Giving is Better Business

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This holiday season, the majority of Americans intend to purchase gifts that keep on giving. According to the 2006 Cone Holiday Trend Tracker, 57% of Americans plan to purchase a product from which a portion of proceeds are donated to a charitable cause, and 59% expect to buy holiday gifts from a retailer that supports a cause.

Non-profit organizations are increasingly turning to retailers for partnerships that will provide new sources of revenue. At the same time, businesses are seeing opportunities to demonstrate their good corporate citizenship and to expand their customer base.

Marin County-based Organic Bouquet, the market leader in eco-friendly flowers, returns a percentage of proceeds from a wide selection of its bouquets to charitable causes. In the last two years, Organic Bouquet’s charitable initiatives have resulted in nearly $200,000 in donations to more than 30 non-profit organizations – from the American Red Cross and Co-Op America to PETA, Mercy Corps and the National Wildlife Federation.

"It is rewarding to build a business that donates money to good causes and supports sustainable farming with a product that brings joy," said Kristy Walker, VP of cause marketing for Organic Bouquet. "Truly this business model is a win-win for all concerned."

The idea for partnering with non-profits occurred to Gerald Prolman, Organic Bouquet’s founder and CEO, twelve years ago, when he received a gift from one of his vendors: a donation to a charity made in his name.

The meaningful donation so touched Prolman that, years later, he created a business model to embrace the powerful concept of charitable giving. Prolman’s philanthropic aims have also granted Organic Bouquet access to nearly 7 million highly targeted consumers who care passionately about the environment, social justice and animal rights.

"The American Red Cross is grateful to Organic Bouquet for choosing our organization as the beneficiary of the ‘Freedom Roses,’" said Kathleen Loehr, interim senior vice president for development at the ARC. "Customers who purchase the bouquet will enable the Red Cross to help Americans prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies."

The 2006 Cone Millennial Cause Study found that 69% of Americans consider a company’s social/environmental commitment when deciding where to shop, and 89% are likely or very likely to switch from one brand to another if the second brand is associated with a good cause. With figures like that, the trend in charitable giving is likely to last well past the holidays.

For Organic Bouquet, the joy of giving is more powerful than the seasons. Prolman is already looking toward 2007, with expansion plans that include the addition of more than 20 new non-profit partnerships. Through those relationships, Organic Bouquet will gain access to an additional three million potential eco-flower buyers and, less quantifiable but equally important, a company-wide sense of fulfillment.

"All of us at Organic Bouquet are extremely proud of our cause marketing initiatives," said Prolman. "This higher purpose is heartfelt and unifies our team."

Via: (Organic Bouquet)

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