Click here to preview the new Fast Company

Want to try out the new

If you’d like to return to the previous design, click the yellow button on the lower left corner.

SwipeGood: Social Change Through Little Change at All

The need to scale positive social change is immediate and pressing. Too many men, women and children around the world are suffering, often needlessly, because they're not getting the help they need. At the other end of the prosperity equation, donations to worthy causes suffer from the high costs of marketing, donor fatigue and successive emergencies as we saw with the tragic floods in Pakistan directly after the terrible earthquake in Haiti. That's why I'm so excited about cause platforms such as SwipeGood.

The way SwipeGood works is simple. You just sign up your credit card, round up your purchases, and donate the change to charity. This model is powerful for several reasons:

1. It enlists the everyday wants and needs of people in the service of positive change and therefore makes change sustainable.

2. People aren't expected to change their behavior or desires eliminating the need to make people to do something different.

3. There's very little a consumer has to do once they have signed up which overcomes the issue of apathy, waning interest and a lack of time or motivation to help.

4. The billions of credit card transactions that take place every day have the potential to dramatically scale contributions to change.

5. The choice of charities allow people to personalize their contribution.

6. The integration of purpose into self-interested behavior allows consumers to feel good about themselves and their contribution.

Through a combination of these six factors, SwipeGood does away with the false separation between living and giving which does not serve an intimately connected global community facing so many global crises.

Yet the integration of profit and purpose through corporate social responsibility efforts, cause marketing, and employee volunteering, and the application of technologies such as Causecast, SocialVibe, SwipeGood or SocialVest, hint at what we can achieve when we work collectively to drive change.

The incremental damage done to the lives of others and the planet can equally serve their rehabilitation given the necessary technology and willpower to do so. All these companies are making that possibility a reality and they deserve our wholehearted support.

Do you believe profit and purpose needs further integration if we are to achieve meaningful social change? Or do you believe selfish motives will ensure we always fall short?

Reprinted from

Simon Mainwaring is a branding consultant, advertising creative director, blogger, and speaker. A former Nike creative at Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, and worldwide creative director for Motorola at Ogilvy, he now consults for brands and creative companies that are re-inventing their industries and enabling positive change. Follow him at or on Twitter @SimonMainwaring.

Add New Comment


  • christine

    It is unfortunate that the reader below completely misses the point of Swipegood. Much as I agree with the value of philanthropy, and the importance of an authentic relationship between the cause and the donor, The comment below fails to address the typical breakdown in this relationship, due to roadblocks stand that consistently stand between a user and a donor, such as time, and readily available monetary resources. It is however, with services like Swipegood, that allow us to channel our resources in the best way we can, a little at a time.

    Additionally, I also believe accessibility does not cheapen the experience at all. After all, who can really question the authenticity or sentiment behind someone who chooses to give, and the means they use to do so? If the user below thinks Swipegood is " cancerous" to philanthropy, then other great organizations, such as Microplace, Causes, and Kiva should also be victims of the reader's comments as well.

  • sondra lintelmann-dellaripa

    Although these feel good, are easy on the consumer and may add up, programs like these are cancerous to philanthropy.

    The true value in philanthropy lies in the cause and affect of the donor/cause relationship. The investment of the donor into the organizations programs, its mission, its outcomes, is valued only when the relationship develops to a point that communication and sharing between the parties can occur. This authentic and deepening relationship does not occur through Swipegoods programming.

    In addition, human nature values what it pays for. Psych 101 will confirm that well known fact. Reducing philanthropy to pennies and nickels, leftover change, reduces the value of charitable work.