You could feel twice as good the next time you give in and purchase a group deal. The Mutual is the latest group-buying service joining the dozen already filling up your inbox. But this one has a charitable twist: Billing itself as the “Groupon for good,” The Mutual rewards philanthropic giving with sweet hookups on VIP events, early product releases, discounts and more. The Brooklyn-based start up is simple enough: You pay a monthly $10 fee for access to the perks. Of that, 80 percent is donated to an environmental charity, with the rest going back to The Mutual. Perks right now include a VIP Brooklyn Brewery party, a free Sustainable NYC totebag and steep discounts to Broadway shows, which means you might recover your monthly fee in just one use.
The five charities currently available include CarbonFund.org, Ecoliteracy, World Resources Institute, Oceana and The Trust for Public Land. The Mutual’s CEO tells Brokelyn that each charity was vetted for its effective use of funding, tangible results and transparency.
“We brought together the five areas that we think collectively have the greatest impact on the environmental crisis,” says Daniel Vallejo, CEO and co-founder of The Mutual. “We are certain through our selection of cause partners and the smart model that we are maximizing the impact of every philanthropic dollar that goes through our system.”
Subscribers have a choice of donating to one of the listed charities or distributing their donation equally among all five. As The Mutual expands nationally, the site plans to allow members to choose the next impact area and selecting local charities for every region.
For now, perks for The Mutual remains mainly in NYC, with more than 45 available discounts from businesses such as uncommon goods and Dossier. The environmental causes so far have received more than $3,000 from more than 50 members.
“People want to do good and live better, but for a lot of us in today’s economy it’s just slightly out of reach,” Daniel says. “With The Mutual, we enable people to spend the money they would have on products and deals, have it go to charity, reward them and write off the bulk of it as a tax deduction.”