Transparency and Security in Giving

When we really think about how far technology has come in the last ten years, it’s easy to get caught in a state of awe.  Self driving cars, voice assistants, a laundry folding robot(?!), the list goes on. Your computer now saves all of your passwords, you can deposit a check from your phone, and pay your friend back for coffee via an app. With all the data being exchanged in the cyber world, it’s important to know who you are trusting with your information and to be educated on their security practices. The same goes with giving to a nonprofit.

Don’t get us wrong, we love technology at DoTopia. After all, we are a  DIGITAL giving platform.

Whether you use our technology to give or if you donate through other means, here area few tips for giving safely online.

OR you can use our platform and we do all of the work for you.

Enter your personal giving account

You can search for your nonprofit of choice, give and keep track of all donations in one spot – your personal giving account. Your donation can either recognize you or be anonymous and there is opportunity to also leave a note to accompany your gift. You can also set up recurring donations to your favorite nonprofits. We make it easy!

Most of the nonprofits (1.6 million) on our platform are 501(c)(3) organizations. 501(c)(3) means a nonprofit organization that has been recognized by the IRS as being tax-exempt by virtue of its charitable programs.

DoTopia also operates secure data networks sheltered by industry standard firewall and password protection.

The next time you want to donate to an organization online, take a step back, review the safety tips, and consider all your options. DoTopia has your back.

Customer using DoDollars

7 Ways to Use DoDollars® with Your Customers

It’s no secret that companies are needing to step up their customer experience in order to acquire new customers and keep existing. Market competition increases by the second and businesses are looking for unique, engaging, and authentic opportunities to win over the loyalty of one of their most important (if not the most important) assets.

Enter: Philanthromarketing® .

Philanthromarketing is the act of inspiring prosocial experiences to grow good together. By utilizing two key initiatives (philanthropy + marketing) that are currently driving industries of all kinds, DoTopia enables brands to set themselves apart from the competition through acts of giving.

By putting the power of giving in your customers’ hands, you can promote your brand authentically and maximize your philanthropic reach within your community. Our partners do this through the power of DoDollars®, our philanthropic digital currency.

There are multiple ways brands can utilize DoDollars to personalize customer touchpoints. Take a look below.

7 Ways to Use DoDollars with Your Customers

7 Ways to Use DoDollars with Your Customers   7 Ways to Use DoDollars with Your Customers

7 Ways to Use DoDollars with Your Customers 7 Ways to Use DoDollars with Your Customers 7 Ways to Use DoDollars with Your Customers

Partner with DoTopia today to engage your customers and drive loyalty through giving. Everyone wins!

P.S. you can check out 7 ways to use DoDollars in your workplace here.

The Best Cause Marketing Campaigns from Super Bowl 52

Earlier this month, our great city of Minneapolis hosted Super Bowl 52 and welcomed a million visitors to partake in the festivities. While most of us look forward to the tv ads during the game (is there actually a game on?), local companies were able to create engaging events throughout the city for people to partake in with hopes of leaving a lasting impact. It is no surprise to us that many companies decided to launch cause marketing campaigns in order to stand out and engage with visitors. People like to see companies do good, and the super bowl is an excellent stage for raising awareness.

A few of our favorite cause marketing campaigns came from 3M, Target, US Bank & Mono.

  • 3M engaged in a series of initiatives, including a Legacy Fund offering grants to three Minnesota towns to promote a “healthier, more active future for kids.”

  • US Bank accepted American Red Cross donations through its ATMs during the 10 days leading up to Super Bowl Sunday and launched its “Future Leaders” program honoring an inaugural class of college students highlighting “three incredible young people in the state of Minnesota” who “exemplify what we think future leadership will be.”

  • Target provided a $300,000 capital grant and support to create a Wellness Hub providing free access to workout equipment, fitness and cooking classes at the People’s Center Clinics and Services in Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. The whole mission is to make sure once the event is gone there is a long-term impact on the community.

Mono

We had the opportunity to connect with the brains behind the idea, local agency, Mono, and learn more about their cause marketing campaign connecting cold visitors and children in need with a hat delivery service. All proceeds went to charity Operation Warm.

What sparked your idea to do a social good/cause marketing campaign for the super bowl?

As a creative agency in Minneapolis, we wanted to participate in the Super Bowl in some way. From the very get go, however, we decided that whatever we did should solve some sort of problem or promote some good, knowing that there would be so much happening that was focused simply on commerce and entertainment. Starting with that as our focus, we recognized that many of the 1 million visitors arriving to the city would not be prepared for the extreme cold temperatures, and were struck with an idea to help solve a problem for visitors while also helping provide warm winter wear for children in the community.

How did you choose what organization you wanted to support?

We literally started searching the internet for a partner that would be willing to work with us to help us donate coats for kids. Operation Warm is a national organization, but operates locally which was important to us because we wanted to specifically impact our surrounding community. And, importantly they were great partners who we easy to work with and helped us achieve our goals quickly.

What was your distribution process for the hats? What was the reception you received among the community?

We created a mobile-first Uber/Lyft like functionality. When interested people in downtown Minneapolis visited our site to order a hat, they were able to drop a pin at their location and we were able to deliver the hats in 45 minutes or less to their precise location via bike messenger. A key part of the experience was that the hats arrived in a heated case, like a pizza delivery, hot and toasty. The response simply blew us away. We sold out of our supply within 24 hours of operation and received over 1,200 emails from people all over the country wanting to order the hat. We were able to get some additional supply of hats due to the demand, and that inventory sold out in a matter of hours.

Would love for you to share any results from hat sales? How much have you been able to raise for Operation Warm so far?

Given it was such a small operation over a short duration, we’re happy to say that we were able to donate 520 coats for kids.

Do you think cause marketing campaigns will become the new expectation in advertising campaigns, or just another avenue for raising awareness about your company?

It’s been proven that almost any case, people would choose to support a company that is doing something to promote good in our society over one that is doing nothing. With that said however, cause marketing needs to be a thoughtful part of any company’s marketing or advertising. You can’t simply co-opt a cause, you need to invest in the long term in a real and meaningful way in order for cause marketing to truly drive brand affinity and loyalty.

We. Love. This.

Stories like these warm our hearts and inspire us to keep doing good, wherever we can. That is why we partner with companies to create inspiring, authentic and engaging cause marketing campaigns. These campaigns align with company values and foster employee and customer loyalty. Connect with DoTopia and let us help your company do good, better.

Also, you don’t have to be a large corporation with a massive marketing budget to do good. A local woman from Edina created a campaign to collect winter clothing items that visitors may not need when they return home. All items were given to homeless people in need.

When Profitability Meets Philanthropy: Leading Brands Who Do Good

You’ve heard us say time and time again, it’s possible to be profitable and philanthropic. But, you don’t just have to take our word for it (don’t worry, we didn’t think you would). Now more than ever it is critical for companies to step up and support charitable causes. Not only is it good (duh), but consumers and employees are demanding it. In case you need more convincing, the experts at CONE communication have the stats:

  • 63% of Americans are hopeful businesses will take the lead to drive social and environmental change moving forward, in the absence of government regulation
  • 78% want companies to address important social justice issues
  • 87% will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about
  • 76% will refuse to purchase a company’s products or services upon learning it supported an issue contrary to their belief

We also rounded out this post with some of our company crushes who have dedicated a significant amount of their power (and pockets) to making the world a better place.

Gilead Sciences

Gilead’s giving jumped by nearly two-thirds in 2015, due to rising revenues as the biotech firm expanded into the Hepatitis C market. Most of the company’s grants are reactive, based on specific funding requests from nonprofit groups. Most giving falls within its work on HIV/AIDS and liver disease. For example, last year Gilead granted $2-million to help the nonprofit Liver Foundation build a health facility in Kolkata, India.

Walmart

Last year, the retail giant pledged $100 million to advance economic mobility for retail workers. That commitment includes a $10.9 million grant to nonprofit workforce organizations. This money will help implement career services specific to retail. In addition, Walmart (WMT, +0.29%) helps the anti-hunger charity, Feeding America, distribute fresh produce to people in need by donating food, providing refrigerated trucks, and pairing its logistics experts with the organization.

Bank of America

Like many financial firms, Bank of America (BAC, +0.38%) sharpened its focus on basic needs and economic mobility following the 2008 recession. Last year, it spent just shy of $50 million on workforce education, $33 million on community development, and $33 million on hunger and other urgent needs. During the winter holiday season, Bank of America runs a marketing campaign to raise money and awareness for the anti-hunger group Feeding America. For every dollar that customers give online to the group via Bank of America portals, the company contributes $2. Employees get two hours off per week to volunteer.

Alphabet (Google)

Thanks to Sheryl Sandberg who helped establish Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, Google is a clear leader in corporate philanthropy. With recent grants of $2.4 million to GiveDirectly, a nonprofit that provides direct cash aid to the poor; $750,000 (plus engineering assistance) to help Perkins School for the Blind develop a “micronavigation app” based on crowdsourced data; and $1-million to the Equal Justice Initiative, a group led by lawyer Bryan Stevenson that advocates for criminal-justice reform. Aside from grants, Google.org believes in the power of volunteering and encouraging employees to do so. Last fall, employees helped install wifi along refugee routes in Europe.

Microsoft

Microsoft (MSFT, -0.18%) is aligning its giving around its business assets. Last year, the Redmond, Wash.-based company appointed Mary Snapp, who previously served as Microsoft’s deputy general counsel, to help strengthen its relationships with nonprofits and find new ways to use employees’ tech skills for social benefit. For example, the company has invited charity leaders to pitch ideas for hackathons where Microsoft engineers can solve data and tech problems for social good. Longstanding Microsoft programs match employee volunteer time with $25 in cash per hour, and enable engineers to teach computer science in high schools.

Target

Like its business operations, Target’s philanthropy is getting a facelift. As the retailer trims the number of product offerings to customers, Target is also focusing its giving on one area where the business is also doubling down: wellness. As one of its first projects, Target (TGT, +0.05%) partnered with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to develop an education-oriented activity bracelet that will both raise money for the charity and be distributed for free in schools. The transformation comes after Target completed a five-year commitment in 2015 to provide $1 billion in cash and products for U.S. education.

General Mills

The Minneapolis-based food company looks for aid opportunities where its strengths intersect with community needs. It supports Partners in Food Solutions, a nonprofit that seeks to help small processors in Africa produce high-quality, safe food. Approximately 180 company employees volunteered with the group in 2015. Additionally, General Mills’ (GIS, -0.21%) largest cash grants that year included $4.4 million to the Greater Twin Cities United Way, to match employee giving; $1.2 million to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation, to support youth nutrition; and $1.2 million to the humanitarian group CARE USA. That’s a lotta dough (and we aren’t talking about the white fluffy kind).

Zappos

The retail site Zappos has long donated a percentage of its products, which include clothes and shoes, to nonprofits. That’s not all. The company allows employees to take paid time off to volunteer and has hosted numerous charitable events, such as Operation Glass Slipper, which provides prom clothes for girls who cannot afford them.  

SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey Contribute rewards users for taking surveys by making a charitable donation to a participating charity of the user’s choice at no charge. So far, SurveyMonkey Contribute has raised more than $5 million in donations for a variety of charities, including Doctors Without Borders, American Red Cross and The Humane Society of the United States. At DoTopia, we can’t help but appreciate the choice SurveyMonkey is giving their customers. Personalization is our game, glad to see it is working for this high powered brand as well.

Hopefully all this goodness inspired you to think about your workplace giving and cause marketing programs. We encourage you to design beyond your company goals and look into the eyes of your employees and customers – what inspires them? Give them a say in your giving. If you need additional resources, start with our Guide to Giving to learn how your organization can inspire brand affinity through giving with your most valuable assets, employees and customers.  

Philanthromarketing Movement

Join the Philanthromarketing™ Movement Today!

We live in a constant state of consumer. Whether it is social, digital, or print communications, it is impossible to hide from impetuous marketers who want us to buy their products. Often times, we buy solely based on what these marketers think we should have, not necessarily what products make sense for us as individuals.

Marketing Meet Philanthropy

In order to grab attention and drive action, marketing needs personalization. It needs inspiration, individualization and impact. Philanthropy, meet marketing. At DoTopia, we think these two are a match made in heaven and have the results to prove it.

Philanthromarketing™ is the act of inspiring prosocial experiences to grow good together. By utilizing two key initiatives that are currently driving industries of all kinds, we enable brands to set themselves apart from the competition through acts of giving.

Employee Giving in the Workplace

A substantial amount of workplaces are made up of generations that not only want but demand impact. It’s nearly impossible to go a full day without coming across an article, post or tweet about both Millennials and Gen Z values. By creating powerful giving initiatives through customer and employee engagement, our clients inspire loyalty with their most valued assets by giving their customers and employees the power of choice in supporting the charities they care about.

We don’t favor one charity over another (that would be completely against any of our values). As long as the organizations are a registered 501(c)3 they can be added to our giving platform and join the movement of over 1.6 million charities on our platform.

At DoTopia, we believe a giving world is a better world. By inspiring prosocial experiences through giving, we all grow good together.

Help us spread the Joy of Giving today! #Philanthromarketing

Box Tops

Disrupting the Win-Win of Box Tops for Education

General Mills has long been one of the most philanthropic companies in the world.  In 1996, they were ahead of their time in developing the Box Tops for Education™ program.  The idea was simple, General Mills wanted to develop a way to support education in conjunction with their brands.  

How it Works

What General Mills came up with was a philanthropic coupon. This coupon, also known as a Box Top, is attached to their product’s packages in 10 cent units. Consumers cut out, collect and send to the school of their choice. The schools collect box tops, send them in and receive checks from General Mills twice a year. Box Tops have expanded beyond General Mills’ products and have earned schools over $800 million.

Box Tops provide a very low cost in advertising (10 cents to be exact) while creating a Give Back connection in the consumer’s mind. They equate purchasing General Mills (and other Box Tops participating brands) to supporting their schools. This drives loyalty. While perusing the grocery aisle, parents are much more likely to select box tops brands because of the added benefits. The additional revenue that the sales bring in far outweighs the cost to support the school. Box Tops drive incremental revenue and the brands participating can tell the world about their philanthropic education programs. All of this happens while increasing their bottom line.

Is it still Win-Win?

There are obvious benefits for the schools who receive box tops. Any money received through Box Tops for Education goes directly to improving the quality of their school. In turn, General Mills and other brands receive impactful pro-social marketing benefits paired with consumer loyalty.

We are all about ‘Give to Education’, but there are downsides to the Box Tops for Education™ programs. First of all, there’s some work involved. Cutting out these little pieces of cardboard, collecting them to a point where the money is meaningful and delivering them to school can be laborious for some. On the education end, each participating school needs a ‘coordinator’ who collects the box tops, sends them in for redemption and tracks to ensure that a check is received.  Yes, there are online ways to earn box tops, but the majority are still cut outs of physical packaging (just like in the good old days).

Enter PhilanthroMarketing™

We know what you’re thinking: There’s got to be a better way to do this, right? Ding, ding we have a winner! What Box Tops for Education™ has done is lay the foundation for PhilanthroMarketing™.  PhilanthroMarketing™ is defined as marketing inspiring pro-social experiences to grow good in the world.

The need and benefit of these philanthropic models is growing by the day. Brands like Toms and Warby Parker utilize a Get One, Give One approach while companies such as Suburu reward customers with philanthropic gifts after they purchase or lease a car.  This is the ultimate win-win for the business world: Drive sales AND make the world a better place.

At DoTopia, we drive the PhilanthroMarketing™ movement by inspiring individual acts of giving. We partner with brands to spark customer and employee loyalty by leveraging DoDollars. By utilizing DoDollars, brands reap the benefits of the Box Tops program while reducing work and increasing choice beyond education. This aligns perfectly with the new workplace/marketplace’s (Millennials and Gen Z) need for choice and social impact in all aspects of their lives.

Join the PhilanthroMarketing™ movement today!

loyalty programs

What Will Replace Checkout Charity?

The days of big box retailers raising significant funds from checkout transactions may be coming to an end.  Not only are shoppers spending more time and money online versus in-store, but the retail industry as a whole has seen a consistent decline in sales. In fact, over 50 retailers could file for bankruptcy in 2017.  With the majority of retailers facing financial instability, are Give Back programs also on the chopping block?

The math is simple: fewer big box stores + low customer engagement = decrease in donations to corporate non-profit partners, right? We don’t think so. It’s on us to come up with a Plan B.

The solution is not to cut corporate social responsibility programs.

If anything, it is more important for companies to focus their social impact to attract and retain valuable customers and employees.

It’s been said time and time again, today’s workforce and customers want to make the world a better place. They value impact, personalization and invest in brands with a strong social standing. These generations must feel engaged and know that their time, energy AND money is contributing to something bigger than themselves. What’s the solution here?

This is where DoTopia shines. We make positive social impact easy. With DoTopia, you will spark a strong sense of employee and customer engagement by utilizing our powerful giving platform. We put the act and choice of giving in the hands of the individual. Every single act of giving is celebrated and important at DoTopia.

Still not convinced?

26 experts weighed in on what they believe will replace Check Out charity.

We were definitely digging what they had to say. Here are a few great gems:

  • “Instead of pleading customers to make a donation themselves, businesses should use giving to thank their customers for engaging with their brand.”
  • “The only reason checkout charity works now is because of convenience. When it is equally convenient and contextual to give elsewhere that will be the better option. Ultimately, companies need to offer an environment of giving in which they can provide an experience, connection and relationship.“
  • “We predict an overall increase, not a decrease in corporate social investments through 2022 and beyond. Checkout charity isn’t dying. It is migrating away from the counter and into the virtual world.”
  • “We’re focusing a lot of time and attention on the power of digital engagement and fundraising and see it as a major growth opportunity in the years ahead. Meeting donors where they are is essential for charities that want to capitalize on new avenues of fundraising.”
  • “All signs point to online corporate giving and digital partnerships as ways to activate customers.  Among our retail partners, we’re starting to see more inquiries about online giving.”
  • “Employee volunteering and giving programs are the gold standard for authenticity. Brands that embrace employee volunteering and giving reap a bounty of rewards, and see a fantastic ROI – not least of all because their employees demand them – but in terms of more authentic marketing, improved employee engagement, better retention, and even higher profitability.”

How Are You Building a Purpose First Brand?

Customers put a lot of value in purpose. A roster of brands like TOMS, Warby Parker, and Airbnb have found amazing success in combining business objectives with positive, pro-social purpose. Rightly so. The acknowledgement of value in purpose is step one, but the key to a brand’s success is to become truly purpose-led.

As if brands are not feeling the pressure already, Edelman released a new study on the topic. The 2016 Earned Media Study cites that, “55% of respondents believe that brands can do more to solve societal-ills and influence change than governments.”

Showcasing your brand’s purpose is critical to winning the hearts of your customers.

New generations (millennials and Gen Z) are coming to town who care more about social change, impact, and individualization than any generation before them.

In addition, companies are now equated to a person’s emotions and beliefs. When asked to define a brand, customers tend to elaborate on personable characteristics. They care about how they feel when associated with the brand, and describing who the brand is to them.

Therefore, a company’s purpose and how they make the world a better place need to be clear to their customers. Every customer interaction needs to authentically reflect the company’s purpose and values. These interactions will actively engage their customers and keep them coming back for more.

At Dotopia, we partner with companies to create strong customer engagement programs through rewards, promotions and giving campaigns. With our programs, you can create individualized interactions with your customers. You can thank them for their loyalty which will spark a strong sense of brand awareness.

Plain and simple, it feels good to give. By partnering with DoTopia, your customers will associate your brand with the joy of giving. Together we will inspire More Givers to Give More.

Personal Connections Drive Customer Loyalty

Leading brands understand the value that customer loyalty provides. Each individual company’s goals can vary depending on the product and industry. That said, many overlapping benefits of customer loyalty include sales increases, referrals, conversion rates, forecasting accuracy, and price insensitivity.

Determining the factors that drive customer loyalty is more complex and can greatly depend on your industry and business. Larry Alton breaks it down in a different way in his Entrepreneur article: The Five Emotions that Drive Customer Loyalty. 

This framework can be applied across most businesses and I’ve summarized them below:

  1. Surprise: Special unexpected moments can go a long way in your customer’s eyes, especially at the start of the relationship
  2. Familiarity: Make your brand approachable to your customers
  3. Relief: If something goes wrong, apologize
  4. Gratitude: Thank your customers and exceed their expectations
  5. Belonging: Make your customers feel they’re a part of your brand, not an outsider

The theme to take away that applies to all levels of this framework is creating personal connections with your customers.  The less stagnant the relationship, and more human the relationship feels, the more likely it will result in receiving your customer’s loyalty.  

Several years ago I had a colleague that traveled a lot for business.  He was traveling to Boston and staying at a new hotel.  While enroute to Boston he shared on Social Media that he hopes to check out a new show and eat as his favorite restaurant in town.  When he arrived at his hotel room, the manager had placed two tickets to the show on his bed and made him a reservation at the restaurant he was hoping to get into.  I doubt my colleague would think about staying anywhere else in Boston after that experience.  That managers actions hit on several of the emotions outlined above.

Philanthropy is Personal

Philanthropy often acts as a direct reflection of an individual’s emotions.  In fact, DoTopia’s Founder and CEO, Billy Weisman, likes to equate it to art.  DoTopia drives customer loyalty by engaging your customer’s emotions through individual acts of philanthropy.

We do so by utilizing our own philanthropic currency, DoDollars, which enable brands to engage with their customers by supporting the non-profit causes they care about – creating a direct personal connection.  
We know the best brands already donate to charity, but most are missing out on the emotionally enhancing opportunity to extend giving to their customers which will in turn drive customer loyalty.

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