Donation communication: Standing out for a cause

It’s Giving Tuesday, 2020: a year that has pushed non-profit organizations to the brink organizationally, and financially.

It’s become a Tramp tradition to use this day to point potential donors toward our causes and clients, who are working hard to make a difference. We also love linking our consumer brand clients to non-profit partnerships because it can be beautiful when mission and commerce work together. But this year, we’re taking a hard look at cause marketing, and whether it makes a difference.

Millennials & Gen Z let social concerns influence how they spend

If you want to catch the attention, and donations, of Gen Z and Millennials, do your research because they do theirs. These groups do speak with their wallets, in some cases choosing not to buy, in others buying specifically to support the mission of an organization.

Our research tells us the Millennial generation cares about (insert issue here) and that Gen Z is even more affected by social concerns when making purchase decisions.

Seventy-seven percent of Gen Z have taken action for a cause that they believe in, and conversely, 23% have boycotted a brand that they disagreed with on issues.

In terms of marketing, especially during a pandemic, aligning your brand with a meaningful cause is a great way to lift your messaging to a new plateau. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate that you stand for something.

Companies like Patagonia, Dove, TOMS, Ben & Jerry’s, and Newman’s Own have structured their marketing around philanthropy and built campaigns designed to further mission as much as brand.

Add a benefit to purchasing through philanthropy and mission

For consumers, it’s a way to do more than just buy, you can have an impact—I mean, the Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinegar says “100% of Profits to Charity” right there on the bottle. How are you going to buy Ken’s Thousand Island? What does Ken’s stand for, beyond perfecting the mix of ketchup and mayo? And before you ask, we checked: no mention of anything in the way of donations on their website, although they probably do some good stuff in Framingham.

On a scale smaller than Yvon Chouinard and Paul Newman, however, there’s a problem.

Too few are aware of these efforts. Brands need to communicate specifics in support of social issues or cause initiatives. And really crow about it.

In a study of 88 brands, only 12% of respondents knew about associations with social causes on platforms. Even when provided with a list of brands and causes, association only reached 24%.

Not being green is going to cost you

We’ve just completed the foundational work for a recycling program that’s been created by the new General Manager of Granite Peak, a destination ski area in Wisconsin. The Green Team is a commitment to cleanliness and recycling that will keep guests safe and reduce waste. Based on the numbers above, Granite will need to dedicate media space, on-property and in the community, for their commitment to the environment to matter beyond their team.

Our own attempt at Awareness Raising: a line of Inactive Wear, designed to encourage staying home during a pandemic, was a partnership with Patagonia purveyors, Fountain Square Outfitters. The line of merchandise turned the notion of venturing out on its head, and tried to make sheltering-in-place feel like a good time. One Hundred percent of the proceeds were donated to the Glens Falls Hospital Foundation, who is currently invested in helping medical first responders in any way that they can.

Fountain Square just sent a donation to the Hospital Foundation in the amount of $2,800.ºº —the profit from our little run of merch. Will that make holiday shoppers flock to FSO? Maybe, if they really make some noise.

Will it lead to more business for Trampoline? Well, that’s the hope. The shirts and hats sold out, we accomplished what we set out to do. All that’s left is to communicate it in a way that demonstrates significance.

And now, because you’ve read this far, and are obviously a good person, dedicated to bettering yourself and others, here are links to some of our favorite nonprofits who sure would love your help to finish out this train wreck of a year.

Go, do awesome stuff, be a part of something bigger than yourself (or your company) and let people know about it. Inspiration can be good for your bottom line, and leading by example is how we can have the biggest impact.