It's officially the start of the "ber- months," signifying the fast approach of the holiday season! And what is the best way to keep your spirits merry during this time of the year? Doing good for others. If there's any silver lining the pandemic has got us, is that it has brought our local communities together to help others, from delivering groceries to a neighbor to donating to a social justice cause.
Being philanthropic isn’t just good for the recipient, it’s also good for business. In fact, a survey from DoSomething.Org proves that 66% of Gen Z consumers say a brand’s connection with a social cause positively impacts their overall brand impression, with 58% saying this increases their chance to purchase.
As we head into the holiday season, you might be wondering how small businesses can make a big impact. The great news is that you can make the most out of your checkout charities.
Supporting a charity has been proven to increase customer acquisition retention and rates. Additionally, it’s a great way to support causes that matter to you, your team members, and your community.
Why ask customers to donate at checkout?
A study by Good Scout revealed that 71% of people claimed to donate at checkout, and 55% liked being asked to give. That means your donation drive is a valuable part of a good customer experience.
Additionally, 60% of respondents felt optimistic about the last business that asked them to donate. They also said that they remembered the business that asked them. That’s a pretty quick and easy way to make customers happy.
One of your challenges as a small business is to simply leave a mark, especially on your first-time customers. If you want them to make a recurring purchase, they have to remember you, and aligning your shop with a cause they care about is an excellent way to make this happen.
How do different generations feel about donation drives?
You’ll benefit from asking for donations from younger consumers more. Industry data shows that 70% of millennials (born in the ’80s and ’90s) preferred being asked to donate right at the checkout counter. 68% of them felt positively about and remembered the business that asked.
On the contrary, 60% of boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) did not like being asked to donate and only 47% felt positively about the business that asked them.
Think about whether most of your customers are from a particular generation or age group. If your business attracts younger people, asking for donations is smart. If you cater primarily to older generations, perhaps give it more thought.
Four tips for selecting charities to support
Remember that asking for donations at checkout is also customer service. Which leads us to the question, which nonprofits should you donate to? Here are a few ways to decide:
1. Align with your customers’ values
If you’re a pet shop, your customers are more likely to donate to causes that focus on animal welfare or rescue operations. If you sell toys, an organization providing kids food or educational materials would be the perfect partner.
Choose charities that will connect you with your community and speak to your values- When customers shop local, it isn’t just about accessibility and convenience. It’s about trust and the feelings of connectedness and community-centeredness that shopping locally brings.
2. Appeal to the widest variety of customers
If you want to capture a variety of customer values, add three or four organizations and let customers select the one they like most. People appreciate and feel empowered when they are given choices.
3. Select local charities
Identify a nearby charity and give your customers the chance to help their community. They’ll appreciate an opportunity to engage with their neighborhood.
Take the time to work with organizations you want to support through your business. Understand what they do, their goals, and how donations are used.
4. Lean into your passion
Some business owners are passionate about a specific cause. If that describes you, don’t be shy or nervous about embracing it and flaunting it.
Ways to ask for donations
Accepting point-of-sale donations
The best checkout charity programs add the donation right to the total of their payment. You can manage charitable donations through your POS system. Your staff or the cashier can ask customers if they’d like to donate before finalizing the transaction, allowing them to add whatever donation the customer chooses to make before payment is processed.
a. Offer pre-set options
Present the customer with a list of pre-set donation amounts like any other item. They can select the organization they want to support. This quick and easy option for customers still gives them the power of choice. We recommend making the pre-set donation amount less than $2.
b. Let shoppers choose an amount
If you have decided on an organization you wish to support, you can still provide your customers with a choice by letting them pick their amount. You can provide a few options like $1, $2, $5, and $10, and leave a field for a custom input.
c. Allow customers to round up
If the purchase amount is $34.75, the “round up” option would simply add 25 cents to the purchase price that would go towards a charity. This is very easy and doesn’t cost the customer much, but it makes them feel good and supports a nonprofit.
d. Train your staff
Checkout charity has a much greater success rate when cashiers ask for donations as part of the transaction. Make sure your staff understands the process of checkout charity, the cause you’re supporting, and how donations help.
Point-of-Sale Donation Programs for Small Businesses
We believe that local small businesses shape our communities. They stir up job opportunities, drive tourism with special offerings, and money that’s spent with a local business stays within the community.
Your shoppers want a chance to give back but may not be able to engage with these types of initiatives. This is where point-of-sale donation programs — or checkout charities — can be useful.
As the season for giving approaches, it’s time for retailers big and small to ramp up efforts to engage customers in charity fundraising.