The Weekly Good: KULA Helps You Turn Loyalty Points, Rewards And Miles Into Charitable Donations

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[Editor's Note: This is a weekly series. If your company is doing something amazing to help a charitable cause or doing some good in your community, please reach out.]

It seems like every time we make purchases online or in a store, we’re collecting some sort of points or rewards. For the most part, those points go unused, mostly because the companies who give them out don’t do a great job of explaining what you can actually do with them.

You know the drill, you purchase a video game and you get some GameStop points that you can use after you purchase three more games, or something along those lines. Inevitably, you forget to use them when the time comes or you refuse to sign up to get their card.

A company called KULA Causes wants to point those points, rewards and frequent flyer miles to good use — for charity. KULA converts those points into actual currency, spreading goodwill all over the world.

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According to the research firm Colloquy, at least $16B worth of reward points and miled went unredeemed in 2011 alone. KULA has built a service to turn those unused rewards into cash contributions for over 2.5M causes around the world. By working with brands on building this three-way bridge between companies, causes and consumers, KULA is making a real difference in over 80 countries all over the world. Since there are so many causes in KULA’s database, it’s easy to find a few that you really care about, and then you’re motivated to put your unclaimed rewards to good use.

KULA calls the process “democratized transactional giving,” which the company hopes will build goodwill between companies and consumers, even if the reward points that someone has collected aren’t used by them for in-store purchases. The company was founded in 2010 and has raised $1.6M to date.

It’s up to the companies to integrate KULA into their reward offerings, but it’s a win-win for everyone involved.

The company also has a great blog called “The Currency Of Giving” that is worth a read. The mixing of companies focusing on both profitability and non-profit programs is an important one, as consumers do care more about companies that do social good.

Would you give your points and rewards away for charity?