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Checkout Charity: How Point of Sale Donations Are Trending for Corporations Who Want to Give Back

We’ve all been there. At the checkout of a favorite store, rushed to move on to our next to-do, when we’re asked by the cashier to support a chosen charitable cause. It’s a very small ask of time and money.

Whether it brings a smile or a feeling of slight inconvenience, this moment, this mode of giving, is a growing stream of support for countless non-profit organizations, including Operation Warm.

Looking at only the largest campaigns ($1 million-plus), Point of Sale donations were found to have raised more than $390 million dollars in 2014. Point of Sale donations are successful because they benefit everyone. They make it easy for the public to donate, straightforward for retailers to implement, and collaborative in meeting both the corporate partner and the non-profit’s goals.

An Easy Way to Do Good, and Feel Good

It’s hard to find a donation opportunity easier in the retail space than the point of sale donation: the customer is at the register, their wallet is already open, and card at the ready. And it works: 55% reported that they enjoy being asked, and nearly 3 out of 4 consumers have donated to charities at the register.

For the consumer, there’s no hoops to jump through. They can leave the store having made a relatively small donation (66% donate less than $2 per transaction) and the satisfaction that they’ve helped a worthy cause.

Further, consumers increasingly expect businesses to give as well. Consumers respond positively when businesses support charities. 65% of consumers who donate remember the last retailer that asked them to support a charity, and 60% report feeling positively about the retailer because of the experience.

In the end, there’s no question that consumers favor companies that give back and more likely trust and support brands that are socially responsible over those that are not.

Businesses Benefit

Companies engage in point of sale donation initiatives, not only because it may be good for business, but it also gives them a vehicle for doing good that makes sense with their greater brand message.

For our point of sale partner, Hollister Co., there’s a natural fit with Operation Warm. Hollister sells stylish coats and Operation Warm donates them. But for Hollister, the connection to the cause runs deeper than those similarities – it directly ties into their brand values and missions.

“As a company, we support programs that enrich the lives of children and teens, and we are grateful that our strong partnership with Operation Warm allows us to do this in such a meaningful way,” said Hollister representative Mackenzie Bruce. “We know that there are many families across the country who struggle to provide warm coats for their children so it is nice to be able to provide some relief to those in need.”

While Dunkin Donuts’ main product is coffee, not coats, New Hampshire franchise owner Teo Salema’s commitment to giving back to his community firmly resonates with Operation Warm’s mission. When the Professional Firefighters Union of Keene, local 3265 of the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), decided to lead a campaign with Operation Warm, Salema wanted in and a point of sale donation program was a perfect fit.

“We wanted to partner with the Fire Department as they contribute greatly to the community and we appreciate that,” Salema said about the campaign. “We also liked that the benefactors of the campaign were local children.”

Now in its third year, the fundraiser shows no signs of slowing down. To date, the program has raised money for more than 1,000 coats for students in the Keene school district.

Easy as “Sure” and Swipe

Part of what makes point of sale campaign successful for retail partners like Hollister and Dunkin Donuts’ franchises is the ease of its implementation. With a sophisticated checkout system in place, the integration involves only a few steps, including coaching of employees about the charity.

Point of sale campaigns also allow for the retailers to add their own personalization. At Salema’s Dunkin stores, instead of having customers round up to the nearest dollar at the register, customers purchase a coat of their own – in the paper variety. Customers could donate any monetary amount, and in return they receive a paper coat on which they can write a message and their name and hang it on the wall. When the stores started to fill with paper coats, it’s a significant symbol for the community.

Among all of the diverse array of brands we partner with at Operation Warm, we always find at least one commonality between us, and that’s our desire to improve the lives of children in need. In 2016, we were able to reach our goal of donating 2 million coats – and that’s thanks, in large part, to the tireless efforts of our corporate partners, and their generous customers. You don’t have to spend big to make a big difference.

Our Impact

  • Years of Service


  • Communities Served


  • New Coats Gifted


  • National Partners


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