Galen Augustine raises the issue most of us have had once in our life. “A lot of stores you go into, they’re bumming you for credit cards and all that that stuff, I think that’s a shame. I think its harassment really,” “These guys here, they don’t ask for anything in return, they don’t even ask you if you want to donate, they just sit there and it’s all voluntary.” We allow our support for one group cloud the direct fundraising approach in general.
Costco’s policy on limiting the Legion’s days to sell poppies is not a isolated case, similar policies have impacted many charities, big and small. The simple reality is that Costco like every other business with a storefront receives a flood of requests for visibility, floor space, donations… Whether the local hockey team or one of the many large cancer or MS campaigns we all want to be supported, we all feel our cause deserves support.
Having had to negotiate many campaigns with businesses the most important thing for us to remember is that we are not alone in our quest, we are in a very competitive world for donations. Over 120,000 registered charities in Canada want donations.
Businesses must restrict their partnerships to ensure they are able to respond to many requests and to ensure the support given is inline with their community engagement, marketing plans and corporate purpose or mission. In this competitive space it is best to approach businesses that can partner with your cause, have a long-term plan and be able to show how that partnership directly benefits the business. I dare say the connection to the poppy is starting to wain.
This very situation his the #KettleCampaign a few years ago across Canada. It was not that stores had to restrict access, but as in the situation of the Legion, Costco notified us at the last minute, forcing us to adjust campaigns with only 3/4 of fundraising time in their stores. Keep ahead of the next season folks.