What’s been on my mind this week: rewards programs. Let’s see what rewards/membership/loyalty cards are in my purse:
Starbucks gold card. Cosi. Hallmark. Panera Bread. Babies R Us/Toys R Us. Family Christian Stores. Regal Cinemas Crown Club. Waterfront café. Giant, Safeway, Harris Teeter, Balducci’s, CVS, Petco, Petsmart, Borders, Hair Cuttery. And let’s not even start on the hotels and airlines.
That doesn’t include all the email lists (no card) so I get free movie rental codes from RedBox, plus coupons and sales updates from Bath and Body Works, Old Navy, New York and Company, Amazon, Chili’s, Kohl’s, 10,000 Villages, Forever 21, Target, Walmart, Shutterfly, Pampers, Lean Cuisine and more.
It feels good to be rewarded for loyalty, and I often go out of my way to shop or eat somewhere when I know I’m getting something I value (free Starbucks drink after 15 transactions, 20% off coupon, etc.). Tropical Smoothie Café used to give me a free smoothie after a certain number of transactions and I went out of my way to hold business and personal lunches there. Once they stopped the rewards card, I stopped going. I can walk to smoothie places right near my office and pay the same price.
I’ve also been thinking about audience engagement. Every organization (company, nonprofit, individual) wants to “go viral” with their content, campaign, website or widget. But how?
United Way has a cool campaign with the NFL called Back to Football Friday, celebrating the return of football and raising awareness and resources for youth health and wellness. It includes a fun “United Way Super Fan Touchdown Dance” –- upload your photo and create a silly dance to share with your friends. Back to Football Friday prizes include NFL gift cards and a trip for two to Super Bowl XLVI.
Another online feature I like is Goodwill’s Impact Calculator that shows specifically how your clothing or other donation affects lives.
United Way’s Common Good Forecaster is another helpful tool you can use to see the impact of education right in your local community and share the results.
However, more often that not, what goes viral is not a nonprofit tool but rather a celebrity music video (who can compete with Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber?) or cute baby/animal video someone posts on YouTube. Check out The 7 Most Viral YouTube Video Topics of All Time. The last video I remember forwarding was “A Dad’s Life”; it made me laugh so hard I cried.
Regardless, whether it’s rewards cards or web content, we all need to make sure we’re providing something of value that people want.