Thursday, November 5, 2015

mission based retail

You don't really need a reason to shop.  It's instant gratification, and can be an addiction for some.  Whether it's things you need, things you think you need to have, or a splurge of any size, shopping brings a bit of excitement and fulfillment.  When brands partner with a worthy cause or community, everyone wins.  When done well, the company makes even more money than they would have without that mission based hook, and the organization / cause / philanthropy / community gains much needed support and awareness.

Take Starbucks for example.  Beginning in 2013, the coffee giant pledged to hire 10,000 military veterans and spouses by 2018, and have already surpassed their halfway mark.  They also have more than a dozen "military family" stores, in markets with large military communities, that're run primarily by military veterans and spouses.  In addition to having special recognition on each apron (with an American flag and "military veteran" or "military spouse" under their name), these locations also have a local charity or organization they support that in turn supports local veterans and military families. 

Soma Intimates raises money and awareness for a myriad of women's and children's health organizations, including Children's Miracle Network hospitals, breast cancer awareness, the American Heart Association, and the National Network to End Domestic Violence. 

Cook's heaven Williams-Sonoma supports No Kid Hungry, sharing their strength and the strength of their generous clientele to end childhood hunger in America, by donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of special merchandise and raising cash donations. For the past few years, celebrities and chefs have designed wonderfully whimsical spatulas specifically for the campaign.  A very worth cause - as one in ten children statistically go to school hungry in America. 

mission based retail

Some organizations exist solely to support their own community - like the Navy, Army, and Air Force Exchanges.  Not only do the semi-governmental agencies bring quality goods and services at competitive prices, they also donate a large portion of their profits to the moral, welfare, and recreation of their constituents. 

My favorite mission based retail of all is (RED).  (RED) was founded in 2006 by U2's rockin' front man Bono and the charitable and brilliant Bobby Shriver to get businesses and people involved in the fight against AIDS, particularly in places where the people have no access, education, or resources to fight for their lives. 

The difference between (RED) and other charities, is that it's not a charity - it's a choice.  As a consumer, there are things you already know you're going to buy.  When you choose (RED) products and companies, they're often the same price as non-(RED) items, but profits and donations are made to the organization. 

Today, of the nearly 37 million people in the world living with HIV, nearly 15 million have access to life-saving treatment that costs as little as 30 cents a day. While this is incredible progress, we've still got a lot of work to do to ensure that all those who need medication have access to it.

(RED) was created to help provide a sustainable flow of money from the private sector to fight AIDS. Together, they've raised over $324 million to date through the sale of (RED) products from iconic companies - like Apple and Starbucks – and from (RED) events. And 100% of that money goes to work on the ground.  Because of the progress made in the fight against AIDS, the world is now on the cusp of an incredible possibility – we can deliver the first AIDS FREE GENERATION in over 30 years. Every day 600 babies are born with HIV. Yet with access to antiretroviral treatment, we can prevent the transmission of the virus from moms to babies. Without it, 50% of babies will die before their second birthday.  Only urgency and action will help us achieve the goal. If we act now, an AIDS FREE GENERATION can become a reality. The question is not ‘Can we do it?... It’s ‘Will we do it?’

Use your buying power for good.  Turn your dollars into sense.

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