Cause Marketing: Grocery Shopping for Good

Women's FoundationHow do you say thank you? For this column we look to the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis for an example. They thank their supporters with a Kroger gift card, preloaded with five dollars. Shoppers take the card Kroger, add their grocery money to the card, do their shopping, pay for their groceries with the card, and then Kroger sends the Women’s Foundation five percent of what supporters spend using the gift card. Five percent. That’s a lot. And, supporters can reload their card over and over again, using it to buy groceries, gas and pharmacy items throughout the year. With every dollar spent five cents goes to the Women’s Foundation. It adds up quickly.

KrogerThis is a great example of what we refer to as a mutually beneficial cause marketing program. It builds loyalty amongst supporters of the Women’s Foundation who are also Kroger’s shoppers. It creates a revenue stream for the Women’s Foundation. It provides Kroger with an opportunity to provide funding to an organization their shoppers support. Everybody wins. Grocery shopping suddenly has a new meaning and a new impact

Wanting a “behind the scenes” look we asked Tracy Burgess, Development Manager at the Women’s Foundation how the program is working. She let us know they are promoting the cards with the slogan Buy Now Give Now. “We wanted to focus on giving something to the people of Memphis that will allow each to be a philanthropist. In this economy the gift card gives everyone a way to give even though their own budgets may be tight. It expands the definition of what it means to be a philanthropist.”

Burgess also mentioned that staff are recording the names and email addresses of people they give a gift card to so they can be sure to follow up and let participants know how their use of the card is impacting the Foundation’s work. You know we like to hear that – at the end of the day it is all about stewardship. Saying “thank you” over and over again.

Think about your organization and the people it touches. Think about businesses with shared values. Think creatively about how each can benefit the other and the community. Write up your ideas. Talk with the leadership of your proposed cause marketing partner and see what you can create together that generates benefits for your community. When done right cause marketing programs can build customer loyalty for a business, a revenue stream for a non-profit, and a new way for current – or new donors – to provide financial support during challenging times.

© Copyright Saad & Shaw.  Mel and Pearl Shaw are the owners of Saad & Shaw. They help non-profit organizations and institutions rethink revenue sources. They are the authors of How to Solicit a Gift: Turning Prospects into Donors. Visit them at or call (901) 522-8727

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