Mr Brian Almeida, Co-founder of Points for People, who launched a cool idea of making Charity a ‘lifestyle statement’ last September (2018), shares that since its inception ‘Points for People’ has been instrumental in collecting 7.5 million loyalty points towards creating impact in rural communities of India.
All acts of Charity begins with Self. Be good to yourself to do good for others. A simple philosophy when put into action becomes a way of life, creating in turn more good in the world that you want to see.
With a Master’s degree in Marketing from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management, and an Advanced Management Program (AMP) – Leadership and Management from Harvard, Brian Almeida, Co-Founder, Points for People set out to do just that: use his own empowerment to empower the under-privileged.
A man on a mission who believes that Charity does begin at home, Mr Almeida set out to create the perfect, seamless platform to encourage a ripple effect of ‘giving’ to others, even as you are giving to yourself. Launching this initiative last September that has today empowered 130 million loyalty program members to donate their loyalty points, here’s how you can do it too. Read on:
Ethel Da Costa: How did this idea come about? What was the defining moment/inspiration that led to the creation of ‘Points for People’?
Brian Almeida: With over 25 years in the Loyalty and CRM business changing consumer behaviour, the thought of how I could use my experience and understanding of the Loyalty Industry to do something, that will help build a better society for tomorrow, was the inspiration. It got me going. ‘Points for People’ was the manifestation of this process. As I bounced the idea with some really close friends who supported the idea, I got more and more confident that this was a sustainable idea that would be able to create an impactful change. The final step occurred when the Tata Trusts agreed to partner with us to launch ‘Points for People’
‘Points for People’ is a win for brands because it also achieves a higher level of engagement and loyalty for its brands, and this has been proven. Today most customers want their brands to be involved in social programs. It is a win for the members because they have the highest satisfaction level, with the feeling that they have helped someone and also used their points which may have otherwise expired or unredeemed, and finally it helps the received because it helps in providing education, healthcare and many livelihood projects which help improve the standard of living of the lesser privileged.
ED: Who is the audience you are trying to reach out to and what is your appeal to them?
BA: The audience for ‘Points for People’ are members of loyalty programs who are high consuming individuals. The appeal is simple — while you are consuming, you can also donate. Whether you are a frequent flyer, frequent shopper, frequent guest, or are a member of credit card programs. ‘Points for People’ hopes to tap into a vast pool of unutilized or unredeemed points that can be used for a worthy cause to improve the world we live in. In a year, we have seen the contribution of 7.5 million points donated through their loyalty points to this program.
ED: Your idea has the capability of creating a global phenomena. How do you plan to go about with this message of charity?
BA: Almost every loyalty program owner or program member I have spoken to are more than happy to be associated with this initiative. The intent is to make this a global platform for a better living. The partnership with Tata Trusts brings credibility, as well as projects that are impactful.
We are adding programs at a quick pace and have worked on the technology platform to be dynamic. We are already listed on an International Points exchange and look forward to partnering with international programs. Our next phase will also see an addition of other credible NGOs who can use the platform for their fundraising, as well as launching a Charity Gift Card programme soon.
ED: What is your experience with the values of charity? What moves you about it? How do you plan to use this passion to get others to create more acts of charity desperately needed in India and across the world?
BA: I believe that society develops best when individuals help other individuals and we are less dependent on government to raise the living standard. Charity is an act which connects with your story, whatever the cause. I am passionate about education, sports and skill development, as I believe these are powerful initiatives to move people out of their current state of being, and making a holistic society that is more concerned, caring. Society as a whole must aim to create an improved quality of life. My passion comes from challenging others to create an impact and making it easy and painless to donate. The ‘Points for People’ programme achieves these objectives, as we are not attempting to change people’s lifestyles, but just reach out to their loyalty point balance and redeem these for a worthy cause.
ED: Your opinion on Charity as a category in India?
BA: While charity itself has a long way to go, I believe Indians have an inherent culture of helping one another and helping others in times of need. But we need to make it easy and remove it from an occasion of personal need. Our idea is to attempt to tap into this behaviour, to make it a painless and convenient way of giving. Donating your loyalty points is an easy way of creating the act of charity as a culture, and spread the culture to a mass movement. We must give all the time and regularly and not only to earn good Karma.
ED: Define your vision plan of Points for People.
BA: ‘Points for People’ is designed to make donation a large-scale global movement. It taps into almost every consumption, be it loyalty points, air miles, and other loyalty currencies. Tata Trusts, being a well-trusted global organization, is the perfect launch partner to make this vision a reality. ‘Points for People’ will soon be accessible to international donors and international projects.
ED: Can you share your execution roll-out with CSR Trendz readers, so they can reach out to you/organisation?
BA: We have currently tied up with some of the leading bank programs, employee programs, and are now in the process of tying up with frequent flyer programs, hotel frequent guest programs, mobile wallets, retail loyalty programs. We already have access to 130m members and through this we hope to also add an element of excitement to brands and their loyalty programs.
ED: So, how does one donate loyalty points to you. Please elaborate the process.
BA: The process is simple — if the program is a registered partner with us, members can go to their own program redemption site and select the ‘Points for People’ option for redemption. They can then select the number of points they would like to redeem.
People can also visit the Points for People website at www.pointsforpeople.org and the link will take them directly to the program redemption page. The donation goes directly to the Tata Trusts.
Ethel Da Costa is an award-winning Fashion & Lifestyle Journalist-Influencer, Media Entrepreneur and Founder-CEO of Think Geek Media – a Lifestyle & Fashion Content Media company which believes in a passionate and spirited outlook towards Content with Quality and Purpose.
A passionate, feisty, ahead-of-her-time, ‘Forward Thinking’ Media Entrepreneur with a successful, multi-faceted Media career spanning over 27 years, Ethel works across India (Goa-Mumbai-Delhi), UAE, creating Media stories, IPs, managing Clients, PR events, Launches and Celebrities across Lifestyle, Travel, Luxury, Not-for-Profit verticals.
A Published Author-Poet of ‘Eve’s Revenge: Stories of Nemesis,’ her second book Eve’s Light: Stories of Passion is a sequel in progress. A ‘can do’ creator, a never-give-up inspiring thinker-doer-innovator, Da Costa loves shoes, fashion, travel, is a Geek on the field, an outspoken path-breaker and multi-tasker who believes in and passionately drives her CREATIVE LEADERSHIP that CONTENT IS KING.