parks—a Chicago-based park advocacy organization that is more than 35 years old—preserves, protects, and promotes the use of public spaces. The organization’s programs range from cleanup events for Earth Day to educational field trips for public-school children. Friends of the Parks’ Groupon Grassroots campaign promotes environmental appreciation through a Nature Along the Lake field trip for local students. Raised funds will go toward bus rental; supplies such as binoculars, fishing rods, and plant and crafts materials; and the educator’s salary.
Keep Cincinnati Beautiful is transforming the Downtown Cincinnati’s deserted Findley Market area back into a warm and welcoming neighborhood. KCB’s campaign is raising money for Future Blooms, a program inspired by Cincinnati’s Neighborhood Enhancement Program that helps revitalize neighborhoods on the verge of decline.
Future Blooms uses cost-effective designs to restore identity to abandoned buildings and lots. By beautifying these lots, they encourage economic development and bring hope to an area that could have otherwise continued to decline.
Check out Keep Cincinnati Beautiful’s campaign. If they can raise $500, they’ll use it to enrich four vacant lots in the Findley Market area. Each vacant lot will receive a tree and 3-4 fencing panels. Each additional $125 raised will help provide the same beautifying upgrades for another vacant lot.
Below are before and after pictures demonstrating the major impact KCB has on Cincinnati’s landscape:
Help KCB revive Findley Market in downtown Cincinnati and other vacant lots by donating to their campaign.
The environment is in peril. Oceans that used to be crystal clear are now filled with salt and formerly pristine forests have been overrun by wild animals. Here are simple steps you can take toward creating a healthier earth every day:
**Conserve Water:** If every American turned off the faucet before they went to bed and sacrificed their daily “just for fun” flush, we would save enough water to turn some of our country’s most unsightly canyons into thrilling water parks.
**Recycle:** One man’s trash is another man’s thing that can hold something else. Reuse an old plastic water bottle to store all of your loose glitter or reuse an old Chinese food container to hold all of your loose glitter containers.
**Don’t Waste Energy:** People expend hundreds of joules of energy every day just walking around their homes turning off lights. By leaving your lights on and your appliances plugged in, you could save enough energy to clean up some of the crude oil you spilled in the front yard.
**Go the Extra Mile:** Spend one day every year doing something special for the environment, such as sifting a gallon of local swamp water through your Brita filter or riding your bike to _work_ instead of to your garbage-throwing place.
It’s Earth Day; happy birthday Earth! This year, the Earth turns the big 4-0-0, and we’re committed to helping the planet reach 401 by supporting environmental Earth Day campaigns. Groupon honors its signature green with the launch of Groupon Grassroots —formerly G-Team.
Groupon Grassroots is the latest step in the evolution of our social giving, inhabiting the charitable exoskeleton once worn by The Point and, more recently, G-Team—which saw more than 100,000 people raise more than $3 million for 500+ projects. Groupon Grassroots is a new way to discover local causes, rally together, and lend a helping hand. Grassroots supporters can positively impact their communities in ways not possible by themselves, including organizing volunteer coastal cleanups or planting an orchard of fruit trees. To commemorate Earth Day and the program’s rebranding, Groupon Grassroots will host 50 environmental campaigns and kick off each project with a $1,000 grant—a total of $50,000 of support.
For Earth Day, we’re also partnering with Edward Norton’s Crowdrise to empower individual activism through the Groupon Challenge. The campaign that raises the most money will receive an additional $25,000 from Groupon, with the second- and third-highest fundraising drives taking home $15,000 and $10,000, respectively.
But wait, there’s more. We’re also featuring a Grassroots volunteer travel experience through Groupon Getaways. For the first time ever, Groupon customers can join forces with other global activists and travel to Zambia with Spark Ventures on two trips offered in July 2012 and January 2013.