Do Good with DoneGood, an App for Conscientious Consumers

Choosing where to eat or what store to shop at can be difficult if you want to make sure the company you’re purchasing from is green, or owned by minorities, or is locally sourced. It would take research to find out what businesses are friendly to the causes you care about.

With DoneGood, a Boston-based business app, you can see in the palm of your hand what the business you’re interested in cares about.

Created by Cullen Schwarz and Scott Jacobsen in late August 2015, DoneGood allows users to see at a glance what the business they’re interested in supports. Schwarz and Jacobsen developed the idea of DoneGood for the conscientious consumer and for businesses that align with the values they care about. 

Eana Meng, a freshman at Harvard College, has been using DoneGood since September after she attended a forum where Jacobsen introduced the app.

“I knew it was something special,” said Meng. “This past summer, I made a promise to myself to buy as many eco-friendly school supplies as possible. I wanted to challenge myself, and I wanted to make a difference. I believe that consumers have incredible power; if enough people change their purchasing habits, an impact can be made.”

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A visualization of the in-app experience | Courtesy of DoneGood

Meng said the app has also helped her find her “go to” places for food, including a cafe dedicated to sustainability that is owned by women. When Meng is in a rush, she will go to whatever is near, and “that’s okay! We have to be reasonable with others and with ourselves. It’s the process that matters, and the shift to conscious consumerism won’t obviously happen in a day.” Meng is excited to see how the shift to conscious consumerism will happen and to see how the DoneGood community will grow.

Ali Zafiris (COM ’16), a Development and Outreach Intern for DoneGood, said the community is definitely growing. There are currently 1,200 businesses on the app since its launch in August but businesses are added regularly with each new update. While only Boston businesses are currently on the app, the DoneGood team plans to expand.

Zafiris said they have received “great feedback from our users here in Boston and know that the demand for DoneGood is high in cities all over the country.”

According to DoneGood’s blog, for a business to be added to the app, they either need to be “certified or listed by one of our trusted independent partner organizations,” or have a high social impact rating from the people in the DoneGood community. To be certified as a B Corporation for example, businesses need to meet “rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.”

One business on the app, Grendel’s Den Restaurant and Bar, is Green Restaurant Association Certified and is a small, locally-owned business.

Owner Kari Kuelzer says being a small business owner goes hand-in-hand with being environmentally friendly. “A small business has a connection to its community that is more directly making some efforts towards environmental and sustainable conservation, aspects that are natural extensions of being in contact with my community.” Kuelzer says she hasn’t seen any direct change in the amount of customers who come in, but has had customers come in because they appreciate the business being green.

Zafiris said DoneGood is different from apps like Yelp or Angie’s List, which provide crowd-sourced reviews about any local business from contractors to Mexican food, because it considers the social impact that these businesses have on the community and connects businesses and consumers based on their shared values.

“We hope to empower people to create change in a way that no one else is,” said Zafiris.

Hallie Smith

Hallie (COM '17) is a journalism major from California. She is currently a health intern at Boston Magazine and editor-in-chief of the Quad. She can be reached at hsmith@buquad.com

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