Pennies

September 1, 2013; Tampa Bay Times

 

If you’ve been to the grocery store lately, you were probably asked to donate to charity. Checkout charity campaigns are becoming an increasingly common way for nonprofits to raise funds and for corporations to indirectly contribute to good causes. The Cause Marketing Forum recently analyzed 63 campaigns that had each raised more than $1 million in 2012, a combined total of more than $358 million raised that year. (Their extensive list of campaigns follows at the end of this Newswire.)

Three of the biggest efforts of 2012 were as follows:

  1. EBay raised more than $54 million by encouraging online sellers to donate a portion of their proceeds to charity.
  2. Walmart and Sam’s Club’s six-week Miracle Balloon campaign raised more than $41 million in 2012. Four thousand stores were involved in raising the funds to be donated to a national network of pediatric hospitals.
  3. McDonald’s coin collection raised $28 million in 2012. More than 13,000 restaurants participated, raising funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities.

While these large campaigns catch our attention, thousands of smaller campaigns are also being organized around the country in businesses large and small. According to the Cause Marketing Forum, over the last 29 years, these sorts of campaigns have raised more than $2.3 billion for charity.

Health is the clear winner when it comes to checkout charity, receiving 68 percent of all donations. Children’s health charities received 47 percent of the funds analyzed by the Cause Marketing Forum. Significant donations went to well known organizations, such as St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Miracle Network. Twenty-one percent of funds analyzed were donated to other (non-children’s) health-related concerns, such as autism, cystic fibrosis, breast cancer and muscular dystrophy.

Such campaigns have grown in recent years and are becoming so routine that many customers are becoming desensitized. In some cases, customers even dread the inevitable question.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that Jennie Blackburn of Redington Shores, Florida, said, “If there's a bunch of people in line behind me and the cashier asks me to make a donation, it makes me feel so trapped and judged, especially if it’s for the troops…It’s a lot of pressure.”

There are four key solicitation tactics used by companies. Consumers are typically asked if they would like to:

  1. Purchase an Icon/Pinup for a set dollar amount
  2. Give a direct donation
  3. Put loose change in a collection jar
  4. Round up purchases to nearest dollar

Nonprofits interested in developing a campaign should do their homework. In our post-Sarbanes-Oxley world, there are numerous legal issues involved with such fundraising efforts. The laws and registration requirements vary from state to state.

The Cause Marketing Campaign’s report offers seven tips:

  1. Select the right partner
  2. Educate employees
  3. Create professional materials
  4. Build incentives for customers
  5. Involve vendors to build a total store event
  6. Analyze the data
  7. Recognize and thank

These seven tips seem simple enough but beware. It can be more complicated than you think. Remember the Pink Bucket campaign launched by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Kentucky Fried Chicken? This 2010 campaign raised $2 million in its first week, but garnered much negative attention when activists pointed out that the campaign seemed to send contradictory messages: It’s okay to eat fatty, fried foods as long as you get a breast exam. A seemingly good idea quickly became a public relations nightmare.

Like it or not, checkout charity campaigns are here to stay. They are an easy way for corporations to demonstrate corporate social responsibility. The campaigns raise significant funds, mostly for the larger and well-known nonprofit organizations. And they allow donors to contribute in small amounts.—Jennifer Amanda Jones

 

Company Name

Charitable Beneficiary

Year Initiated

Final Donation 2012

Total Campaign Donation Since Inception

eBay

Over 22,000 nonprofit organizations

2003

$54,020,000

$240,968,189

WalMart and Sam’s Club

 

Children's Miracle Network

Hospitals

1987

$41,643,464

$556,750,072

 

McDonald's

 

Ronald McDonald House

Charities, Inc.

1992

$27,900,000

$227,400,000

 

Costco Wholesale

Children's Miracle Network

Hospitals

1988

$14,444,331

$136,649,713

 

Safeway

 

Hundreds of nonprofit

organizations

2001

$12,350,561

$107,516,468

Safeway

 

Easter Seals

Special Olympics

Rebuilding Together

Multiple local nonprofits

1986

$9,237,548

$139,000,000

 

Safeway

The Prostate Cancer Foundation

2001

$9,235,491

$84,932,527

Walgreen Co.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure

2011

$8,541,403

 

Kmart

March of Dimes

1983

$8,000,000

$106,000,000

Safeway

The Muscular Dystrophy

Association (MDA)

2002

$7,607,677

$68,782,673

 

Lowe's*

 

The Muscular Dystrophy

Association (MDA)

2001

$7,600,000

$30,000,000

 

Kmart*

 

St. Jude Children's Research

Hospital

2006

$7,500,000

$37,000,000

Pizza Hut

 

United Nations World Food

Programme

2007

$7,400,000

 

 

CVS/Pharmacy

 

St. Jude Children's Research

Hospital

2004

$6,400,000

$37,446,525

 

Speedway

 

Children's Miracle Network

Hospitals

1991

$6,272,307

$50,000,000

 

Rite Aid

97 Children's Miracle Network

Hospitals

1994

$6,000,000

$56,000,000

 

iTunes

American Red Cross

 

$5,300,000

 

Walgreen Co.

American Red Cross

2011

$5,287,932

 

CVS/Pharmacy

ALS Therapy Alliance

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

2002

$5,200,000

$30,274,639

 

Chili’s Grill & Bar*

St. Jude Children’s Research

Hospital

2002

$5,059,671

 

 

Food Lion

Children's Miracle Network

Hospitals

1991

$5,000,000

$45,000,000

Macy’s

Reading is Fundamental

2004

$4,800,000

$27,000,000

Dick’s Sporting

Goods*

St. Jude Children's Research

Hospital

2007

$4,800,000

$22,000,000

 

Taco Bell

Taco Bell Foundation for Teens

Various nonprofit organizations

2010

$4,200,000

$10,000,000

 

Toys ’R’ Us

Toys for Tots

2004

$4,000,000

$31,600,000

ANN INC.

St. Jude Children's Research

Hospital

2007

$4,000,000

$15,800,000**

Williams Sonoma*

 

St. Jude Children's Research

Hospital

 

$3,800,000

 

 

Spirit Halloween

Over 130 children's hospitals

2006

$3,500,000

$11,000,000

jcpenney

Salvation Army

2012

$3,400,000

 

Walgreen Co.

American Diabetes Association

2011

$3,253,394

 

Macy's

The Nature Conservancy

2012

$3,200,000

 

Food Lion

Easter Seals

2004

$3,100,000

$16,000,000

Macy's

March of Dimes and 8,000 local nonprofits

2006

$3,100,000

$42,000,000

 

Toys ’R’ Us

Autism Speaks

2007

$3,100,000

$13,300,000

GNC*

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

2006

$3,100,000

$10,000,000

 

Stop N Shop

The Jimmy Fund

1995

$3,000,000

$50,000,000

Wendy's

Dave Thomas Foundation for

Adoption

1996

$2,790,000

$20,000,000

 

Arby's

Share Our Strength

2011

$2,665,129

$4,170,000

Publix

21 Children's Miracle Network

Hospitals

1992

$2,507,029

$23,576,549

New York & Company*

St. Jude Children's Research

Hospital

2008

$2,500,000

$10,000,000

Corner Stores

32 Children's Miracle Network

Hospitals

1997

$2,357,229

$16,902,450

 

Claire's*

St. Jude Children's Research

Hospital

 

$2,000,000

 

 

jcpenney

USO

2012

$1,900,000

 

Toys ’R’ Us

Alex's Lemonade Stand

Foundation

2011

$1,900,000

$3,400,000

 

Sears

Rebuilding Together and its 200

local affiliates

2007

$1,800,000

$15,500,000

 

Sunglass Hut

One Sight

2006

$1,792,445

$6,700,000

jcpenney

Breast Cancer Research Foundation

2012

$1,600,000

 

 

Circle K

American Red Cross

2010

$1,513,160

$3,000,000

Ace Hardware

Children's Miracle Network

Hospitals

1991

$1,500,000

$50,000,000

 

jcpenney

4H Boys & Girls Clubs

2012

$1,490,000

 

Finish Line*

Special Olympics

 

$1,450,000

 

Love's Travel Stops &

Country Stores

Children's Miracle Network

Hospitals

 

$1,432,911

 

 

Wells Fargo

American Red Cross

 

$1,400,000

 

Brooks Brothers

 

St. Jude Children's Research

Hospital

Make-A-Wish Foundation

2005

$1,350,693

$7,785,000

Jiffy Lube

Muscular Dystrophy Association

 

$1,250,000

 

Famous Footwear

March of Dimes

2003

$1,245,000

$11,195,000

JP Morgan/Chase

American Red Cross

2012

$1,198,324

 

American Airlines

U.S. Fund for UNICEF

1994

$1,185,740

$8,880,407

Kia Motors

DonorsChoose.org

 

$1,150,000

 

jcpenney

Share Our Strength

2012

$1,100,000

 

TJX Companies

American Red Cross

2012

$1,030,331

 

Joe's Crab Shack

Share Our Strength

2005

$1,013,998

$2,400,000

Family Video

Lymphoma Research Foundation

 

$1,000,000

 

* Data gathered from publicly available sources. ** Reflects several programs