Change Mob blends charity with Groupon savvy

Look out Living Social and Groupon. There’s a new kid in town.

The Change Mob will launch its platform Tuesday when it requests $1 donations from Colorado Springs residents to help Restore Innocence, a non-profit organization devoted to rescuing young women from sex trafficking outfits. The organization aims to raise enough money to buy a house in Colorado Springs for the troubled young women who have nowhere else to go.

As a reward for the donation, the Change Mob offers a haircut from high-end Veda Salon valued at $35.

It’s just the first of what will be a series of similar promotions, said Change Mob founder Jonathan Kuiper

The idea is that people give $1 and they can track how their $1 is used. Every penny goes to the immediate cause Change Mob advertises, Kuiper said. In exchange for helping to promote the cause, businesses get to brand themselves with a charity and with the very idea of charitable giving, Kuiper said.

It’s similar to the way Living Social and Groupon deal-a-day sites work – people give knowing they’ll get something in return. But that’s where the similarities end.

“The difference is that we really want to work with the businesses to make the first visit profitable,” Kuiper said.

Unlike the deal-a-day sites, the supporting businesses will not recover anything from the sale of the “deal” because it’s not actually a “deal.” It’s a “thank you,” Kuiper said. And it’s advertising for which the business will pay Change Mob.

Businesses are excited, Kuiper said. He and partner Gary Black already have half a dozen donations and partnered business support set up for coming weeks and are ready to launch in four other areas around the country. Change Mob recently opened an office downtown and already has eight employees supported by funds raised through angel investors and others.

To learn more about the Change Mob and its plot to change the world and do good business at the same time, check out this Friday’s Colorado Springs Business Journal.

To give to Restore Innocence and receive the free haircut from Veda, visit Tuesday and the rest of the week.