How to Make a Difference While Shopping - For Free [Q&A]

Kevin Vlerick is the COO of HelpFreely.org and a firm believer that true change can happen with the click of a button.

Dec 17, 2015

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Kevin Vlerick is the COO of Helpfreely.org

Kevin Vlerick is the Chief Operating Officer of HelpFreely.org

What if every time you bought contact lenses, you were contributing to cancer research? Or every time you purchased a plane ticket, you were helping promote literacy? This is exactly what Guillaume Renault sought to answer when he began HelpFreely.org, a platform that allows users to raise funds for their favorite nonprofits at no extra cost while shopping online. As a shopper, all you have to do is go to helpfreely.org, select the product you’d like to purchase, followed by the charity you’d like to support. Click the “Shop & Help” button and complete your purchase. It’s that easy.

HelpFreely is all about looking at the big picture. If one person’s online purchase is also contributing to a good cause, that’s great. But if this action becomes ubiquitous - the norm, so to speak - and everyone’s online purchase is contributing to a good cause, well, now you have a revolution.

In this week’s 10 Good Questions, HelpFreely’s Chief Operating Officer Kevin Vlerick talks to Goodnet about changing the world. Passionate, determined, creative, Vlerick is a self-proclaimed music-lover and pacifist. But most importantly, Vlerick believes that charitable actions can and should be integrated into our daily lives.

1. What is your organization’s mission?

Our organization's main aim is to lend a helping hand to thousands of nonprofits worldwide, while changing the mindset of people, getting them to realize how so little can often mean so much. At Helpfreely.org, we are able to empower people to make that decision, allowing them to raise funds and help their favorite causes at absolutely no cost at all to them!

2. What makes you guys different from the rest?

We want to start a worldwide revolution. We call it the ‘Revolution of Free Fundraising,’ in which people are able redistribute wealth and designate it to the causes they care about - for free. We don’t want people to stop contributing using traditional ways of donating. Our aim is to get the whole world involved by making it possible for everyone to raise funds and help out. We think that building this bridge and creating this free fundraising platform worldwide, has the potential to change and enhance the degree in which people and nonprofits are closely connected. We do this by integrating a charitable action into their daily lives. The choice should be easy and our goal is to turn it into a habit.

We truly want to influence every single person out there to understand the significance of their daily actions and decisions. People tend to overlook the fact that oceans consist of many little, tiny, seemingly insignificant drops of water. Together we can be an ocean of good!

3. What three words describe your organization?

Charitable, committed and innovative.

Helpfreely.org team

HelpFreely.org also incorporates the charitable spirit in their workplace by participating in events like Movember 

4. What inspires you?

Life, the people around me and the understanding that, in essence, we all have what it takes to be part of a positive message.

5. Who's your favorite good doer figure?

There are too many people doing good in this world that I find it hard to choose just one. I’d rather create a never ending list and probably would start with my own grandmother, as she is definitely one of my favorites. I have seen her taking care of the whole neighborhood at the age of 85, and her acts of kindness guide me every day.

Obviously, I’m also inspired when I see people like Shari Arison fight to incorporate a ‘doing good’ business model, or Karen and Bill Ackman giving away half their fortune trying to make a difference. I could go on like that for many hours. The point is, I know that everyone can be a hero if they choose to be one.

6. What is the best part about your job?

Being able to work towards such a great goal. This truly inspires me to work every day with passion and commitment. If we succeed in our mission, the positive effects for our society could be enormous. I love being part of that!

7. How do you measure success within your organization?

There are quite few moving parts in our organization and in a strict sense, success in every segment is defined by different ‘Key Performance Indicators’ enabling us to monitor if we are on track with respect to the overall vision, execution plan and the goals that we have set.

In a broader sense, our true vision of success will only be achieved if we are able to mobilize the world to join us in our effort. In the end we hope that many millions of users will join us to see tens or even hundreds of million USD being redirected to nonprofits yearly. At that point it’s not just about the redirected funds, but about the good that comes out of those funds. We would like to see a world where people are happily confronted with positive messages and charitable acts on a day to day basis.

Helpfreely.org chrome window

HelpFreely.org provides an easy-to-use platform that helps users track how much they've raised for different nonprofits 

8. Facebook or Twitter?

Both Facebook and Twitter! I think all social media channels fulfill different goals and are great for different purposes. However, for me, nothing will ever beat a good 1:1 conversation in person! ;)

9. What do you want Goodnet users to know about your organization?

We'd love that they can understand that it is now not only possible, but also incredibly easy to help out. Registering at www.helpfreely.org is enough to start making a real difference. Next time they shop online, buy plane tickets, book a hotel, or even order take away, a percentage of their purchase (at no extra cost at all to them) could be going to up to three nonprofits of their choice. It seems too good to be true, but it really is that simple!

10. How can people get involved?

It's super easy to join Helpfreely.org and start helping out every time you shop online. Simply register here, download the App (for Firefox and Chrome) and start raising funds for those who need you most! Nonprofits can also join by creating a free account so that our users can choose to support their cause.

We also call out to influencers and role models to get in touch with us and join others to help us share this vision!

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