Charity Checkout Campaigns Remained Flat

CHICAGO — The biggest charity checkout campaigns raised some $388 million at U.S. cash registers in 2014, only slightly less than the total raised the previous year. The Rye, N.Y.-based Cause Marketing Forum (CMF) identified 77 campaigns that raised $1 million or more last year. Findings were released today at the 2015 Cause Marketing Forum conference in Chicago. CMF conducted its first America’s Charity Checkout Champions Report in 2012.

The aggregate total dropped slightly, by 0.31 percent, from 2012’s total of $389.2 million. This was driven in part by a relatively quiet year for natural disasters. There were five $1-million-plus campaigns that raised money for Superstorm Sandy in 2012 while no campaigns for a natural disaster hit the $1 million mark last year. There were 78 campaigns that made the list in 2012.

Some 43 campaigns saw growth between 2012 and 2014, while 20 saw a decrease. Nine campaigns that did not exist in 2012 hit the $1 million mark in 2014, while 10 that did not reach $1 million in 2012 crossed the threshold in 2014. Six campaigns dropped off the list between 2012 and 2014.

Children’s health was by far the most popular cause last year, earning 51.4 percent of all dollars in the report, or $199 million. Disease-related causes and animal causes received 9.8 percent and 9.7 percent respectively.

The top three campaigns in 2014 remain unchanged from the 2012 iteration. The number one campaign once again was eBay’s Giving Works program, which asks sellers to donate a portion of their product sales and buyers to make a contribution. The program raised $62.2 million last year, a 15 percent increase over 2012. Since 2001, eBay Giving Works has raised more than $560 million.

The largest in-store campaign and second largest overall came from the Walmart and Sam’s Club program called Miracle Balloon. It raised $40 million last year, almost 4 percent less than the $41.6 million in 2012. The program has raised about $700 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals since 1987.

The coin collection program at McDonald’s raised $27.1 million for Ronald McDonald House Charities last year. Although down from 2012’s total of $28.1 million, a revamp of graphic elements and more aggressive branding allowed the program to increase 3 percent over 2013 estimates.

Kmart’s campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital saw the biggest dollar increase in 2014, at $10 million. Ace Hardware’s campaign for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals had the greatest jump in percentage, 173 percent, going from $1.5 million to $4.1 million. Safeway’s campaign for Easter Seals and Special Olympics had the biggest decrease, going from $9.2 million to $1.4 million, or 85 percent.