Nov 9, 2005

Charity donations at the POS

Have you noticed a growing trend in corporate sponsorship and charity donations? You see it at The Body Shop with their signs next to the POS inviting customers to donate to The Body Shop Foundation and other organizations. It was immediately visible at retailers all across Asia right after the tsunami, where some companies even matched donations given by their customers. HSBC allows customers to make donations to charities at its ATM machines and mobile operators let subscribers donate money by sending an SMS. To help banks put together these types of promotions quickly, MasterCard recently created a special program to automate fundraising for cardholder-chosen non-profit organizations.

The goodwill generated from being involved in charities can strengthen a brand and give it a warmer, more human touch. The company that excels in this the most is probably The Body Shop. How many customers shop at The Body Shop specifically because they know that the company’s products are not tested on animals and that a portion of profits are systematically donated to charities?

The increase in donations at the POS following the tsunami showed that customers like doing business with merchants that match the customer’s donations. This is a great way for a customer to boost the impact of his or her charitable actions. It is also a great opportunity for banks to offer a richer payment experience, for example by using the credit or debit card receipt to show the total cumulative amount that has been donated on each customer’s behalf. Once the customer decides to participate and switches to “donor mode”, there is nothing else to do. Just use the card and look at the receipt to see donations add up. All very convenient and painless.

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