Although many people are beginning to see signs of recovery in the economy, few would be willing to say we’ve managed to enter a new era of prosperity. So how does a charity drive traffic and donations to its cause? The aesthetic of Sevenly’s website and its professional photography create an attractive and welcoming donation portal; their business model combines self-indulgence with a complementary side of beneficence; and each week as their featured charity rotates, they set interactive funding and social media goals for their audience.

For those who haven’t heard of Sevenly, they are an apparel company with a charitable twist. Looking to solve problems of under-funding, lack of awareness, and low followers, they built a product that provided potential consumers with tangible and intangible goods at affordable prices in an attractive shell. Each week Sevenly features a charity and corresponding set of t-shirts. $7 of your apparel purchase goes towards the featured charity.

Working at a digital marketing agency, Sevenly’s social media goals immediately caught my interest. They’re discretely designed but clearly positioned right above each charity and set of t-shirts. Visitors can see how popular each week’s charity is and can like or tweet the content to their friends directly from Sevenly’s splash page. The barrier to action is almost non-existent and the reward for action is immediately visible and displayed to all other visitors.

I wanted to know a little more about the strategy and theory in employing these social media goals, so I decided to ask Scott Corgan, Sevenly’s chief web developer, a few questions:

1. What inspired you to create the social media goal widgets?

We had 2 goals for utilizing this area. We wanted to 1) Show that there is a certain amount of funds we were attempting to donate for the week, encouraging our co-givers to rally around the cause. And 2) We wanted our users to understand that awareness to this problem is just as important and funding the solution. We discovered that if we can reach the goal amount of people in their network a week, we could create and encourage new and returning co-givers. This solution seemed fitting as week after week, more and more co-givers rallied around that week’s cause!

2. Did you create them in-house or have an external developer create them?

We created them in house. In fact, everything on the site is from scratch and developed in house. What we are attempting to do cannot be done and has not been done “out of the box”.

3. Do you think the social media goals drive traffic and conversions?

With the economy as it is, many people really, really want to help, but they just can’t afford to always support with a donation. So we said, ok, tell you what … just tell everyone you know about it! What this does is not only bring awareness to the problem/cause, but it allows co-givers to engage in a form of social, micro-giving. And yes, this does bring traffic.

Lesson learned: create an attractive portal with multiple options for your potential consumer/donor to act on when they visit your page. Show the consumer/donor that their action is contributing to a larger cause in an explicit way. Drive traffic.