Sign up for our monthly Lifestyle newsletter for entertainment news, healthy living tips and more.
by Sid Kirchheimer, AARP Bulletin, December 18, 2009
Q. It seems that more retailers have charity-related discounts this holiday shopping season. Is this altruism or savvy marketing?
A. It’s both. With consumers expected to spend less this season, both on holiday gifts and donations to charity, more retailers are running promotions tied to charities “and putting more focus on communicating those efforts to their customers,” says Ellen Davis of the National Retail Federation, an industry trade group.
Such “cause-related marketing” campaigns typically involve the retailer donating a portion of what shoppers spend to specific charities. This year, some are also rewarding customers with coupons or future rebates.
Whether or not they’re getting a price break, shoppers get to feel good after making effortless donations to worthy causes. Charities win by getting money in an economy where contributions have decreased. And stores may benefit most of all. They get a hefty tax deduction for the donations, an increase in store traffic, and good publicity. Also, even though “there’s no indication these programs increase sales,” Davis says, “they likely do increase customer loyalty toward that retailer.”
The programs include:
• Macy’s Thanks for Sharing campaign earns the shopper a 10 percent reward on purchases made through Dec. 31, with a rebate card issued in February. But it requires a $25 enrollment fee, of which $10 goes to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the American Heart Association and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
• Mandee’s Soles4Souls provides a coupon for 20 percent off one item in exchange for an in-store donation of a pair of gently worn shoes through Dec. 24.
• Target donates $2 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with the purchase of its store-redeemable GiftCoins through Dec. 24.
• Toys “R” Us continues to seek cash and merchandise donations for its Toys for Tots program, but this year it will also donate $1 worth of toys for any person who becomes a “fan” at Facebook.com/Toyrsrus or Facebook.com/Babiesrus through Dec. 24.
Sid Kirchheimer writes about health and consumer issues.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Up to 25% off device and online privacy protection plans
Help from experts & resources to get started
No-fee personal loans
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
You'll start receiving the latest news, benefits, events, and programs related to AARP's mission to empower people to choose how they live as they age.
You can also manage your communication preferences by updating your account at anytime. You will be asked to register or log in.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at