Chances are you or someone you know has used a group coupon recently, a deal that’s designed to get you to frequent a business by taking advantage of a discounted special.
Ideally, it a win-win situation: the buyer gets a good deal, and the business owner hopes the consumer will visit the establishment again.
But Smart Betty’s putting a new spin on the group coupon craze: by using the local service, you can help your favorite charity while getting a great deal for yourself.
“It’s a win-win-win situation,” said Smart Betty’s Cathy MacDonald, a Safety Harbor resident. “The consumers, the charities and the merchants all win.”
“It’s a group coupon with a charity twist.”
Smart Betty got its start in Canada about a year ago.
Late last year, Doug Jacke brought the franchise to Florida, where he and MacDonald began canvassing the area in search of partners for their venture.
What separates Smart Betty from other coupon companies is that a percentage of each transaction goes to a charity of the signee’s choice.
”The things that makes us different is that we are locally based, and we are giving back to the community,” said Jacke, who lives in Clearwater.
“Our customers are community based, so they feel good because they’re doing something for themselves and for something they care about. It helps a lot of people.”
Joining Smart Betty and helping local charities is simple, and it’s free.
Sign up by visiting the website tampabay.smartbetty.com and entering your email address. There you will be asked to name the charity you wish to benefit from your future purchases.
In addition to giving 10 percent of every coupon you purchase to the organization of your choice, Smart Betty will donate $1 to the charity just for signing up; there are no future obligations required, no hidden fees, and you can opt out at any time.
“The merchants like us because we can customize the deal for them,” MacDonald said. “Instead of requiring them to purchase 100 coupons, we can limit it to smaller amounts, trails and individual branches of larger franchises.”
Smart Betty is also going where no other group coupon companies have gone before: to schools.
By partnering with local schools and their affiliated clubs and programs, like band and sports, Smart Betty hopes to move education fundraising to the modern era.
“We’re developing a Smart Betty microsite that will be a fundraising opportunity for schools,” MacDonald said. “They provide emails to us and it will become a charity of their choice.”
“It’s like a hands-free fundraiser.”
Jacke said he is concentrating on the Tampa Bay market right now before branching out to other areas of Florida, but he understands it will take time to get people familiar with his brand.
But he would rather wait and let the company gain name recognition and positive feedback before expanding too soon.
“Our goal is to serve the Tampa Bay market, then head to the Orlando market,” he said. “Our growth will be done organically, not corporately.”
“It may take a bit longer, but you have more integrity that way at the end of the day.”
For more information on Smart Betty, visit their website at www.tampabaysmartbetty.com.