Skip to main content

Cause Marketing with Direct Sellers

The direct selling industry in the United States… think Amway, Avon, Mary Kay… was a $28.33 billion business in 2009, although the more interesting number may be the 16.1 million salespeople involved in direct sales.

Philanthropically Avon and Mary Kay both are strongly… although not exclusively… involved with women’s issues.

So who does Amway support with its philanthropy and cause marketing? The short answer is children and children’s charities. But there’s more to it than that.

By itself Amway has 3 million Independent Business Owners (IBOs) and operations in 80 countries. Suffice it to say that just writing a check to the local children’s hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan where Amway is headquartered… which Amway’s founders have done in a big way… isn’t entirely satisfying for the IBO in Japan or Singapore or even Canada.

Amway Global, ironically the North American affiliate of Amway Corp., mainly spreads its charitable dollars to three causes: Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Easter Seals, and SOS Children’s Villages, which is building ‘villages’ for homeless and abandoned kids in Haiti.

This ad, from Newsweek magazine in August 2010, highlights Amway Global’s three-year million-dollar donation to Boys and Girls Club of America to build community gardens at clubs in seven cities. The campaign provides curriculum on gardening to the clubs and, as the gardens grow, fresh fruits and veggies to Club members.

If seven cities seems like a low number, consider that Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) is largely a sanctioning body for the 4,000 clubs. Almost all the clubs are individual 501(c)(3) charities. So BGCA has little leverage with individual clubs to participate in national cause marketing campaigns.

One thing I didn’t see in this campaign is a place for Amway’s IBOs to participate, and that’s a pity, and probably short-sighted. Amway people on the ground helping kids plant or teaching the curriculum would almost certainly be an asset to the local Clubs. They'd also increase the bond between Amway and the Clubs and give the IBOs a stake in the campaign.

The campaign also seems like a slam dunk for other sponsors like plant and garden fertilizer and soil companies like Bonnie Plants and Scotts Miracle Grow.

Co-branding like that spreads the risk, brings greater resources to the table, and broadens the appeal. Amway could easily remain the main sponsor while a Bonnie or Miracle Grow would be co-sponsors.


Popular posts from this blog

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…

Cause-Related Marketing Meets Microfinance and Mix it Up

You’d have had to have been in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia the last year or so to have missed the run up of microfinance. Between 2004 and 2006 more than $4 billion of capital flowed into microfinance institutions. All told experts say the total loan microfinance loan portfolio may be as much as $12.5 billion. And of course the father of microfinance, Muhammad Yunus won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Microfinance is now so respectable, so effective, (so profitable!) that it’s already enjoying its first global backlash.

Actually that first sentence is hyperbole. Because even in Ulaanbaatar… far from almost anywhere on the vast, frigid steppes of Mongolia… microfinance is thriving such that the earliest recipients of micro loans there are now complaining about taxes and government bureaucracy! And May 29-31, 2008 the Conference of Microfinance Institutions will convene in Ulaanbaatar, the eleventh such annual conference.
Now Advanta, a credit card issuer to small…

Cause Marketing Beer with BOGO, Brew One Give One

On Monday’s post I touched on the topic of telling people what your cause marketing campaign accomplished when completed. I’ve recommended this approach to clients as a way to keep open the lines of communication with customers and clients and to get extra value from the campaign.

In other words, you’ll want to hold back some of the promotion’s budget to continue to activate the effort until the very end.

But what if that really cuts across the grain in your organization? What if it’s just not in your corporate DNA to do anything but to frontload your cause marketing activation? Well, then, add the report back to the activation of your next cause marketing effort.

New Belgium Brewing of Ft. Collins, Colorado, said to be the seventh largest brewery in the United States, did just that with this ad in Sunset magazine. I found this ad in the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database.

New Belgium donates $1 for every barrel it brews and sells. It’s a BOGO cause marketing effort, Buy One Give One. …