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On Walmartâ€™s website, an e-shopper can scroll their â€śshopping cartâ€ť through an endless array of electronic aisles with a simple click of the mouse. The website is not partial, offering the super storeâ€™s entire stock. They even sell specialty products that canâ€™t be bought in stores.
Customers shop. Pick. Buy. And after a few days, a product arrives on their doorstep.
Walmart and most other department stores didnâ€™t have a retail website 12 years ago. Â Â
To say the least, online shopping options increased during the past decade. One of the newest developments in e-commerce allows online shoppers to donate to their favorite non-profit organizations without trying.
Through companies like Market America, customers can shop at stores like The Home Depot, Barnes and Noble and Sears and know that a portion of their money will benefit a charity or non-profit organization.
Catawba County e-shoppers, for instance, can buy online and benefit organizations like Sipeâ€™s Orchard Home.
Sipeâ€™s is a non-profit organization based in Catawba County that has several programs that help kids ages 1-21 with anything from school to providing a place to live.
In April, Sipeâ€™s signed on to the new fundraising opportunity with Market America, a product brokerage and Internet marketing firm based in Greensboro. So now, citizens can visit orchardhome.org, shop at more than 3,500 stores and donate to Sipeâ€™s with the click of a mouse.
â€śItâ€™s an opportunity for someone to give without even trying to give â€” they just go online and shop,â€ť said Nan Lacy, director of development at Sipeâ€™s. â€śItâ€™s a great way for people to not give a lot of thought to giving to an organization, but still give and do something.â€ť
Shop and donate
How it works is fairly simple. Each store, such as Walmart and The Home Depot, agreed to give a percentage of a customerâ€™s online purchase to the non-profit of their choice. When customers log on to orchardhome.org, they create an account, buy products and immediately start giving to Sipeâ€™s.
Citizens wonâ€™t only be donating, though, as they will receive cash back with their â€śnon-profitâ€ť purchases, as well. With every online purchase, a shopper receives a cash back rewards that build up over time. After a shopping period, a shopper can use the rewards as a discount for their next purchase or receive a check.
â€śIn this economy, people will probably opt to get cash back,â€ť Lacy said. â€śThe cash back is about .5 percent. That might seem like a small amount, but it builds up over time.â€ť
Sipeâ€™s is seeking this form of fundraising to reach a new, younger audience. Lacy said most of the donors are from the older population, adding that online shopping should attract a younger crowd.
â€śA lot of our donor base is aging out,â€ť Lacy said. â€śThatâ€™s the donor we are trying to reach, the 30-50-year-old crowd. This is something they are really into. A lot of them donâ€™t have time on their hands to sit down and write a check to a non-profit, but they do shop online.â€ť
Lacy added that e-shoppers do not have to worry about spam emails or Internet scams, because Sipe's website is protected and professional.
The royalties for Sipeâ€™s and cash-back rewards for customers may be small at first, but Lacy said that everything builds up with time.
â€śThis project works out for everyone,â€ť she said. â€śIt expands out and is like a big pool ripple.â€ť