Out of Sandy Comes a New Business

In the days following Hurricane Sandy, Syd Dufton did what many did; sought out power. The New York based entrepreneur was getting ready to a launch a huge social commerce campaign for a facial scrub when the storm hit. In a panic over how to complete the project with both himself and the members of his team at Axle Digital out of power, he worked from libraries and coffee shops.

“I was sitting in the Mattituck Starbucks watching everyone come in to charge up including Red Cross personnel and volunteers and it hit me, we could help connect nonprofits with people who want to help,” Dufton said.

This past October, Dufton launched WeWin, a cause commerce platform that can benefit retail, nonprofit and educational partners. The platform connects, ideas, causes, products and customers and as the first API-based rewards program tied to retail, it offers schools, charities and nonprofit organizations a way to thank their donors, and brands a way to engage their fans with causes they care about.

Think of it like a wedding registry, a nonprofit or even a school can list everything they need so that those looking to help don’t give duplicates.

“During Hurricane Sandy people wanted to help and Long Island ended up with tons of winter coats but what we needed were batteries, generators, water,” Dufton said.

The platform isn’t just geared for disasters. Their most recent partnership is with the Red Cross where they recently debuted a rewards platform integrated into the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, offering users a range of retail rewards and discounts for making and keeping their blood donation appointments.

“It’s hard to believe that it has been two years since my colleagues and I tried to conduct business amid Hurricane Sandy-soaked streets and had the epiphany that we could impact the future of cause marketing,” Dufton said. “It feels good to know that we have already played a role in encouraging more people to donate blood to the Red Cross; we are excited to see what the next year holds for new cause commerce campaigns. We encourage organizations of all sizes to embrace the role of technology and social efficacy to engage millennials in the future of giving.”

WeWIN works behind the scenes to facilitate retail/nonprofit relationships and cause commerce transactions so its customers can focus on what they do best. The company gets a portion of the money it costs a brand to list a reward on the site.

The goal of the WeWIN for Retailers platform is to make it easy and cost-effective for retailers of all sizes to attach their brand to causes and engage in a new wave of cause marketing. Retailers can be included in a cause campaign in a matter of hours.

In addition to the Red Cross the biggest WeWin causes are schools.

A collaboration between WeWin and online retailers is enabling physical donations to teachers and schools via the “WinList.” Donors see 100 percent of their contribution affecting classrooms.

Dufton sees the collaboration as a way for out-of-area family members, alumni and others to make a difference in a completely transparent manner.

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