Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Food for thought

I received this email today from the Cause Marketing Forum. I'm NOT saying a person or business should exploit the misfortune of the hurricane victims for profit. However, when a person or business can use their current position or influence for the good of others, I'm all for it. So, here are a few thoughts from the people at the Cause Marketing Forum. If these ideas do not work for you today, maybe they will work or provide food for thought in another situation.

The rapidity with which business and nonprofit organizations have reacted to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina has been impressive.

According to a brief by Business for Social Repsonsibility, cash is king in the early stage of disaster response. The rapid development of numerous channels to get money to aid organizations has been stunning. Hundreds of companies have stepped forward. Here are just a few examples illustrating the diversity of efforts:

Online Contributions: Numerous companies have enabled consumers to contribute online. For example, A high-profile contribution site was donated by Yahoo! to the American Red Cross. Online solution provider Kintera has offered to waive set-up fees for organizations seeking to collect money for hurricane relief.

In-Store Contributions: Retail chains are employing several tactics to generate consumer contributions. On Sept. 2, Johnny Carino's, a chain of 158 Italian restaurants, announced that it would donate 15% of sales generated by company-owned locations. As of Friday, Best Buy, KeyBank, Walgreen's had already implemented on-site donation program.

Employee Contributions: Many firms quickly created ways for their employees to give. Bayer, Baxter Healthcare and Tyco International were among the many companies offering to match employee contributions to the relief effort.

These rapid response donations are critical, but acute need will go on for months and reconstruction will take years. "It is though the longer-term contribution of technical expertise, infrastructure and economic investments that a company can meet the greatest human need, and most strongly affirm its commitments to corporate social responsibility," points out Aron Cramer, CEO of BSR.

The Home Depot was way ahead of the curve on this front -- it already has a long-term alliance in place with the American Red Cross. On Aug. 31, The Home Depot announced that it plans to send thousands of employees to the Gulf States region to provide reconstruction support.
On a personal note, it is an honor to know that so many of our readers are the people doing such outstanding work to ease the pain inflicted by Katrina. If the Cause Marketing Forum can assist you in any way, please get in touch.

David Hessekiel
President, Cause Marketing Forum, Inc.


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