Skip to main content

Cause Marketing Your Valentine

On Monday, Feb 2 Lisa Scherzer, a reporter from SmartMoney.com contacted me with the following email: 

Hi Paul,

I’m a writer at SmartMoney.com. I’m working on an article about alternative Valentine’s Day gifts that are for a good cause. I’ve come across a bunch of nonprofits and other companies that have Valentine’s promotions that include, for example, giving proceeds from the purchase of an organic flower bouquet to charity.

Would you be able to speak with me about this kind of cause marketing – in particular for Valentine’s Day? And how should consumers approach these kinds of items when shopping for gifts for their beloveds? I came across your Alden Keene blog and I thought you might be able to help.

Best regards,

Lisa 

I responded thusly:

Hi Lisa:

Great to hear from. Thanks for contacting me. Please let me know if this does not suit your needs, or if you’d like something else or something more.

“Retailers big and small, online and offline rely on shopping seasons. You know, Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day/Graduation, Back to School, Halloween, and Christmas. Since Valentine’s Day comes in the first quarter, traditionally the worst quarter for retail, it’s an important sales season. And for many chocolate, candy makers or florists, it’s almost make or break.

Valentine’s Day is a natural for cause marketing promotions. Research and experience show that cause marketing works best with consumer products. And when there’s a good match between the cause and sponsor, cause marketing can be very effective at bottom-line things like improving sales or customer loyalty. For retailers, especially in this lousy economy, cause marketing is a little like you or me taking a vitamin C tablet during cold and flu season.  

Plus cause marketing also helps charities at a time when they’re especially hard hit. In that way cause marketing is like dark chocolate for retailers; it tastes good and its loaded with anti-oxidants, to boot. 

But what’s a consumer supposed to do when the online florist or the storefront chocolatier is offering a donation to a cause?

If it’s a donation of $5 or more give it a quick smell test:

* Have you heard of the cause? Is it respectable? Can the clerk or the website tell you anything about the charity?

* Is there any supporting material? A brochure? PDF? A link? A phone number? If your’re really serious or just curious you can always check on charities at websites like CharityNavigator.org or Guidestar.org.

* Does the charity’s (apparent) mission resonate with you or with others you care about?

If any part of it smells funny or doesn’t appeal, walk away from the transaction. There’s plenty of businesses happy to take your money right now.

If the donation in question is a small amount, say a $1 or less, and the product is otherwise something you’d be likely to buy, my take is that you probably don’t have to spend any time or mental energy on it. Spend your time thinking about your Valentine, not the dime that may or may not be going to charity.”   

Warm regards,

Paul Jones

Sad to say, when the story appeared, Ms. Scherzer chose not to quote me. But all is not lost. 

At least I got a post out of the experience!

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…

Five Steps To Nurture a 30-Year Cause Marketing Relationship

Last Monday, July 22, 2013, March of Dimes released the annual results of its campaign with Kmart... now in its thirtieth year... and thereby begged the question, what does it takes to have a multi-decade cause marketing relationship between a cause and a sponsor?

In the most recent year, Kmart,the discount retailer, donated $7.4 million to the March of Dimes, bringing the 30-year total to nearly $114 million. March of Dimes works to improve the health of mothers and babies.

Too many cause marketing relationships, in my estimation, resemble speed-dating more than long-term marriage. There can be good reasons for short-term cause marketing relationships. But most causes and sponsors benefit more from long-term marriages than short-term hookups, the main benefit being continuity. Cause marketing trades on the trust that people, usually consumers, put in the cause and the sponsor. The longer the relationship lasts the more trust is evidenced.

There's also a sponsor finding cost that…