Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia

YOU, the cash register fundraiser

In Uncategorized on September 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm


“Buy a leaf?” “Rent a paper tent?” “Sign a butterfly?” “Make your coffee count?”

If YOU have shopped at major retailers in the past year, chances are YOU have been asked at the checkout to donate a dollar or two, to support a charity. Guiltily, YOU did or did not; or maybe YOU replied with a firm YES! or a firm NO! Either way, it has become clear in the past couple of years that charities and stores are partnering quicker than a printer can print out paper cut-outs, and faster than then the marker supplier can ship sharpies to the register for you to sign your name – all in the name of philanthropy.

As a fundraiser, have YOU thought about cash register donations? Since the donation is processed through the stores cash register, it’s safer than a donation box on the counter; and with a large chain supporting you by facilitating the donations, charity name awareness is quite high. There are critics and there is customer backlash about being asked too often, but the return on investment in a cash register campaign (low-cost to run, very little staff time to manage) can be seen to outweigh the negative for some. Each donor (potential or active) has their reasons why they support/don’t support all kinds of solicitations, and I respect that. My purpose here is for YOU the fundraiser, to consider how YOU are handling a cash register solicitation campaign.

As a fundraiser with this kind of campaign in my work plan, I disclose, that I do support them (I support them as a donor as well). And I feel that while the donation channel doesn’t allow you to speak – reach out – to donors, it still needs to be treated like a donor relationship.

My thoughts:
1. If the partnership is handled right, it opens the door to education sessions for retail operators and staff.  Reach out to the local retail outlets that are selling you at the registers. Staff should be given the opportunity to learn about the charity they are asking each customer to support, to understand where the money will go. (Think about the amount of times they will have to ask, “Would you like to donate a dollar to charity x and sign this widget?”) With no connection/information to the cause, you can imagine how many might not want to ask/might barely be audible when they ask.

2. If YOU can’t speak at a staff meeting, can you speak to management? Get them pumped about the cause and about supporting their employees and shoppers.

3. Be clear to your charities supporters, that you have entered a partnership with this retailer. They may want to go and support, they may say thank you to the retailer, they may not donate at the register at all, but they may call you and ask questions about why you are in the partnership. A transparent relationship with your donor for anything that you do, is always the goal.

4. Thank them. Thank them. Thank them. Call during the non-busy time of day that industry faces (if it’s a restaurant, first thing in the morning, not at lunch and not during the supper rush).

5. End the campaign with sharing results. Write a thank you card, a letter, visit the store and speak to the store employees who facilitated the transaction between shopper becoming a donor.

As a shopper, YOU may wonder: “how much of an impact does my dollar actually make?” Here at the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, each September your dollar donated towards a Coffee Cup Cut Out at Bulk Barn or Kent, combined with all the other shoppers turned donors – helps a lot. In one month, the partnership between shopper+retail outlet+charity equals a little over twenty thousand dollars, all of which stays in our province to help maintain the community initiatives we offer.

Continuing this week, our cash register donation partner, the Bulk Barn, will be asking each customer to make a donation, to write their name on a Coffee Cup Cut Out, and will post it in their storefront windows or on the walls.  But on Friday, September 21, it is World Alzheimer’s Day and the company will match each donation; upping the ante in a crowded market. Now the company isn’t just a delivery system to help receive funds, but they are showing corporate social responsibility of supporting not just the charity, but their employees who spend the month asking and most importantly, their customers who donate.

Thank you Bulk Barn and Kent, for your support in your stores during the Coffee Break Cut Out Campaign.

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