Editor’s Note: Purpose driven marketing is on the rise, not because its trendy, but because consumers are more interested than ever in brands that align with their personal values. We’ve reviewed several research reports that support this finding and the influence of values on purchase decision making seems to be growing stronger across most consumer groups. Giving has always been a core component of relationship building and the discussion of Digital Giving Moments™ here highlights how the giving concept can be incorporated into your marketing efforts.
The Joy of Giving
By: Craig Brennan, in/PACT
Remember when you were six and you held your mom’s hand as you walked by Santa standing on the street corner at your local shopping center during Christmas time ringing the Salvation Army Bell?
Remember when your mom handed you a couple of quarters to put in Santa’s Bucket?
Remember how special it made you feel to help Santa out?
This special occasion perfectly describes a “Giving Moment.” A giving moment is the moment when everything comes together to create a special feeling in a person when they help someone in need.
People give to all kinds of causes for all kinds of reasons. It is the act of giving connected to the time, place, and cause — the context — that line up to create a special moment to make a difference, to make the world a better place.
We have come a long way since you or I were six and while we may still put a dollar or two in Santa’s bucket at our local shopping center, technology now enables us to experience a similar “Digital Giving Moment™” when everything lines up online to create that special giving moment just as you experienced when you were a child.
What is a Digital Giving Moment?
A Digital Giving Moment™ is the moment when a purpose inspired Brand or Retailer presents an opportunity for a loyalty member to vote on or donate loyalty points to a meaningful and relevant local nonprofit in their community.
A Brand or Retailer’s customer loyalty program is the perfect place to introduce Digital Giving Moments as this is the most practical way to reach out to millions of known customers.
People love to give to local causes. People want to make a difference in their communities. And people give to causes they care about. Digital Giving Moments gives a Brand or Retailer a new approach and space to connect to their best customers.
Why Offer Digital Giving Moments?
Consumers, especially younger segments, expect Brands and Retailers to do more than just sell them a product or service. They expect Brands to align on values and social issues. They expect a Brand or Retailer to be purpose driven and help make the world a better place.
From Sustainability, Health, Education, Youth Sports, Disease Prevention, the Arts and hundreds of other causes, consumers want to shop and support those Brands and Retailers that align with their values.
Digital Giving Moments™ are a perfect way to activate your corporate purpose and values and enable customers to more deeply engage and emotionally connect to your Brand.
Designing A Digital Giving Moment
Designing Digital Giving Moments™ requires bringing four core elements together to create the perfect opportunity to give.
1) State Your Brand’s Purpose
Purpose driven Retailers and Brands are redefining how to balance across stakeholders (Customers, Employees, Partners, Investors) by performing well by doing well. Each Brand or Retailer has a unique opportunity to align to a cause or causes greater than their commercial purpose and make a difference to communities they serve. Giving locally amplifies your brand and makes it more relevant to your customers as well as to the rest of your stakeholders.
A Brand or Retailer’s purpose must be authentic and aligned with its values and its actions. If it is truthful and relevant, consumers will know it and will flock to it.
2) Align Loyalty Members to their Specific Cause Groups
Your loyalty members come from various backgrounds with different interests yet still aligned with your Brand or Retailer based on your purpose and values. As an example, let’s consider our pets for a moment. Imagine a national pet retailer where dog lovers, cat lovers, and bird lovers all shop for their beloved pets.
Each loyalty member cares deeply about their pet and most likely is moved to support those local causes related to their pet. A dog lover may prefer to donate to a local dog rescue center whereas a bird lover may be moved to donate to a bird sanctuary.
The key is to discover the emotional connection between your loyalty members and the causes they care about most.
3) Select Local Nonprofits to Promote
Most people care the most about helping their local nonprofits to help serve those in need in their community. The good news is, there are more than 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States serving thousands of communities across hundreds of cause areas to choose from to align with your Brand’s purpose and emotionally connect to your loyalty members.
The key insight is to match the right local nonprofits to the causes your loyalty members care about the most which are authentically align to your Brand purpose.
4) Launch Digital Giving Campaigns — Connecting the Dots
A Digital Giving Campaign is what creates the magic moment — one that matters the most — to tie together the Brand Purpose, Loyalty Member, and the local Nonprofit to enable a donation through a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Program or Customer Loyalty Points.
A Digital Giving Campaign must be:
- Relevant and meaningful to your loyalty members. Campaigns should be Local or in some cases, hyper local (down to a zip code) to serve communities where your loyalty members live. Brands or Retailers with hundreds or thousands of locations across the country will want to connect to relevant and meaningful nonprofits in each of the communities you serve.
- Timely. There are hundreds of Giving Events throughout a calendar year. Run your Giving Campaign to take advantage of the awareness generated through external events. For example, if your Cause Area is focused on Women’s Health, consider running your giving campaign during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and other similar events throughout the calendar year.
- Contextual. A Digital Giving Campaign can tie into a purchase, reinforce a purchase or enhance a purchase, all depending on where, when and how the giving moment is presented. For example, the annual Earth Day Celebration is a perfect time to launch an Environmental or Sustainability Digital Giving Moment Campaign tied to promotions for environmentally friendly products.
Create Value where Everyone Wins: Brands, Loyalty Members, and Nonprofits
As a Brand or Retailer, you seek ways to more deeply engage and emotional connect with your best customers through your loyalty program.
What better way to extend and deepen your relationship with your loyalty members than by authentically presenting the opportunity to give to a cause your loyalty member really cares about.
Consumers want to give, they want to help, and they want to feel connected to something greater than themselves. Americans give close to $500 billion each year. When your Brand enables giving moments for your loyalty members, they will feel more connected to your Brand and feel the warmth and glow of giving to a cause they care about.
Finally, nonprofits will receive needed financial support through your giving program, better serve their local communities, and will share their gratitude publicly, acknowledging your authentic gift as well as encourage their members and donors to shop your brand or store.
By offering Digital Giving Moments™, everyone wins. Consumers want to give. Brands want to make a difference. Nonprofits need the help.
Craig Brennan is the CEO of in/PACT, an Enterprise SaaS Social Good Loyalty Company. in/PACT and its partners work with leading Brands, Retailers, and Financial Institutions to design, build, and manage their Digital Giving Campaigns.