Skip to main content

Cause Marketing on the Navajo Reservation

If you’re like me, you loathe it when gas stations sell air for your vehicle’s tires. Air is free, right?

But I saw a pay air pump on the Navajo Indian Reservation that used cause marketing to take some of the sting out of buying compressed air.

Gap, Arizona is a tiny burg on US-89 on the western edge of the expansive Navajo Nation (the reservation is slightly larger than the state of West Virginia).

US-89 is almost the mother road for National Parks in the American West. It is the main access artery for the Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, the Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park.

The population density of the Navajo Nation is very low, and the unemployment and poverty rates are high; 42 percent and 43 percent respectively. For comparison’s sake, the unemployment rate on the adjacent Hopi reservation is 55 percent. But the Navajo have a rich and amazing artistic heritage. Years ago I worked in an office where my desk faced a cool RC Gorman painting. Would that I could have bought it.

The Hopi have spiritual and religious traditions that have fascinated scholars for decades. The Hopi have continuously occupied some of their sacred mesas since 1,100 AD. And anyone who can make a rewarding and fulfilling life on the high and austere desert mesas of Northeast Arizona has my complete respect.  

Here’s how the promotion works: when you buy one-dollar’s worth of air, Air Serv will donate an undisclosed amount to Feed My Starving Children. Nothing on the pump or on FMSC’s website told me that some of the children were on the Navajo Nation, but I found it impossible not to make that leap in thinking. FMSC does indeed send some food Stateside and the Navajo Nation, with its very young and poor population, is seemingly a likely recipient.

Air Serv, which owns and services the equipment, uses their relationship with FMSC as a way to differentiate itself from competitors. It’s like those vending machines that promise to give a portion of the proceeds to a cause. Air Serv’s total commitment to FMSC is $100,000 a year for five years. Not bad.

The promotion works because FMSC’s name says what it does. And it worked in Gap, Arizona for me because I needed air for my tires and because I couldn’t NOT think of Navajo kids as possible recipients.

Comments

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…