Philanthropy | For Goodness’ Sake

Virtual dots as ‘social currency for good’

A new venture that turns charitable donations into reward points

Virtual dots as ‘social currency for good’

February 05 2012
Sibéal Pounder

As the former creative director of Comic Relief, Chris Ward is a dab hand at dreaming up imaginative ways to encourage mass giving. His latest, solo venture, BlueDot, is billed as “social currency for good”: virtual dots are allocated to those who donate to the charities listed on the BlueDot website – which include Cancer Research UK and Children in Need – and then act as reward points that can be traded for real, often exclusive, products (everything from sold-out concert tickets and John Issac watches to a cappuccino machine).

“I remember reading in 2009 that shoppers had spent £870m in the new Westfield London shopping centre – far more than we had achieved with Comic Relief that year [£82m],” says Ward. “I wanted to create something that consumers could engage with.” BlueDot does not make any money from the donations made through its site and, with over 9,000 charities onboard in the UK and more than 100,000 worldwide, hopes to raise £1m in its first year.