“What’s your take on businesses offering a percentage of sales for disaster relief?” – @SethSimonds
It always makes me happy when individuals and companies donate money to help a cause. I prefer this over the US government borrowing from China and then paying back the bill, with interest, using taxpayers’ hard earned money.
That being said, it bothers me when companies opportunistically use disasters to make money.
If a company responds to a disaster, the corresponding campaign should have the feeling of a somber, heartfelt sympathy card — not clever marketing. The message should be 100% about caring and 0% about their products or services. A logo + disaster relief campaign URL suffices. If consumers (ie. potential donation partners) want to learn more about the company itself, they have a lead.
If a company specifically designs a product for disaster relief, 100% of profits should go to the cause. (As a consumer, I understand that they have to pay overhead costs. I’m cool with this.) Think of it this way — the product wouldn’t even exist unless thousands of people weren’t hurt (or killed) in the first place. Anything less than 100% of profits indicates the company is stepping on victims’ souls to get a boost up the corporate ladder.
When a successful new product comes out of a disaster relief campaign, once the dust settles a little, the company may continue the product line with fresh marketing.
Companies don’t always make products specifically to support disaster relief, but still want to donate. In this case, a percentage donation is perfectly acceptable on existing products. The larger the percentage, the better.
Even more exciting than donating money is when a company additionally donates their products and volunteers their expertise to go above and beyond to help victims. Not only are they cutting into profits when they do this, they’re also paying out-of-pocket to make it happen. It’s acceptable to respectfully let the world know they’re helping in this way, which encourages others to do the same.
Certainly any disaster response from companies potentially boosts profits. It’s delusional to think otherwise. Good companies have a history-backed identity of being socially responsible, and are always looking for ways to help others. Their brands have a relevance that surpasses the products and services they sell. Companies dance a fine line at times, but savvy consumers who are intentional with their money will research a company’s business practices before buying any product, regardless of whether or not a donation is attached.
Good question, Seth.
( Oh… and in case you’re wondering, I’m listening to Joan Jett and the Blackhearts ;) )
Readers, what do you think?