Skip to main content

Sustainable Charity

Back in 2003 I was working for a company that was considering a relationship with Dr. Laura, the no-nonsense radio show host famous for kicking her listeners in the pants.

Part of relationship was to be with her charitable foundation, which at the time was best known for handing out ‘My Stuff Bags,’ which were bags of essential items for kids being removed from homes and taken into shelters; blankets, stuffed animals and basic toiletries.

While the effort was successful… they donated more than 250,000 bags in 6 years, with less than 10 percent overhead… Dr. Laura shut it down in December 2004. The press release issued at the time didn’t say so, but one of the sticking points was that the business warehouse, package and then transship all the donated stuff to participating shelters. I saw that warehouse in Southern California and it was packed to the rafters.

The problem was that business model didn’t really scale. The more successful they got, the higher their expenses grew. The foundation was funded by donations from Dr. Laura and her listeners, but they didn’t have any other way of generating cash. Without a better business model the My Stuff Bags could have grown so successful that it would have bankrupted the effort!

Now I’ve seen a very similar charitable effort, but with a sustainable business model. Founded in in San Francisco in 2005, Project Night Night gives kids, especially in homeless shelters a canvas bag with a new security blanket, a stuffed animal and an age-appropriate book.

The difference is that Project Night Night is more decentralized and it generates a cash donation. The charity asks donors to buy the canvas bags, priced at $3.50 each, and then hold parties to gather up and pack the totes with the blankets, stuffed animals and books. So long as the items in question aren’t worn-out, you can collect the items from your own stores. Project Night Night also receives in-kind and monetary donations.

After parties, the totes are taken directly to local participating shelters. The list of participating shelters is on the Project Night Night website.

As Yogi Berra might have observed, “if it’s not sustainable it can’t be sustained.”

Comments

Smith said…
I chanced upon to view your blog and found it very interesting. Great ... Keep it up!
Thank you, Smith.

Nice of you to say so.


Warm regards,
Paul
In today's world charities must use the power of Internet to raise fund for their work. There are many websites that offer to create online fundraising projects for the charities. Also, social media like Facebook and Twitter are also need to be utilized to reach out the society.

Popular posts from this blog

Profile of Cause Marketing Veteran Joe Lake

Blogger's Note: What follows is a profile and interview I wrote of Children's Miracle Network co-founder Joe Lake, who was recently installed as the CEO of the Starfish Television Network. This originally appeared in the Salt Lake Enterprise on Monday, May 11.

Lining the walls of the office of Joe Lake, the new CEO of the Starfish Television Network, a 501(c) (3) public charity and television network founded in 2006 and headquartered in Midvale, are pictures of the many celebrities he has worked with.

There are pictures of Joe with Goldie Hawn, Sidney Poitier, Jeff Bridges, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Rob Lowe and Walter Cronkite, and affectionately-autographed publicity stills from Bob Hope and Rich Little.

It’s something you’d expect in the office of a Hollywood agent, or at a celebrity hangout in Manhattan, or Chicago or Vegas. But the Starfish Television Network, whose mission is to tell the stories of nation’s nonprofits in a way that educates, entertains and inspires its audi…

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…

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…