Friday, September 30, 2011

USA TODAY Polls Pink Campaign Shoppers

Just as when the Holidays roll around every year you can be sure to see the red and green everywhere, it is a sure bet that in October you will see pink all over the marketplace. Yes, another October has come rolling around and more and more businesses are getting on the pink ribbon bandwagon helping promote breast cancer awareness and  research. But research findings have addressed the many questions that many of us have asked as to whether the pink campaign has gone too far and whether it has proven worthwhile. A recent Gallup Poll in USA Today bears some good news about the pink campaign in that it has raised awareness of the cause and has brought in contributions. 

The ensuing article in USA TODAY, however, points out that with all the hoopla and additional funding there has been little advance in finding a cure for the disease and questions remain whether the intense focus on this one cause detracts from other causes just as worthy. 

No one has yet studied, as far as I can tell, whether the pink campaign has provided retailers with an additional boost in sales. Presumably the industry thinks so, unless of course, the campaigns are done out of altruism. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Philanthropy: An Effective Tool for a Good Business

Philanthropy, a wonderful thing for any business to be involved with, as it is a universal law that "to give is to receive" and is proved true on so many occasions, in so many ways.
I've also observed that those with the least to give are the ones who give most in terms of time and money to various causes such as homelessness, domestic abuse, children with cancer, and the list goes on.

I suggest that anyone who has not dabbled in philanthropy should try it. For every hundred dollars that you make, give ten dollars to a cause that you would like to support. Save the Whales, Hug a Tree, Stop Pollution, Halt Elder Abuse, House the Homeless. The choices are endless.

Corporations in the Unites States annually give away over $11 billion to non-profits and other charitable organizations - an average of 1.3% of pre-tax income. Yet, many do so without realizing the strategic value it provides. Philanthropic donations provide a useful, though seldom fully-leveraged, channel for improving outcomes for both the corporation and the community.

Large corporations typically have a staff dedicated to philanthropy with structure and parameters built in, giving at small companies tends to be more grassroots. Small and non-publicly traded companies can often utilize unique ways to give, such as putting their companies in a charitable trust or donating company stock. In fact, 80% of Minnesota businesses with fewer than 500 employees contribute annually through some type of giving program, according to the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. Businesses of any size reap the benefits of social investment with successful communities in turn supporting successful businesses.
It's important to be very observant. Upon donating your time or money, you will see a return on this investment in ways you may not have imagined.

The idea is to give what you can without any strings attached. Once you have started this movement of energy, then "what comes around goes around," and you will be pleasantly surprised at what ensues. I suspect that people like Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Buddha and Jesus were well acquainted with this universal law, and thus spent their lives practicing it.

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Eric Melin has been writing since the age of 16. His favorite topics include women's issues, homelessness, homeless veterans, the arts, cinema, biographies, nature and video production. His work has appeared in many publications around the world. You can read her blog, at . His business site is

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Apple's Sleekest Design Yet-Corporate Philanthropy

I try not to comment too much about huge companies and their corporate philanthropy strategies- unless they have created a model that can be replicated by small businesses. The latest flurry of commentary and news about Apple's corporate philanthropy( or lack of) have left some valuable lessons for businesses of all sizes.

A few weeks ago after the announcement of Steve Jobs' resignation, the New York Times published a critical article about the lack of his personal philanthropy and the absence of any corporate giving.

Not less than two weeks after these stories, Tim Cook the new CEO laid out Apple's new corporate giving plan as reported by PC Magazine. This program comes as a  sleek and straightforward employee matching gift program where Apple will match every employee's charitable donations up to $10,000.00 a year.

The beauty of this approach can be seen from several points of view: first, it's an effective tool engaging the employees in their own giving as it both motivates and rewards them for doing so; secondly, this plan becomes a very efficient tool for supporting  local community causes as employees are more likely to identify and care about the local causes that are closest to their hearts; finally, this program streamlines the process of deciding on the recipients as Apple itself does not need to create any kind of application process

But mostly, any small or large business can replicate or adapt this program to create their own giving plan. It's simple and elegant and very effective, just like Apple's products.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Votes,Tweets, Stars and Athletes Score for Puma's Project Pink

Well it seems that again, nominating and voting for charitable organizations is becoming a preferred method of businesses engaging their consumers in throwing their support towards worthy causes. Last week we wrote about the Classy Awards and this week, we have this press release forwarded to us about Puma"s Project Pink. As you can read below, nominations end on Sept. 22 and voting is from Sept. 26th thru Oct 7th.

And for every tweet with the hashtag #projectpink, Puma will donate a dollar to the winning charity.

And there is more-an expanded multi faceted cause marketing effort:
Stars supporting Project Pink in public service announcements
Soccer teams donning pink Puma uniforms for games
Athletes donating proceeds from games towards these causes.

PUMA® Encourages Fans to Make Pink Their Project in 2011
Actress Nina Dobrev joins team as Project Pink supporter

Westford, Mass. (July 6, 2011) – Wear pink, do good. Simple, right? Exactly, says sportlifestyle brand PUMA®as it kicks off year two of Project Pink, a more-than-just-October initiative that puts the fight against breast cancer in the hands of young soccer fans. Launched in 2010 in response to a group of female soccer athletes looking to support breast cancer awareness and research – and now cheered on by PUMA soccer athletes and Project Pink spokeswomen Amy Rodriguez, Leslie Osborne, Karina LeBlanc, Alex Scott, Tasha Kai, and Marta, plus PUMA Women’s Soccer Ambassador Julie Foudy – the program is entering its second season on the heels of an over $60,000 donation to the Breast Cancer Research and Education Fund at Magee-Womens Foundation in 2010. Also joining PUMA and its fight against breast cancer is actress Nina Dobrev, who, as an athlete in her youth, couldn’t wait to work alongside PUMA and the athletes to support the cause.

“We’re so proud of the remarkable athletes and young fans who supported Project Pink in 2010, rocking their pink gear at WPS games, nominating their favorite charities and rallying behind them to drum up votes, and, of course, tweeting up a storm,” said Tara McRae, PUMA North America’s Vice President of Marketing. “The donation we made at the end of the season is a true testament to their passion. We’re excited to build upon that enthusiasm in year two alongside our roster of athletes, as well as with the incredible support of our two new teammates, Julie Foudy and Nina Dobrev.”

PUMA’s Project Pink expands in its second year, with more supporters, a more robust product offering, and more fundraising activities and events, all while staying true to the foundation of the program: putting the power and the energy of Project Pink in the hands of young soccer fans and enthusiasts who choose to make Project Pink their personal projects, thus choosing to inspire change and do good.

The Stars Align
PUMA is excited to announce that actress Nina Dobrev is lending her support, alongside some of the best women’s soccer athletes in the world, to Project Pink 2011. As one of Project Pink’s supporters, the Vampire Diaries star will appear in the program’s Public Service Announcement, act as a media spokesperson, make appearances in support of the initiative, and engage with fans throughout the season via her Twitter handle, @ninadobrev.

“I’m truly excited for the opportunity to work on this season’s Project Pink initiative,” said Dobrev. “I love that it truly empowers young women to get involved and make a difference. Plus, I’ve always been an athlete, so I jumped on the chance to stand alongside and in support of some of these amazing female soccer players.” Dobrev, a former gymnast, is a natural fit for the PUMA brand, which celebrates the active lifestyle and supports the health and well-being of women worldwide.

Look Good in Pink
PUMA’s Project Pink Collection has been expanded this season, with offerings that include a full Project Pink uniform – down to a fabulously fluorescent pair of pink soccer socks – supercute lifestyle tees, a brand-new PUMA Project Pink watch, and a gym sack perfect for stowing the line’s full-sized and mini soccer balls. In step with the 2010 initiative, PUMA has pledged to donate 100% off the profits from the sale of its Project Pink gear at PUMA Stores, online at, and at partner retailers across the country, including Eurosport and, as well as Niky’s Sports and Soccer West locations.

Make Your Voice Heard
Again this year, PUMA is leaving the decision of Project Pink’s ultimate beneficiary up to young soccer fans, gathering nominations for deserving charitable organizations at July 17 and September 22; voting opens on September 26 and runs through October 7. The group with the most votes will receive 100% of profits from the sale of PUMA Project Pink merchandise, as well as additional funds raised via initiatives throughout the season, at the culmination of the program in October.

Get in the Game
The athletes of Women’s Professional Soccer are swapping out their team colors in support of Project Pink for designated games throughout the 2011 season. Home teams will take to the field in pink PUMA jerseys and shorts, and fans will have the chance to get involved with special activities in-stadium. Game dates are as follows:

     - Sky Blue FC: July 17                        - Atlanta Beat: August 6
     - Boston Breakers: July 24                        - magicJack: August 10
     - Philadelphia Independence: July 31        - Western New York Flash: August 14
Of course, those who haven’t quite made the pro leagues yet will also have the chance to “Score a Goal Against Breast Cancer, netting additional donations from PUMA, during tournaments like USA Cup, the Blues Cup, the Big Foot Tournament, and the Top Hat PUMA Cup. Participants at the PUMA Women’s vElite Showcase in July will also have the opportunity to show their support for Project Pink.

Fans will catch flashes of pink on-field in October, too, when PUMA-sponsored male and female soccer athletes will be sporting limited edition Project Pink soccer boots to further heighten awareness during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And PUMA athletes from other disciplines are getting behind the cause, too: Cobra-PUMA Golf athletes Lexi Thompsonand Anna Nordqvist will be sporting head-to-toe Project Pink during the women’s golf major on July 8th, while PUMA Running is hosting a five-mile race in August beginning and ending at the brand’s North American Headquarters in Westford, Massachusetts, with all proceeds going to benefit Project Pink’s ultimate beneficiary. Visit register.

Tweet Better, Do-Gooder
And finally, with an eye to spreading the word even further and offering up yet another easy way for fans to contribute – no purchase, cheering section, or soccer skills required – PUMA is bringing back its popular Twitter hash tag, #projectpink. Tweet #projectpink between July 6 and October 31, and, counting one tweet per user per day, PUMA will donate an additional $1, up to $25,000, to the ultimate beneficiary.