The Mutual: How brands make doing good, good for you

There is a growing number of brand doing social impact work in alignment with their core values in the hope of earning goodwill, loyalty and profits for their company. The Mutual takes that one step further but allowing brands to reward customers for doing good to support the environment. Here’s how it works.

The Mutual, a new, Brooklyn-based social enterprise rewards individuals for donating to environmental charities by giving them unlimited access to Perks from businesses. It also helps individuals and businesses live and operate more sustainably by connecting them to environmental non-profits so that their incentive-based model can inspires and reward positive behavior change.

Individuals join for as little as $10 per month and select the environmental non-profit they would like to donate to. In return, they get unlimited access to Perks like VIP service, early access to tickets and discounts from partner businesses such as Brooklyn Brewery, uncommon goods and Zimride, in effect creating an economy for good.

So far the Mutual has already sent over $4500 to charities and will soon be opening in New York, but it is also making a larger contribution through a shift in business mindset and corporate practices. While brands already practice cause marketing or launch employee volunteer programs, the Mutual completes the brand/employee/customer partnership by inspiring customers to act for good in line with the social purpose of the brand. For the change we hope to inspire in corporate and customer practices is a shared responsibility, and without an equivalent shift in consumer behavior, any efforts by companies alone will come up short.

So the Mutual has taken the best of reward programs and charitable giving and merged the two in a model that incentivizes both individuals and businesses to participate. Dan Vallejo, CEO and Co-Founder of The Mutual explains:

“The problem with bringing about significant change is that no one has made it easy. With The Mutual, we make doing good easy and advantageous for individuals and businesses. It’s really just bringing the business and philanthropic worlds a little closer together in a practical way. We call it profitable activism.

The membership model provides individuals with unlimited access to a range of Perk types in The Mutual network, which quickly offsets the cost to join. On top of the rewards, 80% of the membership cost is tax deductible.

The membership model also provides an uplifting alternative to daily deal sites for businesses. There is no cost for businesses to join The Mutual and The Mutual does not take any cut of the deals offered. As Valljo explains:

“Daily deals destroy margins for businesses and create discount-addicted shoppers that do not return.  We took the essence of what makes a coupon work and redesigned it to be customizable for the needs of individual businesses, and more importantly to foster loyalty and repeat business over the long term.”

Members can either choose a specific cause or spread their donation equally across all five causes, which the Company calls the Smart Model. The Mutual believes the Smart Model allocates members’ donations across the right blend of areas to create the greatest collective impact on the environment. Cause Partners include:

To find out more about The Mutual, click here, and you can follow them on twitter at @the_mutual.