Selfish Giving's annual listing of the ten best cause marketing promotions of 2014. For more information and links to additional resources, visit http://www.selfishgiving.com/blog/10-best-cause-marketing-promotions-of-2014
Hi and Happy New Year!
In December, Selfish Giving celebrated its 10th
anniversary. For almost as long as I’ve been blogging,
I’ve been writing an annual post on the best cause
I love writing this post because you love reading it! It
always ignites a lot of interest in cause marketing.
Every year, I choose cause marketing promotions
that are both successful and aspirational. The latter is
especially important to me. I want you to say,
“That’s so cool and different. I want to
try something like that.”
“We can do cause marketing. What’s stopping us?”
You can learn more about my picks - and how to
create your own “Best of 2015” promotion – at
Founder & Blogger, Selfishgiving.com
Partners: Uber, Share Our Strength
Why I Picked It: It's been amazing over the
past year how many cause-related programs
Uber has launched.
Uber's latest program with Share Our
Strength was a home run. Their initial goal
was to provide #3MillionMeals for children in
need by allowing riders to make a $5 gift
within the app to support No Kid Hungry.
Within four days, the Uber Community had
donated enough money to provide a record
I loved that Uber took risks and broke the
rules - for GOOD! In addition to asking
customers to make a donation within the
Uber app for the first time ever, the company
found its way around the Apple app policy
that bans in-app donations.
Partners: Omaha, Nebraska, Peyback
Why I Picked It: Someone in Omaha,
Nebraska is pretty darn smart. He or she
noticed that Denver Broncos quarterback
Peyton Manning said "Omaha" at the line of
scrimmage - a lot. Peyton said it all season
long, and he wasn't the only Quarterback
that said it. Tom Brady said it too.
To ride the wave of media and fanfare that
accompanies the NFL playoffs, 17 Omaha
companies agreed to donate $500 to
Manning’s Peyback Foundation each time
he said "Omaha!"
The national media picked up on the stunt
and the City of Omaha got a ton of publicity.
Manning won too. The Peyback Foundation
received nearly $70,000.
Promotion: Thanks and Giving
Partners: Kmart, St. Jude Children's Research
Why I Picked It: When I first read that a
retailer had raised $22 million for St. Jude
Children's Research Hospital I was blown
away by how much money the promotion
But I was even more surprised by who had
raised the money. How the heck could Kmart
- a struggling retailer - raise so much money
for St. Jude? Of course, my skepticism spilled
over into my blog where I questioned the
And I was dead wrong. The public relations
team at Sears emailed me to explain how
and why the program was so successful.
To say the least, I was impressed!
Promotion: Stop Ebola
Partners: Facebook + 6 Charities
Why I Picked It: When Facebook decided to
fight Ebola by adding a “Donate” button to
the top of its news feed, it wasn't the first
time the world's biggest social media site had
responded to an emergency. But it came at a
critical time when the world was rocked by
the spread of Ebola, but wasn't doing much
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg kicked
the Ebola fundraising off with a personal gift
of $25 million.
Within days of Facebook's announcement,
Google launched its own fundraiser to fight
Ebola. While some people criticized Silicon
Valley companies for being late-comers to
the fight against Ebola, Zuckerberg and
Facebook came through in spades when the
battle was at a low point.
Promotion: Charity Pot
Partners: LUSH + 600 Charities
Why I Picked It: The concept of LUSH's
Charity Pot is simple. When you buy a Charity
Pot body lotion all the money from the sale
goes to the nonprofit featured on the lid.
Since 2007, the promotion has raised nearly
$6 million for over 600 nonprofits.
Most of nonprofits supported annual
revenues below $500,000. This program a
full-time effort for LUSH. Three staff people
manage the program year-round.
I love the Charity Pot program because it
supports small nonprofits, which often sit on
the and watch the dollars flow to big
charities like American Cancer Society, The
Salvation Army and St. Jude Children's
Research Hospital. More companies should
make giving to small nonprofits a priority.
Promotion: Dave Thomas Foundation for
Partners: Wendy's, Dave Thomas Foundation
Why I Picked It: Wendy's has always been a
big supporter of adoption programs. After
all, the late Dave Thomas, the chain’s
founder, was himself adopted.
But Wendy's connection with the Dave
Thomas Foundation for Adoption had always
been low-key - until last year. That's when
Wendy's realized they could be giving more
to - and getting more from - the foundation
and its adoption efforts.
In addition to selling Frosty key tags for a
dollar at the register, Wendy’s has a new
“adoption hub” on its web site where visitors
can learn more about adoption and the
Foundation’s work. Wendy’s is also devoting
advertising dollars to the campaign.
Promotion: Negroni Week
Partners: Imbibe Media, Campari America +
1,321 Bars & Restos + Nonprofits Worldwide
Why I Picked It: In just its second year, Negroni
Week participation grew more than 10-fold with
1,321 bars and restaurants from 18 countries and
46 U.S. states. Negroni Week raised $120,000
compared to $10,000 in 2013.
Participating bars and restaurants get to choose
the charity that will receive the donation -
usually a buck or two from the sale of each
Negroni cocktail. The top fundraiser receives an
additional $10,000 for their charity.
This local cause marketing effort includes a
global marketing push. Imbide Media and
Campari America supported the promotion with
a dedicated web site, print advertising, online
ads and social media.
Partners: Cumberland Farms, ALS Association
Why I Picked It: Perhaps caught off guard by
its huge success, few companies launched
cause marketing promotions to support the
#IceBucketChallenge last summer.
One notable exception was Cumberland
Farms, a Massachusetts-based chain of
Cumberland Farms donated 20 cents from
every bag of ice sold in its 600 stores to the
ALS Association. Ultimately, the chain sold
270,000 bags of ice and raised $54,000. While
other businesses jumped on the bandwagon
and donated profits from ice sales, Cumber-
land Farms was the first to help and first in
That makes them #1 in my book!
Promotion: The Miracle Machine
Partners: MSLGROUP, Wine to Water
Why I Picked It: With the help of two Napa
Valley wine experts, global PR agency
MSLGROUP and the nonprofit Wine to Water
developed and launched The Miracle
Machine, which claimed to turn water into
wine in three days.
The Miracle Machine appeared in at least 600
publications, and it was read over 500 million
But underneath all the allure and fascination
with this revolutionary product was a GOOD
secret. The Miracle Machine was a fake! The
hoaxters revealed that the true is not turning
water into wine, but wine to water. That’s the
work of Wine To Water.
The hoax introduced Wine to Water to
millions of potential supporters.
Promotion: Raise a Moon
Partners: Blue Moon Brewing Company,
Americans for the Arts
Why I Picked It: Arts organizations could learn a
lot from a partnership between Blue Moon
Brewing Company and Americans for the Arts. In
collaboration with local artists, Blue Moon
sponsored an interactive public art installation
that raised a moon into the sky at the DUMBO
Archway in Brooklyn in response to fan retweets.
With every retweet of the @BlueMoonBrewCo
handle the moon rose and the brewing company
donated $5 to Americans for the Arts. The
promotion raised $4,000.
For arts organizations that have never tried cause
marketing, it must seem like you have to move
heaven and earth. But you don’t. Americans for
the Arts just moved the moon. It’s a lot easier
than you think.