National Food Bank Harvests Lots of Dough

Gw_com_hp_secondharvest_2Watching the Today show the other morning I saw an ad for a new point-of-purchase program Wal-Mart is doing for America's Second Harvest.  Wal-Mart will match the first $5 million dollars it raises in its stores for a total contribution of $10 million.  Even for a national food bank like Second Harvest, this ain't small potatoes.

Point-of-purchase programs--sometimes called mobile or pin-up programs--like this are one of the easiest, most effective and lucrative ways for retailers to build credibility with customers and to raise money for nonprofits.  Best of all, they can be run by any charity with any size retailer.  While you generally see these programs at the larger chains, they can be especially effective for small and mid-sized retailers that are typically short on marketing and philanthropy dollars.

Mobile programs are a staple of Boston Medical Center's cause marketing efforts.  Partners include iParty, Ocean State Job Lots, Valvoline Instant Oil Change, FedEx/Kinko's, to name a few.  Our programs with these retailers have been successful and lucrative for three reasons:

  • The retailer pays nothing.  All the expenses for the program--design, printing, premiums--come out of the monies raised.  This makes it easy for the retailer to sign on and to focus on the most important part: selling the mobiles at the register.
  • We Incentivize cashiers.  Successful point-of-purchase programs work for one reason: cashiers ask EVERY customer to donate.  Use gift cards, t-shirts, iPods, vacation time, etc. to motivate cashiers to push the program (and don't forget the managers who can be helpful in pushing the cashiers to push the program.).
  • We tie-in other retailers.  Retailers love to cross-promote.  When iParty agreed to sell mobiles for us last October, it was easy to sign-on Valvoline Instant Oil Change because we had something they wanted: access to women consumers during the busy Halloween holiday.

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