Restaurant Adds Foursquare, Fundraising Advice to Menu

Last week we enjoyed a sumptuous Foursquare promotion created by Boston's own Boloco. The Foursquare Mayor Boloco Card is bursting with creativeness, spices and natural goodness, just like the food Boloco serves. The promotion is a feast for us who are looking for ways to use geo-location services. Boloco's efforts offer direction on how causes can create their own 4sq promotion with local businesses.

Here's how.

Start by re-reading last week's post. Think your nonprofit isn't big enough to give Foursquare a try? Think again. Worried that you don't have the technical skills to work with the geo-location site? No special skills are required. Not sure that you should be focusing on Foursquare in the first place? Read my post here.

Identify prospects to approach. Stores or restaurants with multiple locations and foot traffic are your best targets. You'll see why soon. Boloco is a perfect example. They have 16 busy locations throughout New England. Targeting a chain with fewer locations is fine. Just adjust your expectations: fewer stores generally means fewer customers, and fewer customers means less of, well, anything you hope to get out of the partnership.

Explain how Boloco is using Foursquare. And how your promotion will work almost exactly the same way as theirs. (For all the brazen talk being "first" in new ideas, businesses secretly like when someone else has gone first!) Like Boloco, each location will have a mayor that will be feted with honors, to be determined by the store or restaurant. The reigning mayor can simply flash their 4sq mayor crown on their PDA to the store manager. (While the Boloco mayor card and offline exchange between ousted and new mayors is a great idea, it's not necessary for the program to work.)

Add a cause component. To turn the Boloco Foursquare program into a cause marketing machine try one of these two tactics.

  1. Cash or Inkind - Say you partner with a store or restaurant that has coats or food to donate to your organization. With their new Foursquare Mayor Gives Back program the winning mayor of each location chooses the nonprofit that gets the lion's share of the donation. It's a great way to involve customers in the giving and to educate them about the company's good deeds and organizations that need their support.
  2. Point-of-Sale - Pinups are a great way to raise money and promote the Foursquare Mayor Gives Back program. Selling pinups at the register promotes the program with customers and raises money that can be awarded to your cause by the reigning mayor on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Combining Foursquare with pinups introduces 4sq to customers who aren't currently using the geo-location service, but might with a little encouragement and incentive. For all the merits of the Boloco  promotion it's focused on Foursquare users, not in on boarding new users. Adding pinups to the mix raises money for the cause and alerts more customers to the promotion, which means more Foursquare users vying to become the next mayor.

The Foursquare Mayor Boloco Card is a great starting point to launch a cause marketing initiative. Nonprofits are rewarded with exposure, inkind goods or cash. Retailers can better activate their 4sq promotion with consumers and potentially earn their halo by supporting a good cause.

Like restaurant leftovers, I hope this second take on Boloco's Foursquare promotion was more tasty than the first!