Givewith Aims To Improve Social Impact Through Digital Advertising

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Paul Polizzotto, a social impact leader and CEO of CBS-owned EcoMedia has launched Givewith, a spin-off startup dedicated to making it easier for brands, and their digital advertising partners, to contribute to charitable causes that align with their own corporate mission.

“I was really drawn to media and advertising as a way to serve the underserved,” Polizzotto said at Transforming Commerce, an event held in partnership between CBS, Givewith, and the United Nations, on April 11.

Givewith uses algorithms to evaluate brands and advertisers, identify the right nonprofit partnerships that will deliver the most social impact, and measure campaign return on investment in the process. The startup also works as a liaison for nonprofit projects, advises on creatives, and curates supplementary content to bolster advertising efforts.

The result is an advertising experience that allows consumers to participate in “one-click” donations. Every time a consumer clicks on an ad, the brand will automatically make a donation to the charity tied to the campaign.

Polizzotto says this approach eliminates the “one-way monologue” that dominates the change marketing space. Instead of brands just talking about their social initiatives, companies can include their consumers directly in the giving experience.

This movement, Polizzotto says, comes at a time when consumers are more cognizant than ever about how brands contribute to society. Buyers are more socially active, and want to align with companies that share their same beliefs.

“Brands are now asking consumers – ‘do you care about the same things we care about?'” Polizzotto said.

Social impact initiatives can also provide a unique sales incentive that benefits both the brand and their advertising partners. Strategic partnerships with added social impact initiatives can help both participating parties meet Sustainable Development Goals and improve ESG ratings – which can be valuable to potential investors.

“In commerce, we've seen more value for both buyers and sellers when social impact is involved,” Polizzotto said.

Givewith early adopters have already seen results. Dell Technologies participated in two projects so far, one focused on eliminating ocean plastics, and another in partnership with Girls Who Code.

"We put tremendous effort in building a circular economy," Alan Mayer, SVP, commercial customer advocacy, Dell, said of the company's work with ocean plastics. 

According to Givewith, the Girls Who Code campaign reached 191,000 people, with Dell seeing a 79 percent lift in brand favorability.

Other early Givewith clients include United Healthcare and Allstate, among others.

EcoMedia, Polizzotto's first company, was acquired by CBS in 2010. The EcoMedia brand is responsible for providing $100 million in funding for nonprofit projects worldwide.

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