Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Using Charitable Giving as a Marketing Campaign

Barrie Berquist


Many companies support one or more philanthropic organizations.  By supporting various charities, companies demonstrate a willingness to give back to the community and create good will with their target market.  It’s also a great opportunity to get the company’s name/product/services in front of an audience without paying for advertising.  This is done in a variety of ways.  Grocery stores and restaurants often donate gift cards for silent auctions.  This helps bring the gift card recipient into the store and is likely to lead to additional spending.  Some companies give a designated percentage of sales back to the community. Linder’s Garden Center recently promoted a 3-day sale where a portion of the proceeds were donated to the Susan G. Komen 3-day for the Cure.  Other companies host events to raise money for a charitable organization while driving traffic to their establishment.   The Tae Kwon Do studio near my home hosts a board breaking contest each year to raise money for Autism Speaks.  It doesn’t hurt that many of the participants enjoy the thrill of smashing through a 1-inch thick board for the first time and enroll in classes to experience more.
The company I work for, Acosta Sales and Marketing, supports several charitable organizations but focuses most of their efforts on fundraising for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).  We hold several events each year with proceeds going to MDA.  Last month, Wellspring Health Center came to our office and provided 10 minute chair massages for a $5 to $10 donation to the MDA.  By donating their services, Wellspring was also able to get numerous leads for potential future clients.  Last week, we had a BBQ event where a $5 donation to the MDA got you all-you-can eat brats, burgers, potato salad, cookies, and lemonade.  All the food products were donated by our clients (which are consumer packaged goods companies) and each donating company was acknowledged with signage.
Even television shows understand the importance of using philanthropy as a marketing campaign.  On the television show “Celebrity Apprentice”, celebrities compete to earn money for the charity of their choice.  Each episode consists of a task, with the winning Project Manager receiving the money that was raised on the task for their charity. 
Charitable giving offers a win-win situation for donating companies and the charitable organizations.   By supporting these companies, and their designated charity, we are helping our communities and in turn, ourselves.
What about you?
  • Which philanthropic organizations does your company support?  Do they align with your company's mission?
  • What kind of fundraising efforts/events does your company offer to raise funds for their designated charity?
  • What types of products/services does your company donate?  Who receives them?
  • How does your company market their philanthropic efforts, or do they?
Barrie Berquist is a Senior Category Development Manager at Acosta Sales and Marketing.  She has been a member of the MN AMA since 2007 and is a member of the MarCom Committee where she serves as the Career Insider Blog Project Manager.  She can be reached at barrieberquist@yahoo.com.  You can follow Barrie on Twitter @BEBERQUIST. 

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1 comment:

Jim said...

Good idea! Everyone should give to children's charities :)

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