Skip to main content

T-Shirt Cause Marketing

We’ve discussed a T-shirt cause marketing by social enterprises in the past with outfits like Rosa Loves. But most of those efforts were based on e-commerce business models.

Now there’s a new social enterprise that includes bricks and mortar retailers as part of its business model. Called Giving Tee, here’s how it works: Retailers sell Giving Tee T-shirt designs in their stores for $20. When customers enter a code on the hangtag of the Tee it triggers a donation to one of Giving Tee’s featured causes.

There are currently 24 charities listed on Giving Tee’s website, including Habitat for Humanity, The Humane Society, Amnesty International, the Red Cross, Make-A-Wish, and the Wear Good for Haiti Initiative. The designs for Wear Good for Haiti are the only Tees Giving Tee currently sells on its website.

The revenue split is as follows: The cause gets $5, the retailer gets $5, the designer (Giving Tee crowd-sources the designs) gets $1, and Giving Tee gets the remainder. After costs Giving Tee says it nets $2-$3.

The usual questions apply with these sorts of enterprises. How do we know that the company actually makes the donation? How long is the lag between the time when the customer enters the code and the charity gets the money?

But the biggest question may be, is this business model sustainable since the inventory and carrying costs are higher? With Rosa Loves and other T-shirt cause marketers, the only inventory expense is the T-shirt blanks, since they routinely make the T-shirts after the order is confirmed.

There are a couple of other questions. Will designers provide enough value for a $1 per Tee? Likewise, will retailers sell a product for at $20 for a $5 margin when they’re accustomed to making $10 (assuming a 100% retail markup)?

I hope Giving Tee succeeds for at least a couple of reasons. New firms create more jobs than do more established firms according to studies by the Kauffman Foundation. As a cause marketer I personally want all reputable social enterprises to thrive.

But I suspect Giving Tee, which is a new firm, is going to need to tweak its business model a little before success comes.


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…