Make-a-Wish Has the Midas Touch

Watching the Today Show yesterday I saw an ad for Midas and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Through June 28th, Midas is donating $5 from every $34.95 oil change purchased to MAW.  Consumers don't have do anything to earmark their support for MAW, and Midas is guaranteeing a minimum of $350,000.  Midas has capped their donation at $400,000.

In addition to a dedicated web site,, which has some great MAW stories posted on it, consumers can also visit their local Midas and buy a magnetic MAW star for five bucks.  Midas locations committed to the program are probably pushing the magnets as another way to raise money for MAW.

It's not the first time I've seen one of these fast lube chains run a point-of-sale program that involved selling an icon for more than a buck.  They sell them for more than most retailers do because they have to and they can.

They have to because fast lube shops aren't supermarkets and don't get a ton of foot traffic.  The chain I work with here outside of Boston, Valvoline Instant Oil Change (VIOC), sees fewer than 100 customers a day at each of its centers.  Don't get me wrong, this is good traffic for oil changes, but not for raising money with mobiles that sell for a buck.  In short, you need to charge more because you're working with fewer customers.

They can ask for more because places like Midas, VIOC and Jiffy Lube do a pretty good job teaching their employees how to up sell and often tie their compensation to hitting certain sales goals. When we worked with VIOC, they sold paper mobiles for three dollars at the same time that four other retailers were selling them for a buck, and they still ran a successful program.

Consumers at quick lube centers are also inclined to donate more because they are spending more.  It's not like they're paying three bucks for a coffee and donut and then being asked to buy a $3 mobile.  Psychologically, you're asking too much from the consumer.  Customers at Midas are spending at least $34.95 and being up sold on other services that aren't cheap.  If you're ultimately dropping sixty or seventy dollars or more, being asked to donate a few bucks to charity isn't a big deal.

What's truly ideal about working with this category is that every customer is a new supporter of the program.  One of the challenges I've had with other point-of-sale partners is that while they have a ton of foot traffic, a lot of it is repeat business so their customers get sick of being asked to buy a mobile.  But not at Midas and Valvoline.  Regular customers are in only once every three months so they aren't clobbered by the program (The Midas program for Make-A-Wish runs for 8 weeks).  In short, customers don't get sick of being asked, employees don't get tired of being rejected and complained to, which means they don't stop asking customers to support the program, and they end up raising good money--even without the awesome foot traffic you see at other stores!

So, what are you waiting for?  Are their fast lube centers in your area?  The oil service they sell may be liquid gold for your organization.