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10 Best Cause Marketing Promotions of 2014


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Selfish Giving's annual listing of the ten best cause marketing promotions of 2014. For more information and links to additional resources, visit

Published in: Government & Nonprofit

10 Best Cause Marketing Promotions of 2014

  1. 1. 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 marketing promotions. 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 Joe Waters Founder & Blogger,
  2. 2. Promotion: #5MillionMeals 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 #5MillionMeals! 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.
  3. 3. Promotion: Omaha! Partners: Omaha, Nebraska, Peyback Foundation 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.
  4. 4. Promotion: Thanks and Giving Partners: Kmart, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital 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 raised. 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 numbers. 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!
  5. 5. 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 about it. 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.
  6. 6. 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.
  7. 7. Promotion: Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption 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.
  8. 8. 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.
  9. 9. Promotion: #StrikeOutALS 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 conveniences stores 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 dollars raised. That makes them #1 in my book!
  10. 10. 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 times 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.
  11. 11. 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.