Shopping Days as a Cause Marketing Program - dummies

Shopping Days as a Cause Marketing Program

By Joe Waters, Joanna MacDonald

If your cause or company is located or connected to a downtown shopping district, try a shopping event for as a cause marketing program. Shopping for a cause can work several ways.

You can simply pick a day on which a group of businesses will donate a percentage of sales to a cause(s). Both the nonprofit and businesses promote the day to consumers and supporters in the weeks and days leading up to the event. This approach, which is turnkey and low budget, is classic cause marketing. The business helps a cause but also hopes its support will drive shoppers into their stores.

The next option is to ask area businesses to sell pinups along with donating a percentage of sales to a cause. Adding pinups to the shopping day will add expense, but it will also raise more money.

Finally, a good option to directly involve consumers is to combine shopping with walking. In one example of this type of program, the South End Shop Walk, 50 stores were recruited, mainly small shops and restaurants, to offer discounts to “shop walkers” who had collected pledges for a special one-day shopping event.

At the start of the day, walkers received a branded Shop Walk bag that entitled them to special discounts at participating stores along the route. Some of these stores also ran point-of-sale and/or percentage-of-sale programs to raise money the cause. Some started a full month before the shop walk, which promoted the event and raised money.

Businesses loved the South End Shop Walk because it brought new customers into their stores. And since many of the walkers worked at the hospital or came from the neighborhood, there was a good chance they would return.

Shopping days should offer very targeted promotions. This is the key selling point for you, the nonprofit, when pitching a shopping day program to a retailer or group of retailers.

Shopping days are a good option if businesses are willing to give a discount, but hesitant to donate a percentage of sales to your cause or sell pinups to customers. Shopping days give you access to a new group of businesses that get to know and understand you and cause marketing.

Maybe next time businesses will add the point-of-sale or percentage of sale to their support for your organization. Sometimes you have to take baby steps and build trust. Once businesses understand that you are giving something in return, they’ll understand the win-win benefit of cause marketing!

Businesses should understand that nonprofits have assets, too. It’s important for you to know the ins and outs to finding the right nonprofit partner.