People would rather do business with companies that support causes they believe in. So why not show your customers that you’re giving back to their favorite charities? Organizing a text message charity campaign lets your corporate halo shine.
The phrase “corporate halo” was coined by marketing expert Marti Barletta, author of Marketing to Women. She defines it as “the sum of a company’s acts of social responsibility and community citizenship for the benefit of the whole community.” The corporate halo is particularly important when marketing to women, Barletta says, because 85% of women say that one of their main ambitions is to make the world a better place.
With a text-for-charity campaign, your business can do well by doing good. It’s a way to let your customers know that your company cares about helping people… and in the depths of the Great Recession, getting that particular message across is more important than ever. Plus, you’re helping your customers help other people as well, which makes them feel better about themselves. How can they not want to work with a company that makes them feel good?
Then there’s the fact that a good text-for-charity campaign actually can provide a lot of help and raise a lot of money. Back in 2007, before text message marketing was really considered mainstream, Virgin Mobile launched a text-for-charity campaign to support homeless children. Within the first six months they received over 84,000 donations… particularly impressive considering they were a month-to-month service provider!
So how do you organize a charity texting campaign? You’ve got three basic options. First, you can pick one charity and create an ongoing campaign. Second, you can have a “charity-of-the-month” campaign. And third, you can let your customers pick the campaign.
The first and simplest campaign is to pick a charity and stick with it. Ideally, you’d choose one that is important to you or to your company. Aside from the personal satisfaction of arranging a stream of donations, this allows you to put a more human face on your business. So a realtor might donate to Habitat for Humanity, while a business owner whose parent died of lung cancer might choose to campaign for the American Lung Association. If you choose this type of campaign, you will definitely want to explain to your customers why you picked that particular charity… a personal letter from the CEO prominently posted to your website is ideal.
The second option, to campaign for a different charity each month, is somewhat less personal but will appeal to a wider range of customers. You can make up your own charity list or use the National Charity Council’s calendar. Setting a fund-raising goal is a great idea for these limited-time campaigns – it motivates people to participate and to get their friends involved if they know you are trying to raise X dollars for their favorite charity within the next two weeks.
The third option, letting your customers choose the charity, can start with a voting campaign. You give your customers an opportunity to vote on which charity they want to support, with the understanding that each vote constitutes a donation, and then either the winning charity gets all the donations or you parcel them out by percentage of votes received. You’ll also have the option of staging a new vote after a while to pick a different charity or group of charities. The competitive element of a voting campaign really gets customers interested and involved, but it takes more time and effort on your part to set up.
In all of the above cases, promote your text-for-charity campaign as much as you can. Social media is a great way to keep people up-to-date on how much you’ve raised. Don’t neglect your mobile website, either… many of your customers will drop by your site after sending their donation, so post regularly on how much you’ve raised and how grateful you are to your customers.
Just letting the world know that you’re conducting a charitable effort will boost your company’s reputation. It’s a perfect way to get more people opted in to your text marketing lead lists. And you can get your customers and prospects actively involved with your company.