3 Companies Creating Socially Responsible Fans

By Jenna Lebel

This week Staples announced that for every new “Like” they receive on their Facebook page, they’ll donate $1 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Despite some stipulations (Staples is only donating up to $25,000 and only between June 27 and July 4) their innovative way to gain fans is sure to make an impact. Although this is not the first time a large company has leveraged social media to give back or highlight their philanthropic efforts, it is one of the few times an initiative of this nature has been tied to a fan acquisition. While we wait to see how Staples benefits from their initiative, here are some examples of how other companies have successfully used social media to support their charitable giving.

Target’s Super Bowl/Valentine’s Day Campaign

This past February Target embraced the proximity of the Super Bowl to Valentine’s Day to create a Facebook app, Super Love Sender, to give money to charity. Target announced they had $1 million to donate among five pre-selected charities that support educational programming. The distribution of the money was determined by the Facebook community. Users were encouraged to send fun, interactive Valentine’s Day cards to their friends. Before sending the card, they were prompted to select the charity they felt was most deserving of the money. The application also provided users with a real-time look at how their charities were doing against each other. Target tallied 26,000 votes and 169,000 new Facebook fans during its two-week campaign.

Walmart’s Fighting Hunger Campaign

Retail super giant Walmart is using their social media presence to fight hunger. They’re pledging $2 billion in nutritious food, cash and equipment to the fight against hunger. And they’re looking for help from their fans/followers in their efforts. To help, fans can share a virtual plate of food on Facebook. It’s free, and Walmart will donate one healthy meal to a hungry American for every plate shared (up to 1 million meals). There are also opportunities for fans to take a strong action by volunteering or donating right through Facebook. Since its January 2009 campaign launch, Walmart has donated 88,029,432 meals and $14,911,405 in cash.

Chase Community Giving

Through Chase’s Community Giving the power of giving is in the hands of their 2.2 million fans. They are asking their fans to decide what matters most. In their second year, Chase Community Giving is back to give away another $5 million to charity. Users are encouraged to “like” the page, search for charities, vote to determine which 200 local charities receive donations and share their enthusiasm with their friends. They claim that it’s “a new way forward for giving.” Thousands of charity organizations and millions of fans watched the Chase Community Giving program on Facebook last year to see the winning charity organizations crowned. They are hoping for similar buzz this year when they announce the 200 winning charities on July 13.

Do you think using social media to raise awareness and connect with charitable causes is effective? Does social media help make companies seem more socially responsible? Share in the comments section below!