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It is a simple concept that has the ability to make real change in the world, and it is coming to Canberra via Braddon boutique Rebel Muse.

The popular retailer has recently joined cause-marketing platform i=Change, which links e-commerce stores to hand-selected charities around the world, to provide a new income stream to programs supporting mothers, women and children.

Retailers agree to give $1 from every online purchase to one of three selected charities. Customers get to choose where it goes and can track the donation–to see in real-time the impact of their purchase and charity choice—all with a click of the mouse.

The brainchild of Jeremy Meltzer, i=change has already raised nearly $620,000. So far, 44 national retailers have joined the platform, including Camilla, Romance was Born, Cristina Re and Legoe Heritage.

Meanwhile, 22 carefully selected charities have been invited to receive donations.

Canberra-based maternal health charity Send Hope Not Flowers—which funds safe birth programs across seven developing countries—has been selected by Rebel Muse as one of three recipients, alongside the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, and UN Women.

Rebel Muse owner Alicia Xyrakis said she had been drawn to participate in the program because “it is a really good opportunity to pay it forward and say thank you to my loyal customers by making a donation to an important cause.”

Jeremy came up with the web-based charity funding mechanism after doing some gap-year travelling and ending up in Cuba.

The systemic disadvantage and discrimination against women and girls that he witnessed there upset him greatly. He began to consider how he could make a difference.

Jeremy has since travelled around the world looking into the role of Non-Government Organisations (NG0s) and the difference they can make for vulnerable communities.

He met with a range of charities and quickly realised that creating a new, reliable revenue stream for organisations focused on women and girls’ development was the best way to help.

“i=Change looks really simple,” laughs Jeremy, but it has taken years of toil in order to provide an experience that is transparent and well-designed.

“It’s taken a major investment of time and energy and ongoing testing, but we have now created a really simple and compelling model.”

The website allows you to see which retailers and charities are on board, and a real-time tally to see exactly where the dollars have gone.

Retailers pay an additional 30 cents on top of the $1 donation in order to fund the system and its staff. This ensures 100 per cent of every $1 is directly given to the NGOs.

“What it says to customers is that the retailer is committed to being a force for good and is willing to back that with small, ongoing donations that add up,” said Jeremy.

He noted millennials—the bulk of online shoppers—“are looking to support brands that have a purpose beyond product, so this has become a powerful differentiator for the brands we work with.”

I=Change founder Jeremy Meltzer

Meanwhile, Alicia is hosting a special “Rebel Muse Sends Hope” shopping night on Thursday 5 April where she will donate $5 from every purchase to Send Hope’s safe birth programs in countries such as PNG, Laos and Timor Leste.

More than just shopping, there will be live music, drinks, grazing table, raffle prizes and a talk from Send Hope co-founder Emma Macdonald.

the essentials

What: “Rebel Muse Sends Hope” shopping night
When: Thursday 5 April, 6pm-9pm
Where: Rebel Muse (30 Lonsdale Street Braddon).
Web: facebook.com


Words by Emma McDonald for HerCanberra

Images: I=Change & Send Hope Not Flowers

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