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Not to be cynical about it, but charity has always been great for business. “Charitable marketing,” or “altruistic marketing,” has been embraced by many of the leading brands, from McDonald’s and Ben & Jerry’s to the National Football League.

It works even better at the local community level. More and more of our local marketplace companies are jumping on the bandwagon by donating a portion of their proceeds to charity — usually around 10 percent, or equivalent.

BiddingforGood, an effort developed by Family Education Network founder Jon Carson, has worked with 6,400 companies to run auctions for charities. Oodle, under the leadership of Craig Donato, got a jump on the bandwagon a couple of years ago by letting used good sellers assign their proceeds to their choice among a list of 1,000 charities.

More recently, we’ve seen Local Corp.’s SpreeBird assign 10 percent of its net proceeds to local schools or charities: an effort that has already sent out more than $700,000. Similarly,, a diner loyalty program, assigns 0.5 percent of every restaurant tab to its “donate a meal” program, as well as the donation of free meals to incent new signups. The effort has already amounted to 50,000 meals from the start-up. Go Jon Carder!

NextJump’s is also pushing hard on the cause marketing front. It assigns a loyalty WOW point for every dollar assigned — a loyalty factor that encourages customers to buy in network. Today, in conjunction with Father’s Day, it is partnering with Best Buy on a $10 for $20 deal, with proceeds designed to push’s donation to Donors Choose, a poor schools program, over the $1 million. The effort has affected 127,000 students in 472 schools in less than six months.

NextJump CEO Charlie Kim tells us that the charity effort and other company efforts all add up to the same thing. “Basically, it is incentive currency,” he says. “It incents behavior. They are going to buy things anyway.”

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