Categorized | Social Entrepreneur

Sharing Spree puts a unique twist on daily deals to help non-profits boost donations

Sharing Spree puts a unique twist on daily deals to help non-profits boost donationsRon Sapp of Sharing Spree, LLC

Giving back—a concept that’s often easier said than done.

For Ron Sapp, CEO and co-founder of Sharing Spree LLC, it’s a concept that his life’s work has been built upon.

Sharing Spree, one of only a handful of group buying sites of its kind, combines a group buying business model with a philanthropic goal: giving back profits to non-profits and schools in need.

Every day, a featured non-profit receives 10 percent of the proceeds of the daily deal. On top of that charitable perk, buyers choose an organization from about 150 participating non-profits that receives 5 percent of each deal they buy. Every deal goes back to charity, every time—while buyers enjoy a great discount at local hot spots or services around town.

A gift for consumers that keeps on giving, if you will.

Ron’s passion for charity intersected with his business aspirations even before Sharing Spree’s creation in January 2011. The company was not his first in the daily deals market. Ron initially co-founded MyEZdeal.com in the summer of 2010, which offered an identical group-buying business model to Sharing Spree.

Long before the advent of MyEZdeal.com, Ron knew he wanted to engage his entrepreneurial mindset and philanthropic spirit to foster a business that would give back to the greater good. Charitable pursuits had always been a passion—but he knew he was only one person. Creating real waves of change would require a more universal effort.

He knew that prospects looked dim for the non-profit sector. Despite a brief wave of public interest to support the non-profit community to build stronger, more effective non-profit organizations, the sector as a whole suffered from a severe case of the financial blues. In fact, a frighteningly low percentage of non-profits could even afford to help their clients.

The relentlessly tough economic landscape of 2009 brought several urgent questions to mind for Ron and his fellow co-founders: What are the survival tactics of non-profits, school districts, individuals and companies whose very mission is to help others in need? Where do they turn when donors’ pockets are empty?

While he knew that most people would love to give to charity in an ideal world, he also realized that such a harsh economic climate forced many people to put donations at the bottom of their financial to-do list—especially because so many families were living on a shoestring budget.

To tackle the issue, he decided to combine business and charity—his ultimate goal being to create a “win-win-win” situation where consumers would get huge discounts, merchants would get more new customers—and most importantly—non-profits would get a boost to donations.

Ron considered business trends that were sure to turn over a profit. He didn’t have to look much further than the business model of group-buying moguls like Groupon or LivingSocial to discover what shoppers on a budget were chomping at the bit for: a great discount.

Ron and his fellow co-founders had found the ideal consumer base—now it was time to join the rapidly proliferating group-buying trend by adding a charitable twist.

Alongside several teammates with a similar philanthropic mindset, MyEZdeal.com was born in the summer of 2010: a site offering daily deals that would send money back into the pockets of non-profits and schools in need in several U.S. cities.

While the site undoubtedly gathered speed and made a real difference for a number of schools and non-profits—the business donated more than $30,000 to schools and non-profits. But, Ron knew he had only just begun to accomplish his larger goals.

He wholeheartedly believed that the company was capable of reaching an even larger audience and achieving greater results. It was time to make small changes with potential for big impact for the business’ charitable dollar amount. In essence, it was time to revamp.

The first step? Rebranding to make the company and its greater message known to an even larger and more receptive consumer audience.

One sparkling new website later, MyEZDeal had become Sharing Spree: the currently thriving daily deals site with a big heart.

As with MyEZDeal.com, Ron’s mission is simple: to help consumers save money, charities and schools boost donations and businesses get more new customers in their doors.

Every day, Sharing Spree features a daily deal targeted specifically for women that offers 50 to 90 percent off at local restaurants, spas, hair and nail salons, shows, events, car detailing, wineries, personal service providers, photographers and numerous other business in Portland, Ore., Nashville, Tenn., and Birmingham, Ala.

The sharing process is simple. Consumers simply view their city’s daily Sharing Spree deal through Facebook, Twitter or email, purchase their deal, enjoy great savings and then rest easy knowing that a portion of their purchase went to a local charity, while supporting a local business. A simple process with big results.

Since its creation in January 2011, Sharing Spree has now donated more than $200,000 to non-profits and schools.

The giving didn’t stop there for Ron’s Sharing Spree endeavors. Under his direction, the company avoided focusing only on the high-collar, touristy-type businesses—instead, Sharing Spree strives to drive business to small, lesser known businesses in the community. He wanted to ensure that “going local” goes hand-in-hand with the company’s larger charitable mission.

In the brutal economic landscape, businesses like Sharing Spree enable non-profits to meet today’s financial priorities and garner the support necessary to maintain strong organizations of tomorrow. From consumers to non-profits to an even larger network of people in need, every dollar spent on a Sharing Spree deal is truly a gift that keeps on giving.

Thanks to the efforts of Ron and the Sharing Spree team, consumers can finally donate to a non-profit or charity in a way that’s simple, satisfying and fun—why wouldn’t anyone want to enjoy the unique perks of a city at a discounted price? It certainly doesn’t feel like work.

Ron’s entrepreneurial spirit and passion for charity led to a business model whose continual growth has helped countless non-profits and local schools. From the initial MyEZdeal endeavor in 2010 to his revamped Sharing Spree group buying business, Ron’s greater mission remains the same: enjoy what life has to offer but always give back.

Shoppers can visit Sharing Spree on Facebook and Twitter to give back while enjoying a sweet deal now.

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