Skip to main content

Spending Dollars to Raise Pennies? II

On Tuesday I posted the first half of an email I sent to Jessica Bennett, a reporter at Newsweek.

The rest of her questions and my answers follow.

Ms. Bennett quoted me in her article, which you can read here.

Also, my email to her included several links which I neglected to include in Tuesday's post.

I've revised Tuesday's post to include those links. Feel free to read it here.


4. Are we buying merely to clear our consciouses?

You know, I'm not sure if I'm equipped to answer this question. I will say this, Americans are far and away the most generous donors to charity: in 2005 those donations exceeded $260 billion. Part of that is because we don't practice the social welfare state the way the Europeans do. Part of it is because we have very favorable tax laws. But assume for a second that IEG is right and something like $1.3 billion comes from cause marketing. That's a pittance compared to the total donations going to charities. If we are buying to assuage our conscious, we're getting off cheap.


5. It seems that RED is just the latest in fad-ish activism. but is the desire to be in style outweighing people's knowledge or care about the real issues?

On my blog, I'm always reinforcing the point that there has to be something really there for the campaign to be truly effective. It can't just be celebrity flash. I've seen some, although certainly not all of RED's materials and my opinion is that they're pretty good on that count. I have also seen materials that comes from their sponsors that I thought could and should have gone into greater depth about the problems and the solutions.

6. is it still charity when one gives only to get?

Strictly speaking no, cause marketing's not a charitable gift. Most cause marketing donations are pennies. Only cause marketing campaigns for very large ticket items offer charitable donations that are in the tens of dollars. A very rare few are in the hundreds. No matter the amount, have fun trying to write them off on your taxes.


7. Is putting money toward a status symbol really socially responsible?

Interesting question. Many charities raise money via galas. There's probably one every night of the year in Manhattan. I'll bet there's at least 30 a year in smaller towns like Fargo or Augusta, Maine. The people that go to galas, bid on the auction items, smooze clients, and yawn through the program are doing so at least in part to advance their social standing. And you know what, they CAN deduct part of the money they spent on the gala from their taxes!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Three Ways to Be Charitable

I’ve spent a big chunk of my career working with or for charities. Many of my dearest and ablest friends are in the charity ‘space.’ And the creativity and problem-solving coming out of the nonprofit sector has never been greater.  Although I’ve had numerous nonprofit clients over the last decade or so, I haven’t worked in a charity for about 12 years now, which gives me a certain distance. Distance lends perspective and consequently, I get a lot of people asking me which charities I recommend for donations of money or time. My usual answer is, “it depends.” “On what?” they respond. “On what you want from your charitable activities,” I reply. It sounds like a weaselly consultant kind of an answer, but bear with me for a moment. The English word charity comes from the Latin word caritas and means “from the heart,” implying a voluntary act. Caritas is the same root word for cherish. The Jews come at charity from a different direction. The Hebrew word that is usually rendered as charity is t…

Top Eight Cause-Related Marketing Campaigns of 2007

Yeah, You Read it Right. It's a Top 8 List.

More cause-related marketing campaigns are unveiled every day across the world than I review in a year at the cause-related marketing blog. And, frankly, I don’t see very many campaigns from outside North America. So I won’t pretend that my annual list of the top cause-related marketing campaigns is exhaustive.

But, like any other self-respecting blogger, I won’t let my superficial purview stop me from drawing my own tortured conclusions!

So… cue the drumroll (and the dismissive snickers)… without further ado, here is my list of the eight best cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007.

My list of the worst cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007 follows on Thursday.


Chilis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
I was delighted by the scope of Chilis’ campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As you walked in you saw the servers adorned in black co-branded shirts. Other elements included message points on the Chilis beverage coas…

Unconventional Metrics of Cause Marketing Power

The printed edition of Fortune Magazine runs a regular feature called ‘My Metric’ wherein business leaders identify informal but telling measures of current economic activity.

In the January 17, 2011 Michael Glimcher, CEO of Glimcher Realty Trust cited as his metric an increased number of black cars on the streets of New York City as a sign of the U.S. economy’s (still pending?) resurgence.

That got me thinking, what unconventional metrics evidence the power of certain cause marketing efforts?

One immediately leapt to mind, although only General Mills, which makes Yoplait yogurt in the U.S., can measure it.

The Yoplait lid at left... which I purchased in December 2010... can NOT be redeemed for a $0.10 donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Instead it promotes Yoplait’s sponsorship of Komen’s Race for the Cure events, which are numerous.

But I’d bet you a six-pack of Yoplait Greek Honey Vanilla that people nonetheless still send in some number of the lids above in an attempt to redeem th…