It all started with that yellow rubber wristband. Remember that? The Livestrong wristband we purchased at check-out counters for what…three dollars…(now you can purchase 100 for only $100-what a deal). It was the hippest thing to do.
Ever since then, stores and brands alike have been marketing the idea of not only selling a product, but selling a charitable cause.
More pictures of Bono after the jump!!
Charity is now a sustainable business model. (yes, the word “sustainable gets tossed around these parts quite a bit but for good reason) In a weak retail climate, philanthropy has become a competitive advantage among stores and brands. Companies such as Target and Comcast have donated more than 5% of their profits to charity in 2009.
But the current current condition of our economy has taken a toll on cash donations to charity. Cash donations in 2009 dropped 7.5% according to a survey of 68 companies, so companies are offering workers paid days off to do pro bono work for charities.
Retail executives say this is a priceless investment, thus hitting our soft spots to entice us to purchase their goods. Bloomingdales, for example, holds an annual fund-raiser where they auction off vacation packadges through their website with the purchase price passed onto the organization AmeriCares.
MAC cosmetics has raised over $40 million towards AIDS treatment through lipstick sales. And who could forget the (Product) RED campaign by Gap to raise money for AIDS treatment in Africa. What was once started out as a Holiday Season special, turned into a five year venture.
The One for One campaign by Toms shoes has been a major success. (Don’t you see EVERYONE now having a pair in Seattle?) The company was founded by a simple idea: for every pair of TOMS shoes sold, TOMS will give a new pair of shoes to a child in need. Need any end of Summer party ideas? Look no further!! You can host a “Style your Sole” party by purchasing a bulk order of blank canvas TOMS and voila! All you need are the peoples and the decorating tools (and your nogin).
Want to get in on the action? Do what Duke alumna Rachel Weeks did by launching your own ethical clothing line (just don’t name it School House because that is hers). Her goal is to promote “living wages” for workers rather than “minimum wages”. The company is currently looking for brand representatives and student interns.
so go sign on up.
and now another picture of Bono (as promised)