Help Local Businesses After Sandy

As damage is assessed and Sandy subsides, it’s clear that our merchants, customers and own employees have been hit hard by this week’s events. We wanted to share what’s being done for these groups as well as Groupon’s overall strategy when situations like these occur.

On Our Company and Motivation
As you may know, Groupon grew out of The Point, a site for collective action where users could work together to support community initiatives big and small. Social good is in our DNA and we recognize that responding to community needs is a daily commitment. Through Grassroots, we touch schools, children’s groups, local arts programs and countless other community pillars every single day, aiming to improve the neighborhoods that our Groupon merchants serve.

We often talk about our mission to become the local commerce ecosystem. Merchants are far more than part of our professional network; they ARE Groupon. When they hurt, whether it’s strain due to a bad economy or a natural disaster like Sandy, we do too.

Fortunately, thanks to our daily Grassroots work, we have existing relationships with trusted international partners who can help remedy the pain our businesses face in times of crisis. We can act quickly and make a difference, while still serving our core mission (merchant success.)

What We’re Doing After Sandy
Our focus with all of our philanthropic efforts is community empowerment and neighborhood resilience. Our response to Sandy will focus on long-term recovery (vs short-term relief) of Groupon merchants and the small business community at large.

Actions already taken:

  • We checked in on all merchants being featured this week, and in affected Northeastern markets, eventually moved to “opt-in only,” meaning merchants had to proactively contact us to confirm they were still interested and able to run this week. We’re playing this day by day and will eventually return to normal operation once affected businesses and markets have more stable local resources and city functionality. Our goal is to eliminate any possible strain a feature may cause or continue to help these businesses gain exposure if they’re ready.
  • We referred merchants to relief and recovery resources through Disaster Help Desk powered by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Immediate next steps:

  • We’ve launched a Grassroots fundraising campaign for Accion to provide small business recovery microloans, as we did similarly for the Colorado wildfires earlier this year. Please visit www.groupon.com/sandy if you’d like to support our merchant communities.
  • We’ll continue to assess the needs of our merchants in impacted areas, call to check-in, and in some cases just provide some moral support.

As assessments continue to develop a clearer picture of the damage, so will our interventions and approach to supporting the recovery efforts. Thanks in advance for keeping the Groupon family – our merchants, customers, and Groupon employees – in your thoughts.