(Photo by Roland. Flickr, Creative Commons)
It's that time of year again - giving season. Time to play: What is your favorite embedded giving experience of 2009?!*
While being asked to donate a dollar for [name your cause here] has become a year-round experience for anyone who a) shops at a store b) searches online or c) leaves their house, the "opportunity" to round up your bill for a good cause should present itself even more frequently in the mad dash to Christmas shopping that is the next 8 weeks. And shoppers this holiday season will no doubt have endless opportunities to choose between "Sweater A" and "Sweater B - the one that will save the polar bears."
After all, the $1.55 billion that companies are expected to spend on cause marketing (a 2% increase over 2008) is one of the few areas of charity-related spending that will show any increase in 2009.** NOTE: that is what will get spent on the marketing, not the amount that will go to good causes. It is notable that one can find very detailed predictions of the value of companies' spending on embedded giving but almost no data on how much money charities raised through these promotions.
So, let's get those stories rolling. Got a story about how many times you were asked to give in one shopping trip? Ever asked the cashier where the money really goes and gotten a particularly mind-boggling answer that you'd like to share? Or have you found a really odd partnership (pet food store and homeless person shelter? Electronic gadget and global warming prevention?) that made you scratch your head? Please send them in via the comments section, twitter (@p2173) or via email [lucy at blueprintrd dot com]. In true crowdsource fashion I'll collect them, post them, and let you - the readers - vote on them. Heck - I'll even let you the readers choose the categories for the voting - Most absurd? Biggest ripoff? Most asks in one day? You name it - I'll track it here in the first ever Embedded Giving challenge.
*Just to be clear: I think embedded giving is a ripoff. It puts far too many steps between donor and recipient, we have terribly lax reporting standards on what money is raised and where it actually goes, and the one true effect of this kind of giving is for an individual donor to give away their tax deduction to a company. I've been involved in the debate about embedded giving for years - you can read most of my blog posts on it here. I'll say it outright - I'm not promoting embedded giving as an effective donation practice. Still, if this post is like any of its predecessors I will get bombarded with emails from embedded giving platforms asking me to promote their version/product/tool.
**Source: IEG (sponsorship.com), reported on MediaPost, August 18, 2009. http://www.mediapost.com/publications/