We’ve all become accustomed to that by now ubiquitous and generally annoying phenomenon of checkout charity — being asked, just as we’re settling our bill, to make an additional contribution to charity. According to a recent Good Scout Group study, nearly three out of four Americans have given this way. And even more astounding is this: according to a separate study from the Cause Marketing Forum, over the last 29 years, these sorts of campaigns have raised more than $2.3 billion for charitable causes.
Clearly, checkout charity works. But what about the downsides? Although companies and brands have come to consider this a sure-fire, go-to method to show their commitment to a charity (by asking their customers to dig into their wallets), the negative side effects are often overlooked.
The truth of the matter is this: most instances of checkout charity rely for their effectiveness upon charity shaming (it’s true: just ask South Park). And whether or not we realize it, we’ve all been exposed to those embarrassing moments of truth: to give, or not to give?
While shaming people into giving may work, in the short term — according to almost every study, most people do actually reach into their pockets to give as requested — in the long term, the method will not contribute positively to a brand’s relationship with its customers.
And here’s why.