May 29, 2007
Retail-charity ties can cut both waysBy Eileen Alt PowellAssociated Press

Consumers who buy scented pink candles at retailer Pier1 Imports are supporting breast cancer research. Those who purchase bottled Ethos water at Starbucks are funding clean water projects around the globe. The buyers of certain RED products at The Gap are investing in the fight against AIDS in Africa.

Shopping for charity – also known as cause-related marketing – has become an increasingly important way for some philanthropies to raise funds. In most cases, some or all of the money a consumer pays for designated products or services is donated to a charitable organization.

The practice also has become a way for big retailers to suggest they’re good corporate citizens, committed to social causes.

But some experts worry that the trend is sending the wrong message to people about charitable giving.

“There’s no question but that it’s an alternative revenue source for some nonprofits,” said Dwight Burlingame, associate executive director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. And if the campaign has an educational component, it also “can increase the public’s understanding of the nonprofit’s mission,” he said.

“The big negative is the idea that potential donors think that by buying a bottle of water or participating in a particular race … that they’ve done their philanthropy, when only a portion – and often a small portion – of their contribution is going to a cause,” he said.

Read complete article.




Social Connections


Gift Shop Plus Spring 2024 cover
Get one year of Gift Shop Plus in both print and digital editions for just $16.

Interested in reading the print edition of Gift Shop Plus?

Subscribe Today »

website development by deyo designs