Skip to main content

Variable Donation Amounts in Cause Marketing, A Hypothetical

Today’s post is a brief thought experiment or hypothetical. What would happen if the donation amount in cause marketing was variable? How would that affect participation and results for the company and the cause?

For instance, suppose that you buy a Sole insole or ‘footbed.’ Sole was the topic of Wednesday’s post. One of the causes Sole sponsors is the shoe charity Soles4Souls. Soles4Souls is always looking for gently-used shoes. So let’s suppose that when you buy a Sole footbed that Sole donates $1. But if you buy a Sole footbed plus donate a pair of shoes then Sole donates, perhaps, $3. Would that increase in-kind donations for Soles4Souls? Would it increase sales for Sole?

You can probably imagine other variable donation scenarios as well involving Tweets or Facebook ‘likes’ or repins on Pinterest.

What I’m talking about is frequently used by experimental economists in laboratory settings. In experimental economics you’re given a number of choices to make using real money and given certain rules and circumstances. The tests are designed according to standard game theory.

The ‘dictator game’ is frequently used to test altruism in people, for instance. I cited an example last year whereby someone started with $10 and for every dollar they gave up and anonymous partner would get $5. In such cases altruism could be said to be ‘cheap.’ If, however, your anonymous partner got just $0.20 for every dollar you gave up, altruism would be very expensive.

What would you want to offer variable donation amounts? To encourage certain behavior, of course: to make altruism cheap.

And cheap altruism is a worthy goal, certainly in public policy settings. It's why some countries allow donations to nonprofits to be tax deductible.

What do you think? Respond below in the comments section.

Comments

Nice job, it’s a great post. The info is good to know!

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…

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…