The shop local trend is huge here in Central Ohio thanks to several businesses and organizations, including the Small Business Beanstalk, The North Market, and Dine Originals. Now, startup BidSwan joins their ranks.
BidSwan is an online marketplace for local merchants. Customers bid on items by submitting a price they are willing to pay for a particular item, and the merchant decides whether to accept their offer. Local businesses using BidSwan include Outlook Media’s Suite Q, Traxler Tees, Tastefully Dirty, Make Believe Monsters, Phia Salons, and Global Gallery.
“On Bid Swan, customers can save 20 to 50 percent by naming their price on great offerings from fun, local shops and businesses,” says Josh Kibbey, founder of BidSwan.
By partnering with nonprofits that already have a presence in the community, BidSwan can be philanthropic and extend its reach to consumers. The company created “Give Back Codes” to help shoppers use their purchases to support local charities.
After a customer submits a bid, they have the option of getting a “Give Back Code” for a partner charity. The code earns customers $5 off their purchases while the partner charity earns $5.
“The idea of benefitting our community and at the same time being able to accomplish our goals seemed like the way to go,” Kibbey says.
BidSwan has opted to set aside some of the funds it would have traditionally spent on advertising to fund the Give Back Code program.
“When we started BidSwan, we realized there are lots of ways to market to people,” he says. “They all cost money. We felt if we could encourage people to use BidSwan by partnering with nonprofits to help them raise money instead of spending it on a traditional media buy, it was a better way of doing things.”
BidSwan is currently looking to expand its Give Back Code program to a variety of nonprofits; it will be announcing new partnerships in the near future.
For business looking to add philanthropy to their business model, Kibbey has some advice.
“I think businesses need to figure out a model that contains a win-win-win,” he says. “Their model needs to be a win for the charity, a win for the consumer, and a win for the business. If you don’t create a big enough win for everyone involved, eventually it won’t work. Philanthropy may help fuel success, but it won’t create it.”
Philanthropic Pursuit is a monthly feature on The Metropreneur, powered by Community Shares of Mid Ohio. Is your business giving back to the community or partnering with a local nonprofit in a unique way? We want to hear about it. Contact Ryan Kovalaske at firstname.lastname@example.org.