Sometimes, the algorithm just knows what you’re looking for.
A dating app offers the perfect match to swipe right. A streaming service knows exactly what movie fits the mood. A vacation rental app showcases great hosts in the perfect location with the right amenities. A food delivery service seems to have dinner at the door almost as soon as someone asks, “What sounds good?” A restock reminder pings for paper towels just as the last roll leaves the cabinet.
And for the nonprofits and brands that rely on ShoppingGives, its Clearity Impact Network offers merchants the powerful data-driven tools they need to connect with the nonprofits and causes that will resonate most strongly with customers.
“I call the Clearity Impact Network our matchmaking site because it allows the nonprofits and merchants to find alignment based on their preferences and social impact goals,” said VP of Social Impact Molly Trerotola.
Since 2015, ShoppingGives has been building products that aim to create social impact, and from the beginning, CEO Ronny Sage has had a clear vision for connecting merchants, nonprofits and consumers to create meaningful and purposeful relationships.
In order to keep the product responsive to customer needs, Sage and his team took a deep dive into researching the opportunities offered for the next stage of ShoppingGives’ growth after the post-2020 changes to market conditions and consumer priorities.
“Our thesis was always about making it easier for merchants to identify who they should be giving to and why, and then showing the impact on the customer journey — because we know that doing well can also be synonymous with doing good,” Sage said. “If a merchant can make more money, they can potentially give back more, so if we shift those marketing concepts and dollars into impact, we align with a stronger outcome.”
“If a merchant can make more money, they can give back more, so if we shift those marketing concepts and dollars into impact, we align with a stronger outcome.”
Ultimately, extensive surveying and research bore Sage’s thesis out as true — streamlined compliance, meaningful campaign management, maximizing outcomes and ensuring the right partnerships were crucial to success for merchants and nonprofits alike.
To convert the research into reality, Head of Product Dzenita Cifric and her team stepped in. As the team drove forward toward a full launch of the Clearity Impact Network, streamlining the microservices powering the tech was crucial to building more responsive and flexible possibilities into the underlying architecture.
WHAT IS THE CLEARITY IMPACT NETWORK?
The Clearity Impact Network extends the power of ShoppingGives for both businesses and nonprofits, empowering them to create stronger cause marketing campaigns and corporate partnerships. It does this by utilizing data to both match organizations to partners and provide insights on campaign performance — all while offering end-to-end compliant donation management for businesses and nonprofits of all sizes.
As Cifric and the engineering team set out to build accurate, transparent and fast tools on the building blocks of ShoppingGives’ donations engines, the newly simplified microservices allowed for possibilities like developing a contextual campaign builder.
“The campaign builder makes it simple and understandable for people because it’s like writing a story,” Cifric said. “You can see exactly what your giving experience will be, so it helps the user realize what experience they’re going to serve and the impact that they’ll ultimately achieve, which will really drive engagement.”
Driving external engagement hasn’t been Cifric’s only win throughout the process of building the Clearity Impact Network. She has also worked alongside Trerotola to communicate the power of the work at hand to ShoppingGives’ internal team.
“Molly’s team does a great job communicating the impact we make as an organization, and I like to start my team’s meetings with what she has shared,” Cifric said. “It grounds the team and makes us more empathetic and positive in our work. When we connect with our impact and mission — which we get from the top down — we’re a happier team, and a happy team writes good code, delivers products faster and works together better.”
“A happy team writes good code.”
Keeping the mission in mind is more than just part of a regular email update for Trerotola — it’s at the heart of her work leading ShoppingGives’ social impact efforts, which are now being powered with additional technology and data within the Clearity Impact Network.
“A lot of what we’re accomplishing with the Impact Network are things we were doing manually, which was early product validation for us before we started to build — even before we launched the study that validated those points,” she said. “We’ve seen demand on both sides for a matchmaking product, and by seeing this work in flow with a streamlined process, we are able to scale our recommendations for both corporate donors and nonprofit organizations.”
The desire for the product has been matched by the ease of bringing organizations into the impact network, according to Sage and Trerotola.
“There’s been almost no friction to onboarding organizations,” Trerotola said. “Nonprofits are excited to share their mission, vision and cause areas or what sustainable development goals they’re aligned with or which brands are their ideal partners. By offering this place to share organized information, nonprofits have an opportunity to provide information that will make them a more valuable match for brands within the network.”
The low-friction process was no mistake. By working closely with nonprofits and corporate partners throughout the research and development phase, the ShoppingGives team was able to understand those needs and goals as it brought the Clearity Impact Network to life. The team also offered paths forward toward what Sage calls “ShoppingGives 3.0,” a refined and refreshed approach to how the company meets its mission of building a robust Giving Economy — a term the company has trademarked.
While Sage has kept the mission and big-picture impact in mind since founding ShoppingGives alongside COO Phil Kaulfield, he shares Cifric’s focus on building an empowered and tight-knit team.
“I joke that I built the company so I can work with my best friend, which is Phil, our COO,” he said. “It’s always been about working with great people and keeping that culture alive and thriving. People make the culture, and it’s about having our team be able to be fulfilled and live their best lives through the work they do. It’s our job to help our people because we have the power to do that.”
“It’s always been about working with great people and keeping that culture alive and thriving.”
Part of building a fulfilled workplace culture at ShoppingGives returns back to Trerotola and her team’s impact emails and the insight they provide into the change being created by the team’s work. For Cifric, that impact keeps her centered and inspired. “Working at a startup can get overwhelming, but when I take a step back, I think of our mantra — we exist to inspire purpose every day.”
“Every time we hit a keyboard, we’re creating impact,” Sage said. “Every line of code, every email, every partner that goes live helps do good in this world.”