Have you ever had the experience of being in the final stages of checkout when the cashier asks if you would like to donate to this cause or that? Or how about round up your balance to the nearest dollar? In the moment you have a split second to say yes or no without having many of the facts that we find important in our decision to give to various causes. While this can be an effective process in getting that quick yes, as a longterm strategy it can be annoying and subtract from the overall customer experience.
Since 1946, Target, then known as the Dayton Company, has been giving 5% of pretax profits back to the community. By 1999 that totaled $1 million a week. By 2002, it grew to $2 million a week. In 2012 it was reported that this equated to $4 million a week. This is a process truly simplified, noninvasive, and certainly adds to the customer’s good feelings bank!
Or does it? Where does that money go? Did their decision to ease the process of giving, remove customer choice entirely?
I decided to investigate, follow the money and see where it leads! I discovered that in 2019 there was an expansion to Target Circle which allowed customers to not only earn %1 on every shopping to trip to redeem later but it also included community giving, not in the form of your cash direct to community, remember they’ve got that covered from 5% of their profits, but in the form of choice. Now every customer can choose where to cast their vote to help Target decide where community funds will be directed.
But just how easy is this process and what does it take to really make my vote count? I was prompted to go to Target.com/circle, download the Target app, or enter my phone number at checkout while visiting my local store. Being on the computer for my research I headed over to Target.com/circle and was prompted to sign in. This took me directly to a page that listed the available non-profits eligible and I cast my available votes to the partner(s) of my choice. Done.
While overall this process was simple from the web, I did not recall seeing a place to simply cast my vote directly from the app. After further study, I realized that it was in plain site the entire time, but lacked a reason to click on it. As a tip to improve this process I would suggested that they put a toll gate in after the completion of each purchase that mirrors my opening question, by flashing the following prompt: “Would you like to vote on where your money will be donated?”
While Target has an amazing track record for ensuring that donated dollars are well sewn in the community the sad truth is that all charities are not created equal. Financial experts suggest 3 steps to ensure that your donations count.
- Pack a charity that feels right. – Take the time to ensure that the charity is aligned with your core beliefs; read their mission statement and goals being sure to explore international, national, and local organizations.
- Be choosy about how your donations are actually put to use. – Once you have identified your cause, look at the various ways different organization within that niche apply the funds and go with the approach that resonates with you.
- Do your research, reputable charities leave a trail. – Most reputable charities have a ton of transparent information available online. You can use sites such as Givewell, Guidestar and Charity Navigator to you make an informed decision.
If you are interested in casting votes towards your local non-profit candidates, head over to Target.com/circle. Let me know in the comments below how your experience goes!
How do you feel at checkout when asked to decide to give in a split second? What are some suggestions you’d make to ensure that the giving process is the rewarding experience that it should be?
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