Have you heard of the (Red) Campaign? You have probably seen them partnering with huge organizations like GAP, American Express & Motorola. Basically the way the campaign works is you buy a (Red) product and they donate a percentage of that sale to the (Red) Campaign. They have received some negative press recently and I wanted to hear from you what your take on it is. For more details read:
The February 6, New York Times article
Joe Waters’, Selfish Giving, recent post
Susan Hyatt’s The Business Coach, Posting 1, 2, 3
One argument is that these organizations are spending more money marketing these products than they are giving money to Africa. Many say that shopping as a response to human suffering is disrespectful. Businesses need to be careful about how and why they get involved in cause marketing. I agree many businesses could do a lot more than they already are and that more money could be given than already is. It is important that businesses are transparent about how much they are actually giving.
Cause marketing is about more than just financial donation it is about raising awareness. The amount of air time, publicity, and recognition that (Red) has received is invaluable for The Global Fund. If no money was ever donated many charities will spend millions of dollars to receive the community recognition that (Red) has provided. Is shopping for a (Red) product disrespectful? If buying a (Red) product is all that you do and you think you are making a radical difference, maybe.
Ben Davis has started a movement called Buy (Less) CRAP and his idea is that instead of buying a computer to benefit Africa you should give directly to the non-profit and then all the money goes to the charity instead of just a percentage. Great idea, if we want to make a difference in our giving lets give to the source. However, we need computers, we need shirts, we need credit cards. Why not make a difference when I’m purchasing an every day product that I need in addition to my other giving.
Why did this issue make people so mad? I think that there is a larger question here. The problems in the world are bigger than our answers and often times we have a feeling of guilt that comes with our inability to save a life or make a difference. I’d love to talk to you more about the response I’ve found—send me an email and we can chat offline.