Groupon Teams Up with Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation on an Epic Deal

Win or Buy an Epic Trip to New Orleans to Attend Gala featuring Brad Pitt, Bruno Mars and Kings of Leon

806x806_socialFacebook_MIR_mbYep, you read that right. We are offering a deal of epic proportions—the chance to support a great charity AND have a chance to meet the charity’s founder, Brad Pitt.

Starting today, Groupon Grassroots is launching a campaign with Make It Right, the organization founded by Brad Pitt to build environmentally-friendly homes for people in need. The campaign allows you to donate directly to Make It Right, as well as enter the sweepstakes* to win the chance to travel to New Orleans and attend Make It Right’s gala, which includes performances by platinum-selling recording artists Bruno Mars and Kings of Leon.

Hosted at The Sugar Mill in New Orleans, the gala also includes a cocktail hour, three-course dinner prepared by the city’s finest chefs including Susan Spicer and Donald Link, local jazz musicians, gift bags and more. Additionally, schedule permitting, the winner has the chance to participate in a group meet-and-greet with Brad Pitt. To top off the weekend, the winner also gets a tour of the Make It Right homes with an award-winning architect. 100% of the donations from the Grassroots campaign go directly to Make It Right.

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 4.36.41 PM“Through our social responsibility efforts, we’ve been helping build and support the communities around our thousands of local merchants since Groupon’s inception,” said Groupon CEO Eric Lefkofsky.  “By partnering with Make It Right we’re able to expose millions of people around the world to this important project and help the organization make a significant difference, one that should be replicated in struggling neighborhoods across the world.” Continue Reading

Groupon Glows-in-the-Dark in Support of Earth Hour

Earth_Hour_60+_LogoCould you go without light for an hour to help the Earth? This Saturday, March 29, 8:30-9:30pm local time, millions of people everywhere will turn off non-essential lights for Earth Hour, and show their commitment to the planet. The movement, started by the World Wildlife Fund, has evolved to also include a crowdfunding platform for environmental projects. In 2013, participating landmarks in Earth Hour included the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Eiffel Tower, Acropolis, Big Ben, Times Square, and many more.

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 4.46.00 PM To support Earth Hour and showcase some of our quirkiest Groupon Goods deals, we created a collection for “Things You Can Do In the Dark” (including products such as LED shoelaces), that also features a Groupon Grassroots campaign benefiting World Wildlife Fund and a project to install solar panels for low-income families. Visit to donate and shop before the collection ends tomorrow!


Celebrating International Women’s Day at the Local Level

As a global company operating at the hyper-local level, we know the importance of celebrating the individuality and addressing the specific needs of each community in which we work. With this in mind, we celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) with the awareness that while solidarity and unity within a movement has its rewards, it is equally important to recognize what is happening within a movement at its most local level.

International Women’s Day brings together people from all over the world to celebrate the social, political, and economic achievements of women, while also addressing areas that need further action. The theme for 2014 is “Inspiring Change.” Just as Groupon has a global presence with a local focus, International Women’s Day is a global event that supports participating countries in coming up with themes and events that are relevant to their own communities.

Here in the United States, like in many countries, women’s equality is often spoken about as a single entity, measured in milestones such as the first female astronaut, the first female CEO, and maybe someday soon, the first female U.S. president. These achievements are no doubt noteworthy. However, as we celebrate them, we should also be mindful of the fact that the triumphs of one single woman or group of women do not indicate the state of women’s equality as a whole.

So on this International Women’s Day, we encourage you to assess the state of women’s equality in your community, in your workplace, and even in your own home and family. We also encourage you to celebrate the individual achievements of the women in your life, as we at Groupon celebrate our female Groupon merchants, customers, and employees. By recognizing and addressing the state of women’s equality at the hyper-local level, we can better address the specific barriers to equal opportunities for agency, achievement, and respect faced by women in all parts of the world.


Black-Owned Businesses at the Heart of Communities

BHM screenshotAt Groupon, small businesses and local communities are our passion. So during Black History Month, we wanted to highlight black-owned small businesses, which are an important part of many communities in Chicago and the rest of the country. To help us articulate this point, we reached out to three local community and economic development organizations to discuss the importance of these businesses to community development in our home city of Chicago. Continue Reading

Investigating Groupon’s Effect on Local Communities

Love LocalAt Groupon, we love small, local businesses, and we make it our goal to support them as part of our business model. Our hope is that connecting consumers with local merchants in their own neighborhoods benefits local communities and economies, but we couldn’t be sure until we did some more digging.

To begin to answer these questions, the Social Innovation team at Groupon undertook two research projects this past fall:

  1. The first was to determine whether a dollar spent at Groupon on an independent business generated more economic activity than a dollar spent at a chain business directly.

  2. The second question was how does Groupon shift consumer behaviors.

The clear answer to question #1 was…yes! During a 12 week period in Q3, 2013 in three markets (Chicago, Atlanta, St. Louis), Groupon created 48 jobs and $4 million in economic activity that would not have existed had the money spent at Groupon been spent directly at chains.

While that result alone might seem to answer the larger question—does Groupon positively impact entire communities—we still needed more information to draw a conclusion.  The reason is, while spending a dollar at Groupon is better for the local economy than spending it directly at a chain, it is still not as good for that local community as spending it directly at a local, independently owned merchant.

So then we needed to answer the following question: Is Groupon changing consumer behavior in such a way that dollars that would have been spent at chains are now spent at independent merchants via Groupon? To begin to answer that bigger question, we asked our Groupon consumers how they feel about local and independent businesses and how they use Groupon to discover them.

What the Social Innovation team found while working with Groupon’s Market Research team was that approximately ⅓ of Groupon consumers believe that supporting local independent businesses is important and that 50% of Groupon’s consumers use Groupon to discover local businesses.

More research needs to be done to empirically prove that Groupon positively affects local communities, but it is clear from our initial research that Groupon plays a role in supporting the local business community—something we are proud of!

Recap of Groupon’s Commitment to STEM Education in 2013

Whit House Tech Inclusion Summit 2013You’ve heard of Reading, Writing, and ‘Rithmetic, but what about STEM? In January 2013, representatives from Groupon, including Jeff Holden, SVP of Product Development, Patty Morrissey, Head of Social Innovation, and Nadia Rawlinson, Head of Talent Development, attended the White House Teach Inclusion Summit led by the White House CTO, Todd Park. The summit’s focus was bridging the gap for women and minorities in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. Groupon was in attendance with Citizen Schools, a nonprofit that incubated one of the key initiatives, US2020.  The initiative has a goal of matching 1 million STEM professionals to mentor students at youth-serving nonprofits by 2020.

Following the summit, Groupon committed to the US2020 initiative with a goal of engaging Groupon product engineers in bridging the gap between low income students and STEM careers. Throughout 2013, Groupon and the Employee Volunteer Program (EVP)  made great strides in achieving our goal, surpassing our initial goal and engaging 36 employees from Groupon Product and Engineering in 2013. Continue Reading

5 Resolutions for Loving Local in 2014

It’s January, the month of yearly resolutions. So we thought we’d offer a few suggestions to add to your resolutions list (or replace resolutions you’ve already tabled for next year…). These resolutions will help you “love local” in 2014, and get more involved in your own community—something we strongly believe in here at Groupon.

Our top 5 resolutions for Loving Local:

1. Shift 10% of your weekly spending to local businesses.* This could include ordering take-out from a local place rather than a chain, shopping for produce at a local grocery store, or getting your morning latte at a local coffee shop. Just a small shift can make a big difference in your local economy.

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 3.01.45 PM2. Make a list of 10 local businesses you want to try in 2014–and then try them! This is a fun way to get to know more businesses around you and get more involved in your community. You never know what local treasure you might find when you start looking!

3. Volunteer regularly with a local non-profit. Many service oriented non-profits are intimately connected to the local community through the work they do. Pick a non-profit that offers services near you so you can get to know the people and issues in your own community. We suggest that you pick one non profit that works on an area you care about (rather than volunteer only once at various nonprofits), and volunteer with them regularly. This with help you develop a deeper relationship with the people you meet there and the issues you work on.

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 2.59.26 PM4. Walk or bike somewhere once a week (as it makes sense for you). We think walking and biking is a great way to commute everywhere, but we know that for many people it’s not possible to walk or bike to work or many other places they have to go in life. So instead, we suggest making an effort to walk or bike one place each week—be it to dinner, a friend’s house, or the grocery store. Self-propelled transportation is good for your health, good for the environment, and a great way to see parts of your neighborhood you may miss when driving a car or taking public transportation.

5. Attend a community event once a season. As the seasons come and go, many communities have local events where community members can come together to have fun and support their community. These could include community improvement projects, special shopping nights, summer festivals, or holiday parties. Another great community event to attend is a neighborhood association meeting to become involved in the decisions made about your neighborhood or town.

* For more information about shifting your shopping to local businesses, read our post about the local-focused campaign, Shift Your Shopping.

Giving the Gift of Local Experiences

PeekingConcept-mb-1200x628-v1Holiday shopping can be daunting with the pressure to find the right gift for each of the people on your holiday gift list. You may have an idea of what you want, but finding the right “thing” online or in a store can be harder than it sounds. But yet, when it comes to buying presents for the holidays, the first things that come to mind are exactly that—things. A new watch, a cool gadget, a fancy kitchen appliance, the newest toys. And while sometimes these things are the perfect gift, they can also end up being a less-than-personal item that spends more time cluttering up someones house or closet, than actually bringing them joy.

Continue Reading

Shop Local on Small Business Saturday, Shop Local with Groupon

Today is Small Business Saturday, a day when local communities come together to celebrate small businesses and reinvest in their own local economy and neighborhood. Created in 2010 by American Express, Small Business Saturday is held each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, encouraging consumers to make their holiday purchases at small, local businesses that offer a rich array products and services. SmallBusinessSat

At Groupon, we share this belief in shopping locally, because while we are a company of thousands of employees and one cat, we are also a network of tens of thousands of small businesses. Ninety-four percent of Groupon merchants are locally owned, and 90% of our merchants employ fewer than 20 employees. This means that purchases made through Groupon are connecting our customers with specialized, small-scale businesses that contribute to a neighborhood’s distinctive character and promote a thriving ecosystem in their community.

Caitlin Picture the hideout“Before coming to work at Groupon I was a manager at a family owned chain of cafes here in Chicago. I appreciate the enormous struggle small business owners face in competing with big businesses. I love the variety of small businesses in my community and would be sad if I only had…chain restaurants”. – Caitlin McIntyre

Through the Groupon website, you can buy a Groupon as a gift for family and friends living in any of Groupon’s cities, giving loved ones the gift of discovering their new favorite restaurant, shop, or service and deepening their own connection to their community. Groupon’s local deals allow a mom living in California to buy her son a deal for half off drinks at his local, independent coffee shop in Brooklyn, a friend in Chicago to buy her former roommate a massage at a new boutique spa near her office in St. Louis, or a grandmother to buy her grandson $50 worth of handmade socks at the local shoe store.

Kelly Picture Ann Sather “I love local because it becomes personal, and local business promotes a tight-knit community.” – Kelly Day

No matter if you live in an urban metropolis, the suburbs, or a rural area, Groupon allows you to make a difference with your gift purchases by putting your dollars toward local, independent businesses throughout the holiday season. The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend more than $465 billion on gifts this holiday season. What if all that money was spent on purchases supporting local, independent business?

Did you know?

  •  48 cents of every dollar spent at a locally owned retail business goes back into the local community. That’s more than three times the amount that local economies recover from chain retailers —  Civic Economics’ 2012 survey of local businesses
  • Local businesses have generated 65% of the country’s net new jobs over the past 17 years — US Small Business Administration

In celebration of Small Business Saturday, we created a curated collection of unique local Groupon merchants in your community to ensure you discover a new favorite local spot. We at Groupon encourage you to shop at local and small businesses today and everyday, whether you’re exploring the thousands of local offers we have in your neighborhood and neighborhoods throughout the world, or hitting the pavement to explore or rediscover what the small businesses in your community have to offer. Your friends and your community will thank you—and probably send a fruit basket.


Shift Your Shopping is Supporting Local by Building Strength in Numbers

Screen Shot 2013-11-18 at 5.33.27 PMWhat would happen if Americans shifted even just 10% of the more than $500 billion dollars spent during the holidays to local, independent businesses? A $50 billion boost to local economies.

This is why, as the holiday season approaches and spending increases, buy local campaigns can have their greatest impact on local economies. Shift Your Shopping, a campaign representing 40,000 locally-owned and independent businesses throughout the U.S. and Canada, is working to encourage shoppers to shift a portion of their spending, starting in the holiday season, from larger retail chains to locally-owned businesses in their own communities. Based on studies conducted by similar efforts, they believe that this shift will “likely generate 2-3 times as much economic activity in our community than if we had spent our money at a national chain.” The goal is to empower residents to “ take job creation and economic concerns into their own hands by exercising their power to strengthen their own local economies.”

We all benefit from the diversity and personality of local businesses. This holiday season, Shift Your Shopping has launched their 3rd annual holiday campaign from November 1st to December 31st, asking consumers to keep those businesses thriving by shifting their holiday shopping to local retailers. The 2013 campaign is lead by local movement leaders The American Independent Business Alliance and the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, in partnership with 160 local business organizations across North America.

The campaign offers education on the benefits of buying local, as well as ways for local businesses to participate in Shift Your Shopping, such as posters to display in store windows, images to share on Facebook, and logos to use in promotions during the holidays.

According to the Shift Your Shopping website, “A 2013 survey of Independent Businesses by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance showed Independent businesses in communities with an active “buy indie/buy local” campaign run by a local business/citizen alliance saw revenues grow 8.6% in 2012, compared to 3.4% for those in areas without an alliance.” The Shift Your Shopping team wants to engage local business owners and residents in the fight for the well being of their own communities.

As the Shift Your Shopping homepage reads, “We’re building a tradition that strengthens local economies, expands employment, nurtures a sense of community, and provides a more relaxed, fun, and rewarding shopping experience.”