Tag Archives: Cause Marketing

The Buy-One-Give-One Business Model: Does it Work?

9 Jan

This is a guest post by Edgar Frohme.

The term BOGO once referred to consumers getting an item for free after they made a similar purchase. This drove customers to stores and websites because it made them feel like they were getting a great deal. However, a new form of BOGO has developed in which consumers themselves aren’t receiving the benefit from the purchase, rather, it’s donated. Now BOGO commonly refers to buy-one-give-one and rewards consumers by donating a good to those in need. While this seems like a better, altruistic alternative to traditional BOGO, does it work? The answer depends upon whom you ask.

Is BOGO Feasible?

As any good businessperson would want to know, how do BOGO programs affect revenue? By initiating a BOGO program, business owners are essentially obliging themselves to a future debt when a good is purchased. Before any BOGO program is started, it’s advised to investigate how this will affect the company’s cash flow. This may be easier for some than others.

hand holding the heart. charity

Using services such as American Express cash flow, which allows business owners more flexibility on when and how money is spent and paid back, make BOGO simpler to implement. Cash-flow services provide business owners with the opportunity to use BOGO programs without worrying about the financial commitment they’re making to customers and those receiving charitable gifts.

The most widely recognized success story with BOGO is that of Tom’s Shoes, which donates a pair of shoes for every pair of shoes bought. More than 2 million shoes have been given across the world, and Tom’s Shoes has become a chic choice for those wanting to help others. However, this business model has come under fire recently when it was learned that, while this program is profitable for Tom’s and well meaning, it might have negative effects. Charitable gifts abroad can have a distorting effect on developing markets by undermining local business and creating an unsustainable aid-based economy.

3 Questions to Consider When Developing a BOGO Program.

What’s the Local Market? – If the GO of BOGO improperly skews the market for a good, it may do harm. Undercutting local manufacturers and retailers who earn a living from those products has a net negative effect on the local community.

What’s the Production Chain of the BOGO Company? – Many times, a more-positive effect can come when the supply chain comes to the community. Sourcing materials and manufacturing not only puts money in the pockets of the local community but also provide much-needed skills.

Does the Product Solve a Root Cause of the Problem? – Temporary relief is appreciated and valuable but does not address the overarching problems present in a community. Charitable gifts should be centered on a sustainable, long-lasting way to support an impoverished part of the world.

BOGO programs are a net benefit for business, consumers and those they help only with proper forethought. By investigating what possible effects a BOGO program will have on recipients, business owners can confidently use these programs to create a win-win-win situation.

Social Good Stars: @Causecast CEO Ryan Scott on the Future of Cause Marketing #nptech

29 Mar
This article originally appears on The Huffington Post.
Amy Neumann

Writer, Speaker; Social Media Consultant

Social Good Stars: Causecast CEO Ryan Scott on the Future of Cause Marketing

This is the seventh installment of the Impact series, #SocialGoodStars. The people highlighted here are passionate, dedicated philanthropists, strengths to their communities, and social media masters. They also happily share their vast knowledge with others, making them shine as leaders in the Social Good world. You can read the sixth interview with Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark here.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” -Theodore Roosevelt

Ryan Scott, CEO of Causecast, is a visionary idealist with a plan. He is a successful entrepreneur and thinker; a humanist and a philanthropist; and an investor and adviser to many interesting companies and charities. Also, he co-founded two of my favorite sections of the Huffington Post: Impact, and Education. His passion for doing the right thing — like not charging nonprofits a cent to use Causecast’s platform to help their cause — has helped spur global growth in cause marketing and its effectiveness. As a leader in the cause marketing field, he has some inspiring and thought-provoking insights into the future of Social Good.

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Photo courtesy of Causecast.com.You are widely regarded as the “Father of Opt-In Email Marketing.” You gave people an additional voice and freedom (to opt-in, or not) before people even asked. How did that affect your charity vision?

Opt-in was the result of my sense of social justice. We have the technology to ask people to subscribe rather than spam them and force them to opt-out – or in the case of the postal world, just spam them without regard for whether or not they want to get off the list. We have the technology for mass customization so what is the excuse for not using it? We can do direct marketing in an ethical way on the internet, and in fact we have to, so let’s do it.

My charity vision comes from that same sense of social justice. We ask nonprofits to solve the world’s toughest problems with a challenging business model. As a society, we reward selling sugar water far more than we reward building wells. This perverse incentive does nothing to solve the issue of lack of clean water, but it creates the altogether new problem of obesity. Clearly this is not sustainable. Capitalism can and must be better leveraged to help nonprofits do their work. It’s just too powerful of a force to ignore. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to harness the power of capitalism and by vastly improving this mutually beneficial partnership we will start to actually solve the world’s most pressing problems.
As a proponent of environmentalism and social justice, what social media platforms have jumped out at you as far as helping there?

The major social networks and publishing platforms can have a huge impact on social awareness and change. I can’t point to just one — as a marketer you have to use them all for their strengths. Unfortunately this is not one of those questions that has an easy solution.

You are active with many organizations, including Keiretsu Forum, the President’s Council of Planned Parenthood, the Long Now Foundation, and the Methuselah Foundation, among others. Are there trends you’ve seen online that have helped with expanding these causes?

Developments in the online world have increased the capacity of nonprofits and opened up new possibilities. For example, at Causecast we introduced free donation processing, which makes giving far less costly, and the ability for nonprofits to participate in workplace giving programs of corporations, also for free. But there are also pitfalls to online cause innovations. There is so much noise online, and it can be easy to create an app that is too difficult for NPOs to follow. Worse, I’ve seen some cause marketing campaigns where the brands are getting much more value than the nonprofit partners. I’ve seen many smaller nonprofits spend valuable time promoting a brand but competing against far more popular nonprofits, giving them no hope of winning. The time spent promoting the brand would have been better spent honing their core fundraising skills. Luckily there a lot of exceptions to this, for example Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program in which all participating organizations walk away with something for their time, and organizations are paired with other organizations of similar size, making it more fair.
What other trends do you think nonprofits can leverage right now to help advance their message?

Workplace giving and volunteer programs are becoming a critical aspect of employee engagement, which is an essential key to employee recruitment and retention. Traditional corporate philanthropy only goes so far — companies need to get their entire workforce involved in order to make a difference, and nonprofits should make sure that they’re exposed to employee-based streams of fundraising and volunteerism. When employees get involved with nonprofits as a part of workplace programs, everyone benefits — nonprofits, the engaged employees and corporate bottom lines. That’s why Causecast developed a technology platform to help nonprofits connect with business workforces.


Social good marketing gets a lot of positive coverage these days. Do you feel it’s a win/win for brands and nonprofits? How do consumers/donors benefit from these social good partnerships?

It’s always a good thing when the private sector supports the public sector, no matter what the reasons. But cause marketing can feel like just that — marketing — if it’s not backed up by authentic engagement by the employees of the company.
Where do you see “Social Good/Cause Marketing” heading in the next two years?

Cause marketing is clearly the future of marketing. In fact, when you see that 90% of consumers will switch brands to one that supports a cause, you quickly realize that all marketing will be cause marketing. Despite some attempts at causewashing, it’s here to stay.

As you can tell, I’m really excited about employee cause engagement or workplace giving and volunteering. In fact, I predict all cause marketing campaigns will ultimately be launched to the public from within the workplace, by the employees of the corporation, not solely from the marketing department. Because what, after all, is the heart and soul of a company? Its staff. If they pick the nonprofits the company should support, if they are involved in crafting and promoting the campaign, it’s as authentic as it can be.

Soon, and this is our most active area of development, we’ll see companies competing with each other to make the most positive social change. I can’t think of a better reason to be hopeful for the future than that.

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Ryan Scott, CEO of Causecast.Learn more about Ryan Scott on LinkedIn, and follow him on Twitter @ryan_scott.

Amy Neumann is a social entrepreneur, writer, speaker and consultant on social good marketing. Check out her Charity Ideas Blog and follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas.

Follow Amy Neumann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CharityIdeas

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