Big Brands Stand Up for Charitable Giving
When you consider cause marketing as an aspect of the nonprofit sector, your mind is immediately drawn to direct partnerships between charitable ventures and like-minded commercial brands. Think of the Limeades for Learning initiative, which saw national brand SONIC partner with online school resource charity DonorsChoose.org to raise funds for classrooms in need of support and new learning materials. This was a classic example of a nonprofit partnering with a commercial brand that boasted similar philanthropic values, with a view to starting a brand new initiative to help and inspire the next generation of young adults.
Walmart: Taking the Lead Themselves to Effect Social Change
Walmart’s ’12 days of Giving’ Facebook campaign took a slightly different approach to philanthropy however, by being proactive in its quest to raise funds and seeking out a range of nonprofit organizations as potential partners. Concluded over the recent festive period, each day saw new ventures and philanthropists honored with more than $1.5 was distributed among 145 individual nonoprofit organizations. While Facebook users made more than 5,000 nominations for worthwhile causes, it was the Walmart Foundations panel that selected those that shared the brands focus on eradicating hunger and poverty in the U.S.
Walmart closed their campaign by sharing $200,000 among 10 worthwhile causes, celebrating the efforts of regional nonprofits that have worked tirelessly to battle hunger and child poverty. Notable recipients included Joshua’s Heart Foundation, which was founded by a young philanthropist with a vision of eradicating hunger throughout the world, The Childrens Table. This Florida-based outlet organizes food drives for local schools and communities, and helps to ensure that poverty stricken families are given access to the most basic of amenities.
Following in the Steps of Other Philanthropic Brands
So while the ideal of a large brand partnering with a similarly focused nonprofit may be nothing new, Walmart is following a slightly different if increasingly popular path. In many ways they are treading in the steps of brands such as Starbucks, which has established a worldwide reputation for supporting various nonprofit ventures and improving the communities in which they operate. Most recently, the Starbucks has partnered with two new advocacy-orientated social change organizations, both of which focus on facing the most prominent social and educational issues that blight their local communities.
The Abyssinian Department Corporation works tirelessly within the Harlem community, and strives to create quality housing and deliver improved social services to people who struggle beneath the established poverty line. Similarly, The Los Angeles Urban League is leading the way in addressing the critical social issues that face African-American citizens in the locality, most specifically helping them to achieve economic independence and find suitable housing and employment. Starbucks took a proactive approach to identify these nonprofits as boasting similar missions to their own, and like Walmart sought to use their influence to effect significant social change.
The Bottom Line for Nonprofits
With socially responsible brands striving to create increasingly well-defined philanthropic values, it has never been more important for nonprofits to market their own and promote themselves as potential partners. The 12 days of Giving campaign emphasizes social media as the perfect meeting place for like-minded brands and charitable ventures, especially in a market where brands are becoming increasingly socially aware and looking to join forces with reputable nonprofit organizations.
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