More than likely, you’re familiar with “Groupon,” a website that features a daily deal (usually up to a 50%-90% discount) on the best stuff to do, see, eat and buy in your city and local community.

Created in 2008 (with a half-price offer for pizzas sold on the first floor of its building in Chicago being its first deal), it’s fair to say that Groupon has come a long way. Just at the end of 2011, over 170 million Groupons were sold to more than 33 million active customers, on behalf of more than 250,000 merchants in 48 countries around the world (Forbes).

How do they do it?

Groupon helps people have fun in the city they live in (and save money while doing it) by using the tremendous power of collective buying. In short, Groupon promises local businesses a minimum number of customers in exchange for an unbeatable deal—once a minimum number of deals are purchased (the tipping point), the deal is available to all!

A Short Preface

Groupon wasn’t always Groupon. In fact, it grew out of a fundraising website called The Point that was created as a revolutionary way for individuals to combine their influence and “make things happen.” Because when it comes down to it, in the nonprofit world and beyond, often you can’t make change happen alone—you need the power of many.

On-line giving campaigns run through The Point leveraged the influence of group giving; all campaigns have a “tipping point” at which so many people pledge to give money or take action—and when the tipping point is met, success is ensured. In 2008, “The Point” evolved into Groupon operating under this same model, but refocused its purpose on consumer driven deals.

Groupon Grassroots

As Groupon experienced mega success by harnessing the idea of collective consumer power with fun, unbeatable daily deals, the team decided to take it a step further—and go back to their roots at the same time. In 2010, Groupon Grassroots came alive as a “new way to discover local causes, rally together, and lend a helping hand.”

Through it, a number of community projects are showcased for Groupon followers to unite with, depending on the city in which they live, or the cause that’s near and dear to their heart. All Grassroots campaigns focus on keeping money in local communities—thereby allowing charities with specific community projects, to mobilize support. Per the classic ‘Groupon’ theory, collective action powers every campaign that is featured. To date, 746 campaigns have raised $3,413,075 from 118,377 supporters nationwide. Active campaigns running today include:

–          Hygiene Care Kits to Survivors of Natural Disasters

–          Send High School Students on a “College Day”

–          Extracurricular Activities for Foster Youth

–          Fund Guest Stays for Families at Ronald McDonald House

…And the list goes on and on. Interested? Learn more, here: grassroots.groupon.com

To us, Groupon really is the REAL deal.