Innovation That Matters

Grocer lets customers direct its community giving


When corporations donate to charity, it’s often far-flung global causes that benefit. That’s still entirely commendable, of course, but British grocer Waitrose recently launched a locally focused giving program that enlists customers’ help in focusing on issues closer to home. Kicked off last month, Waitrose’s Community Matters program assigns each store GBP 1,000 each trading month to donate among three local organisations such as community groups, schools or local divisions of national charities. Customers nominate the organisations to benefit, and Waitrose’s local democratic bodies make the final selection. Customers are then offered a token each time they shop that can be inserted in any of three Perspex tubes–one for each of the selected charitable groups. At the end of the month, the pile of tokens donated to each organisation is weighed and the beneficiaries receive a corresponding proportion of the cash. Following a trial in four Waitrose stores, the Community Matters program is scheduled to be in place at all branches in the next two weeks. A similar program is in place across the Atlantic at upscale chain Whole Foods, where customers who bring their own bags are rewarded with “wooden nickels” that can be deposited in boxes assigned for donation to select local charities. And as interest continues to grow in all things local (see our sister site’s still made here briefing for more on that trend), consumers will increasingly appreciate having a direct hand in choosing who to help in their local community. One to emulate around the globe! Spotted by: Maria Dahl Jørgensen



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