By Joe Waters, Guest Contributor, Selfish Giving
I love Christmastime! There are classic movies like Christmas Vacation and Bad Santa. There are festive songs like “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” and “Dominick the Christmas Donkey.” Plus, there’s time with friends and family (minus grandma), lots of delicious baked treats from my wife and, yes, presents!
It’s not even December 25th, and I’ve already gotten some great gifts: the following three holiday cause promotions. They keep me believing in the spirit of giving that happens when company and cause work together. Coming so late in the year, they also give me a peek into what to expect from cause marketing in 2017.
Salvation Army Takes Red Kettle Online, Again
I have to hand it to the Salvation Army. They’ve tried just about everything to expand their fundraising efforts beyond the cash donations to their red kettles outside supermarkets, malls and restaurants.
They tried adding credit card donations to their kettles to give donors an alternative to cash. They developed an app so people could donate right from their phones.
While innovative, both these initiatives – and several others – fell short of their goals. They had 150 million reasons (how many millions they raised offline last year) to just stick with the kettles.
However, the Salvation Army is back this December with another digital fundraiser that just might stick. It’s called #RedKettleReason.
Taking a page from crowdfunding behemoth GoFundMe, fundraisers can now create personal pages that donors can use to encourage their friends, families and others to give and share their reasons for supporting the charity. All dollars raised stay with the local Salvation Army chapter in the donor’s community.
Fundraisers also can restrict their support to a specific area: feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, Christmas assistance, etc.
What This Holiday Cause Promotion Tells Us About 2017: Even legacy organizations like the Salvation Army are realizing that crowdfunding is the future of fundraising. Nonprofits need to empower donors to use technology and social media on behalf of their cause. Expect more nonprofits to adopt crowdfunding initiatives in 2017.
Infiniti, Arbor Day Foundation Go Green This Christmas
Automaker Infiniti is partnering with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant 35,000 trees in the new year. To celebrate and share its New Tradition promotion with customers, Infiniti dealerships across the country are offering visitors an ornament that represents one of the donated trees. Consumers can see where their trees are planted via a website.
“Infiniti has been focusing its marketing on empowering drivers to start their own legacy,” said Allyson Witherspoon, director, marketing communications and media at Infiniti Americas to Marketing Daily. “Seeing as it’s the time of year known for celebrating age-old holiday traditions, we’re taking the opportunity to stand out and encourage new traditions as well.”
What This Holiday Cause Promotion Tells Us About 2017: Brands will continue to find creative ways to integrate cause into every occasion, holiday and event. From Infiniti’s New Tradition for the holidays to Evite’s donation platform for birthday parties, companies are leading the drive to expand giving to every part of the consumer’s life.
Hershey’s Chocolate World Supports CMN and Restores My Faith in Retail Cause Marketing
It’s been a tough couple of weeks for cause marketers like me who are fans of register fundraisers that raise tens of millions of dollars every year for worthy charities. Both the Boston Globe and the Chronicle of Philanthropy ran stories panning the practice as outdated, unwanted and inappropriate.
But coming across the picture above, which was taken at Hershey’s Chocolate World (in where else? Hershey, PA!), shows just how powerful and successful these programs can be. The walls are covered with candy canes paper icons that are being sold at the register for a dollar each. All funds go the Hershey chapter of Children’s Miracle Network. I wasn’t able to find out how much Hershey’s had raised so far this year, but one look tells me a lot of money is hanging on those walls!
What This Holiday Cause Promotion Tells Us About 2017: Forget the naysayers. When executed with passion, professionalism and creativity by retailers, consumers will continue to generously support causes at the register. It’s true that Christmas can be bought in a store. But its spirit can be found there all year long.