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Study: Walmart, Safeway score top marks on consumer charity donations

CHICAGO — Cause Marketing Forum on Wednesday named America’s Checkout Charity Champions, a first-of-its-kind study ranking the largest consumer checkout donations in the United States last year.

“American companies are bonding with consumers, turning on employees and raising big bucks for worthy groups by requesting donations at the point of sale,” stated David Hessekiel, president of Cause Marketing Forum. “This study is the first to recognize the leading programs, to measure how much they raise and to share best practices that will help companies and causes produce even more successful point of sale fundraising campaigns in the future.” More than $358 million was raised in 2012 through a total of 63 corporate-backed campaigns identified by Cause Marketing Forum. Large charity checkout programs have raised more than $2.3 billion in the last 30 years, the study reported.

The largest in-store program of 2012, a six-week Miracle Balloon Campaign by Walmart and Sam’s Club, brought in $41.6 million to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Since 1987, the annual campaign by Walmart and Sam’s Club has raised more than $556.8 million for CMNH.

While most initiatives involved brick-and-mortar retailers, the number one donation-producing program in 2012 was eBay Giving Works: its U.S. participants generated more than $54 million for nonprofits. Throughout the year, eBay Giving Works empowers sellers to earmark a percentage of their sales proceeds to charity and also invites buyers to make voluntary contributions. Since 2003, eBay Giving Works has generated more than $240 million in charitable donations, according to Cause Marketing Forum.

Safeway had the most campaigns in the top 10 list with four supermarket checkout efforts raising a collective $38.4 million to fight breast cancer, prostate cancer and muscular dystrophy and to help people with disabilities, the Forum noted.

The top 10 checkout donation campaigns of 2012 ranked by amount raised were: eBay/Giving Works — $54 million to more than 22,000 U.S. nonprofit organizations via seller contributions and donations at checkout; Walmart & Sam’s Club/Miracle Balloon Campaign — $41.6 million to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals via paper icon sales; McDonald’s/Coin Donation Box Program — $27.9 million to Ronald McDonald House Charities via coins collection at register; Costco Wholesale/May Icon Campaign — $14.4 million to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals via paper icon sales; Safeway/Breast Cancer Awareness fundraiser — $12.4 million to hundreds of Breast Cancer organizations via donation request at checkout; Safeway/People with Disabilities — $9.2 million to Easter Seals, Special Olympics, Rebuilding Together and other charities via donation request at checkout; Safeway/Prostate Cancer Awareness and Research — $9.2 million to The Prostate Cancer Foundation via donation request at checkout; Walgreens/Way to Well — $8.5 million to Susan G. Komen for the Cure via donation request at checkout; KMART/March of Dimes Fundraising Campaign — $8 million to the March of Dimes via donation request at checkout; Safeway/Muscular Dystrophy Association — $7.6 million to the Muscular Dystrophy Association via donation request at checkout.

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