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Gratitude and Transparency in Cause Marketing

The smartest charities have a rule that they must thank their donors in at least 5 ways. For good reason, too. Gratitude is a powerful inducement to future gifts. But how should sponsors thank customers/participants in cause campaigns?

To site just the last couple of posts; how should Chipotle thank the customers that pay $2 for a Boorito and thereby benefit Jaime Oliver’s charity? How might the hoteler Kimpton thank customers who buy their specialty drinks and help make a donation to local AIDS/HIV charities?

At left is how a local grocer thanked participants in making a donation to the American Heart Association. Because there’s no context in the blurb it’s hard to know what customers are being thanked for.

Sans that context the blurb is merely a nice gesture, but less than helpful to Maceys or the American Heart Association.

Transparency is chronically missing in cause marketing. And its absence means cause marketing campaigns are less effective than they could be.

What would be better? Maceys could do two things using just a little more of their flyer space than they did in this case:
  1. When they’re reporting results they should mention the campaign name if applicable, when it ran and how customers helped. They could also tell customers who are so inclined how they could support the cause after the fact.
  2. At the end of the year they could devote the back page of their last flyer of the calendar year to reporting all the fundraising and cause marketing that they undertook from January to December, including pictures, testimonials for charities, customers, the people (if applicable) helped, their own staffs, etc.
I don’t know of even one retailer that does this. So if Maceys undertook such an effort, it would truly stand out from its peers.

Maceys could take to a higher level still if it asked the various charities they support to make some kind of specific report on how they used the money raised.

Let me repeat this for emphasis, this transparency would make Maceys all but unique in the world of retailers.

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