Shop for STEM Site Supports Educational Foundation

March 1, 2015

If you’re like most consumers, shopping on the Internet has become a common occurrence. In 2014, more than 1.12 billion people worldwide shopped online; in the U.S. alone, 196.6 million shoppers took to the Web, according to online statistics portal Statista. Internet shopping is expected to continue its exponential rise during the next five years. As Dr. Vince Patton, executive director for the AFCEA Educational Foundation, puts it, “Online shopping is no longer the wave of the future. It’s here now and has become a new normal.”

This trend has many merchandisers seeking ways to attract and retain online customers just as they would at their brick-and-mortar stores. With offers of discounts, free shipping and a host of other special options, retailers also are willing to provide their philanthropic interests as part of the online buying experience. Many companies now offer nonprofit charitable organizations a percentage of sales (roughly 3 percent to 10 percent) if consumers register with an online affinity program.

The AFCEA Educational Foundation has now formed such a fundraising partnership with the CauseNetwork by setting up a website exclusively for fundraising efforts to support the foundation’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) educational incentive programs. The site, www.shopforstem.org, is now live, allowing anyone to register and shop online at more than 1,200 retailers, from giants such as Amazon, Best Buy, Macy’s and Walmart, to smaller companies offering goods and services through the Internet.

The Shop for STEM site offers a unique platform for fundraising efforts to support the foundation’s teacher grants, known as Gravely Grants. In fiscal year 2014, the foundation provided $75,000 in grants to middle/intermediate and high schools across the U.S., supporting classroom STEM programs such as robotics team building and cybersecurity workshops. The more purchasing done through the Shop for STEM portal, the better the opportunity to raise funds to continue support of the Gravely Grants as well as expand to other educational incentive programs.

Signing up for Shop for STEM is easy and takes just a few minutes. All that is needed is your email address, and you’re in. From that point, click on Browse Deals, then By Category, or any of the special offers boxes on the page, and start shopping. Every vendor is different in terms of what percentage of your purchase is donated to the foundation, but donations range from 3 percent to 10 percent of your total, excluding taxes and shipping costs.

Registration for Shop for STEM is open to anyone, so please pass on this wonderful opportunity to others, and help the AFCEA Educational Foundation raise money to support STEM.

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