Tap UNICEF's Tap Project for Restaurant Cause Marketing















I've admired UNICEF's Tap Project since it began in 2008. Since then it's raised $2.5 million. This year's program wrapped up on Saturday and I'm sure they'll add generously to this total.

Have you visited the Tap Project web site? There's a lot cause marketers can learn and borrow from the site.

This program is easy, turnkey and completely replicable. Ask customers to donate a buck for the tap water they usually get for free. Genius, huh? You should ask your local restaurants to do the same for you. Maybe you're a food pantry and instead of asking customers to donate a buck for their tap water you ask a buck for the bread basket they generally get for free. The point is that asking customers for a buck is something that any restaurant can do for any cause. Point-of-sale just isn't for retailers. It doesn't have to be about water. And it doesn't have to be for UNICEF.

UNICEF's resources for restaurants are your resources. UNICEF has put together a great Resources for Restaurants page where restaurants can sign up, download a guide, donation card, table tents, etc. You don't need most of these things anyway. Point-of-sale cause marketing is all about the ask. That's one advantage you have over UNICEF: you're a local cause so you can educate restaurant workers on the program and don't need printed materials. However, I did like the donation card (shown above). It's a cheat sheet the waitstaff can use at the diner's table to educate, explain and sell the program.

Tying your program into the restaurant's POS system is key. And UNICEF gives you all the instructions you'll need to guide restaurants through the process of adding donations to their POS systems (UNICEF provides instructions for six different systems). This is important for a couple reasons. First, it allows restaurants to easily record the gift and add the donation to the customer's receipt like any other item on the menu. Second, and this is really important, it alleviates waitstaff concern that generous customers will reduce their gratuity to make a donation. Waitstaff are in a challenging position with point-of-sale programs like the Tap Project as it's easy for customers to just make their donation part of the tip. That's not an incentive for waitstaff to promote the program!

Copy, borrow and emulate UNICEF. Sure, you can replicate the Tap program with your local restaurants and use the UNICEF website to execute a better program (send UNICEF a gift as a thank you!). But to match the $2.5 million they've raised in three years and launch a national program you'll need something else: BRAND. UNICEF has had widespread success with it's cause marketing program because people recognize, admire and trust their brand. They stand for something, which they've done a great job of reinvigorating the past few years.