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London Jewish community members launch groundbreaking online charity platform

Three members of the London Jewish community — Joe Perl, Olivia Fox, and Marc Lester — have launched a groundbreaking way of persuading people to give to charity. POGO, or the Power of Giving to Others, is an online platform which marries brand support for charities to consumers’ desire for a good deal, with the aim of making good the POGO slogan, “give a little, save a lot”.

Co-founder Joe Perl explained: “Olivia and I (both 26) were best friends at university and we were introduced to Marc, so there was already some pre-POGO thinking then. (Lester, 45, is chief executive of a computing company and a graduate of the Gamechangers Jewish leadership programme). After graduation, through a body called TeachFirst, I went to teach maths in Lowestoft for two years. And then I was deciding what to do next — and lockdown hit”.

And it was during lockdown that the three realised how badly affected charities were, and that perhaps, counter-intuitively, it was the time to launch POGO.

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The idea is simple: users shopping online can see what discounts or special offers a company is promoting, and unlock these rewards by giving a small sum to charity. Both Perl and Fox are keenly aware that younger people don’t have the same tradition of philanthropy as older generations — but that doesn’t mean the charitable impulse isn’t there. The aim, the trio say, is “to integrate charitable giving into the everyday lives of the next generation, by making giving to charity a key part of the way we save and shop with our favourite brands”.

Whilst shopping online, users of POGO can see what discounts or special offers a company is promoting, and unlock these rewards by giving a small sum to charity.

Since December 2021, when POGO was launched as an MVP, or Minimum Viable Product, Perl, Fox and Lester have managed to persuade an increasing number of brands to channel their charitable support through POGO. Among the companies on board are furniture firm MADE.COM, TALA, which is a fitness wear company, and, soon to come, the prestigious jewellery name, Monica Vinader. The attraction for the companies is clear: sales increase while money is raised for charities.

The aim, the trio say, is “to integrate charitable giving into the everyday lives of the next generation, by making giving to charity a key part of the way we save and shop with our favourite brands.

To date, Norwood has expressed interest, though the intention is not to restrict POGO to Jewish charities. But the hope is to harness the younger generation’s keenness on social responsibility, by persuading them to make regular charitable donations of £4 or £5 a month, while being rewarded with exclusive prizes and special offers from the brands that people would be buying anyway.

“We hope to make charitable giving the norm for a generation who are really conscious about where we spend our money,” says Perl.

Perl continued: “We are partnered with the Disaster Emergency Fund and we hope to be able to offer some big prizes whereby money can go to Ukrainian relief efforts.”

Marc Lester added: “We needed to prove to people that the concept was a winner and we are now at that stage. It’s a good news story: win-win. The brands are winning because they are able to show that they are supporting charities by offering discounts and establishing a new relationship with the people who are signing up. And there’s definitely an element of education in the platform because younger people are learning about philanthropy. All the ducks are in a row now for us to make this happen.”

 



Source: Jewish News

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