Purchase and Action-Triggered Donations as a Cause Marketing Tactic

By Joe Waters, Joanna MacDonald

In a purchase-triggered donation (PTD), a consumer’s purchase triggers a donation to a cause. This donation usually takes the form of a percentage or portion of the sales or profit going to the cause.

For example, the wireless company Sprint agreed to donate $2 to The Nature Conservancy’s Adopt an Acre initiative for every recyclable Samsung Reclaim handset sold. The $500,000 raised protected 10,000 acres of habitat.

But the donation isn’t always money. Sometimes it’s an in-kind donation. For example, work apparel maker Dickies donated $25,000 and 5,000 pants to the Salvation Army of Metro Detroit. In addition, Dickies pledged to donate one additional pair of pants for each pair sold over a specified timeframe and made a total donation of 10,000 pairs of pants. Another wrinkle to this approach is that the donation is triggered by an action instead of a purchase.

Take this program from Specialized Bikes. For every 1,000 Likes of its official Facebook page, Specialized Bikes donates a bike to CYCLE Kids, a nonprofit fighting obesity and inactivity among youth.

Specialized Bikes' Facebook campaign.