Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article.
Toms, the popular footwear brand, turned corporate charity on its head with its 2006 launch. The premise? One for one. The company matches every pair of shoes sold with a new pair for a needy child.
In the years that have followed, consumers have seen more and more businesses that are looking to do more than just turn a profit. And consumers are just as keen to take part. According to a report published last year in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 54 percent of Americans bought products that benefited a charity between 2012 and 2013. This number reflects a significant jump from 2010, which landed at 41 percent.
Building on the corporate charity trend is BonBon Boots, a company raising awareness – and funds – for a handful of worthy charities including multiple sclerosis, melanoma, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. The premise is simple, but genius: Lightweight, canvas cowgirl boots.
“Every cancer group has a color attached with their awareness campaign, so I modeled the boots after those colors,” said Dr. Bonnie Murphy, who started the company in 2011. “Ten percent of all the proceeds go to one of those four research organizations.”
Each boot has its own distinctive color scheme unique to each individual cause.
BonBon Boots was born when Murphy, a practicing physician, had a hard time finding comfortable cowboy boots that she could wear with her scrubs. Murphy decided to create her own, only to find that connecting her business to charitable causes gave her even more satisfaction than her product did.
“I was making them, but I wanted to do something really valuable,” said Murphy. “I’d like to work to combat as many diseases as I can.”
Another unique spin on corporate charity comes in the form of newborn infant onesies. Luc&Lou, launched by two neonatal ICU nurses in South Florida, embraces the idea of “one for me and one for you.” The company has established partnerships with a variety of national nonprofit groups. The idea? For every onesie purchased, another is given to a baby in need.
“Helping babies and their families is the core of Luc&Lou,” said Amanda Dubin, the company’s co-founder. “It’s what keeps us going every day, and we couldn’t be more excited to continue giving back.”
Companies like BonBon Boots and Luc&Lou represent just one way people are getting energized about charitable giving. August was punctuated by people all over the country participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge to support ALS. And next month, be prepared to see mustachioed men at every turn. (Movember will be in full effect to raise awareness for men’s health.)
The demand for corporate giving shows no signs of slowing down. The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that 89 percent of Americans are likely to switch brands to one associated with a cause if the price and quality are comparable.