Retailing and Partnering With Nonprofits: How to Start a Fundraising Program and Make a Difference
In today's world, retail companies are faced with intense competition and are constantly seeking ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors. One way to do this is by adopting nonprofit fundraising programs on behalf of their customers.
A nonprofit fundraising program is a program where retailers partner with a nonprofit organization to support their cause, typically by donating a percentage of their sales to the charity or otherwise providing volunteer support or other “in-kind” value to the nonprofit organization.
The importance of retailers having a fundraising strategy in place cannot be overstated. First and foremost, it's an excellent way to give back to the community and to support a charitable cause. This is particularly important in today's socially conscious world, where consumers are looking for businesses that are making a positive impact in the world and their own local community. By offering fundraising programs, retailers can demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility and community involvement and can lead to increased customer loyalty and brand advocacy.
In addition, offering fundraising programs can increase sales for retailers. Studies have shown that customers are more likely to purchase from businesses that support charitable causes. By partnering with a nonprofit organization and highlighting its cause, retailers can attract customers who are passionate about the cause and are willing to support it through their purchasing decisions.
Furthermore, offering fundraising programs can improve and highlight a company's reputation. By supporting a nonprofit organization, retailers can gain positive publicity and recognition for their charitable efforts through earned media. This can help to enhance the company's brand image and reputation, which can lead to increased customer loyalty and trust.
To get started with a nonprofit fundraising partner program, retailers should begin by identifying a nonprofit organization that aligns with their brand and values. It's important to choose a charity that's relevant to the retailer's vertical or customer base. For example, a sports retailer may partner with a nonprofit organization that supports youth sports programs, and Dick's Sporting Goods does just that.
Once the nonprofit organization has been identified, the retailer should establish a clear plan of action. This should include setting specific goals and targets, determining how the fundraising program will be promoted to customers, and outlining how the donations will be made to the nonprofit organization.
To promote the fundraising program to customers, retailers can use a variety of tactics, including social media, email marketing, in-store signage, and word-of-mouth advertising. It's important to communicate the benefits of the program to customers and to make it easy for them to participate.
In addition, retailers can offer incentives to customers who participate in the fundraising program, such as discounts, free gifts, or entry into a prize draw. This can help to encourage customers to participate and can increase sales for the retailer.
Take Advantage of GivingTuesday
One way to amplify these marketing efforts is to piggyback on the runaway success of GivingTuesday.
GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement that encourages people and organizations to give to charitable causes. It was started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. Held on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, the goal of GivingTuesday is to harness the power of social media and collaboration to inspire people to give back to their communities.
On GivingTuesday, individuals and organizations are encouraged to donate their time, money or resources to a charitable cause. The movement has gained significant traction in recent years, with millions of people participating in the event each year.
In 2022, GivingTuesday raised a total of $2.9 billion in donations worldwide. This was a significant increase from the previous year, with an 18 percent increase in online giving in the United States alone.
The company I work for, Community Brands, has been a leader in this effort and provides technology to nonprofits to make it easy for people to make donations online. These tools allow nonprofits to easily sign up new donors while retaining existing ones. The result has been increased donations and revenue for my company, which is why retailers should consider partnering with GivingTuesday as well.
By timing their fundraising calendar with GivingTuesday, retailers can tap into this powerful movement that has inspired millions of people to give back to their communities. The event has become an important part of the charitable calendar, raising billions of dollars in donations each year, and since it corresponds with the traditional start of the holiday retail season, retailers can dramatically increase their overall sales with the increased awareness of their own brand and how it's associated with GivingTuesday.
Adopting nonprofit fundraising programs on behalf of their customers is an important strategy for retailers to consider. By supporting a charitable cause, retailers can demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility and community involvement, while also increasing sales and improving their reputation. By following a clear plan of action and promoting the program to customers, especially around GivingTuesday, retailers can successfully implement a fundraising program that benefits both their business and the nonprofit organization, while gaining customers’ loyalty. It’s a win-win scenario.
Jon Biedermann is vice president of fundraising strategy at Community Brands, whose GiveSmart online fundraising and donor management platform has been used to raise more than $5 billion for nonprofits.
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Jon Biedermann is vice president of fundraising strategy at Community Brands, whose GiveSmart online fundraising and donor management platform has been used to raise more than $5 billion for nonprofits. He created and oversaw the DonorPerfect Online platform and was the founder and president of SimplyFundraisingCRM, which became part of GiveSmart in 2022. Biedermann is a former board member of Giving USA Foundation and is a board member and treasurer of its sister organization, the Giving Institute. He is active with the Association of Fundraising Professionals and is the immediate past chair of its Fundraising Effectiveness Project.