For years, brands have partnered with nonprofits and charities as way to give back to their communities. Now, those same brands are looking for ways to extend those community relationships and connect with their consumers more deeply. One of the hottest trends in promotional marketing is to use a nonprofit or charity-based rewards in promotions. There are several factors driving this trend, as brands work to associate themselves with causes:
- Millennial and Generation Z consumers have an affinity towards brands that align with their values
- Consumers are more willing to forego rewards to support causes they care about
- Brands are becoming more transparent in how their values align with charitable partners
When executing promotions with a cause or charitable component, marketers should be aware of the risks with the strategy and limit the negative impacts to their brand. Consumers will pick sides with, or against, brands based upon the causes that the brand associates itself with. To minimize this risk, offer consumers choices to whom donation is direct toward, or leave the charity choice up to consumers by providing a charity gift card as the reward option.
Here are three concepts that we’ve developed with our clients using charitable rewards in their promotional marketing campaigns, and how they could be used in your promotion marketing opportunities:
- Incentivize entry into a campaign by offering a charitable gift to a grand prize winner. For example, a brand could run either a rebate or sweepstakes campaign, in which most entrants receive a monetary reward or prize, but lead with messaging of a major gift to a cause on behalf of one participant.
- Allow consumers to choose if they would like to gift their reward to a charity versus receiving a rebate or sweepstakes prize. To execute this, you could run a promotion as your brand usually would, but when the winner goes to redeem their reward, offer them a choice between receiving the reward or giving it to a charity.
- Provide a charity gift card that allows consumers to choose the charity to donate to. YA works with charity card providers that allow consumers to choose from hundreds of charities that will align with any consumer’s values.
Implementing a charity option in a promotion is a great way to receive positive aura from a cause-driven promotion. Marketers should either choose a reward that directly aligns with their brand and their consumers, or allow consumers to make a choice when choosing a charity.
Kevin Palmstein is a Vice President of Product, Alliances and Marketing at YA. He works with clients every day to design scaled rebate programs.