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B1G1: How To Make Your Business Card Stand Out, Usefully

| Friday August 13th, 2010 | 5 Comments

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B1G1 Worlds First Giving Business Card Business cards. Try as we might to digitize the process of exchanging contact information, the ritual of exchanging business cards lives on. For many of us, we hand them out early and often, resulting in a pile of post conference cards sitting on our desk.

Unless you’ve got a sharp memory or had a sharp pen to write down mnemonics for when you’re back at the office, most of the cards end up a blur that gets tossed in the recycle bin. And the same thing happens to your card.

How can this be changed?

One interesting new answer is what B1G1 is calling “The world’s first giving business card.” Basically, B1G1 gives you graphics you can include on the back side of your business card that are a $1 voucher for the recipient to give towards the cause of their choice, with the option to give more. You can track who gave to what cause(s), thanking them for their generosity, and having an additional, deeper reason to connect.

This is a brilliant move, for many reasons:

It makes a clear, instantly differentiating statement about you, moving you into a different category than the hordes of post event fuzzy memories. And for B1G1, it’s an inexpensive way to introduce new people to their service, via an unpaid marketing force that’s giving them to people likely to at least mention it to friends and colleagues, if not make use of the offer.

How much can $1 do, really, you say? B1G1 cleverly got my attention when it said that 10 cents can build a house. (It buys a brick for a Habitat for Humanity house in India.) $10 provides an implant lens for those getting eye surgery in Indonesia.

So before you order your next batch of business cards, consider a simple, smart, beneficial addition to the back of it.

Readers: Have you used this service yet? What’s been the results, both in what was given and relationships you created as result? What other low cost/high benefit social venture programs that involve businesses/individuals have you seen lately that we should know about?

Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations about, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media marketing.


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  • http://lsminsurance.ca Lorne Marr

    When I saw the heading, I though I was going to read about some designer, Microsoft Tag, or something like that. I must say I am pleasantly surprised :)
    It is a neat idea, especially because you can use it to remind your contact of you and your company by contacting her or him after the donation = it serves a business purpose too!
    The only thing I’m wondering about is who actually gives the $1? I checked out the B1G1 website, but I didn’t find any mention of it there. Did I not look well enough?

    • Paul Dunn

      Hi Lorne:

      And thank you Paul for such a great article.

      By giving the card, the giver effectively contributes that $1 to the person to whom they’re giving the card but ONLY if and when the receiver of the card uses it to give the $1 at B1G1.

      B1G1 tracks the use of the unique codes embedded in each card and so is able a) to let you know when someone uses the gift you’ve given them and b) initiate the charge back to you.

      I do hope that clarifies it for you Lorne.

      And you’ll see much more about the initiative soon on the B1G1 site and http://www.b1g1.com. Do come and join us there.

      And do make your day today an outstanding one.


      Paul Dunn
      Come join me at http://www.b1g1.com
      Giving your business the power to change our lives
      Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/pauldunn
      Email me at: paul@b1g1.com

  • http://www.allthingsbusinesscards.com Alan

    A really clever and positive concept. I hope it catches on as it’s memorable and can do a world of good.

    Maybe expensive for some though — I wonder if there was a way the giver could decide what amount each card could hold to encourage more to do it.

    • http://www.b1g1.com/buy1give1 Masami

      Yes, the issuer of the code can chose the giving amount. With B1G1 even one cent can make a tangible difference. Have a look at some of the giving projects here. http://www.b1g1.com/buy1give1/browseprojectlist

  • http://www.helpmad.com.au Michael Foldi

    A “Giving Business Card” is one of the best ideas I have ever come across. We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our new cards and we have also put the same message on the back of all our catalogues for 2011. Our customers and prospects will know instantly we are a company that gives and improve our chances of making a real connection with them. I hope thousands more business owners can see the power of this idea and help their customers feel great when they choose carefully where to spend the $1. Thanks Paul and B1G1.