Charity or Business??

These days we find so many TV ads or sale exhibitions or something similar which claim to channel some percentage of money made through the sale to charity or for a cause!

And… I have seen so many people who get “moved” by these ads and immediately empty their pocket in the hope of doing something good! Well.. who doesn’t want to “feel” good about themselves? And, this is just the right kind of opportunity that most of us have been waiting for to prove to ourselves and also to the on-lookers that we are indeed ‘very kind’ and possess a deep-rooted interest in humanity!But.. the question that comes to my mind immediately after seeing such ads is – who is actually benefited out of this ?

  1. Is it really the charity organization?
  2. Is it the company’s sales/business that gets boosted?
  3. Is it the buyers who get the satisfied about their integrity and morality?

Well.. I do not propose any solid answer here – I can’t!! Especially when I do not have access to the real data! (May be I can suggest this ‘research’ topic to the ‘Freakonomics’ guy – Steven D Levitt in case he has already not stumbled upon this!)

I guess to some extent all the 3 happens! (I can only guess! 😉 ) Else why would things continue this way? However what I am really interested in knowing is – who gets the real benefit? I mean who gets the major share?

Let me continue my guessing game – point by point! Well.. this is not just a blind guess but depends on my real life experience and observations and the interpretations my little analytical brain draws on them!

1. Charity Organization: May be yes – the charity organization is indeed benefited! They get some share. Do they get the actual share? Even if they get all that was promised, does it really reaches the “needy”? (Well.. that’s another big question to which nobody outside the organization knows the answer! We all just have to believe that it so happens! 😉)

2. Company’s sales: I guess the company’s sales does get boosted to a major extent – because of points 1 & 3. To me it sounds like the point 2 – is where the major benefit share goes – the company gets the benefit by improving sales!

Now… What kind of companies do this? I have never seen any big brands (say like Adidas, Lifestyle, Globus, Nilgiris, etc) trying to promote their sales by linking with charity! They just boast about their brand / quality! Of course they do these “sales” where they offer discounted prices but then never have I seen them linking up with any charity organization so far. I once saw a TV ad in which one of the major retail chain company tried to promote the sales of some of their products by linking with charity which included – “Tide” washing powder. Tide –  as I know, is not really doing good. As we all know, the most preferred and popular and successful brands of washing powders include Ariel, Surf & Rin. This is just an example – but we could really point out which kind of products are more promoted through such tie-ups which ones are promoted through brand & quality promise! Getting my drift?

So.. when they don’t have much to boast about the actual product itself, the companies adopt such marketing strategies which kindles the innate feelings of human-kind and integrity thereby inducing more sales!

3. Buyer satisfaction: Hmm… So, here comes the interesting question! Does the buyer gets satisfied? Hell yes! He is so happy that he got what he wants and also contributed to charity! But.. wait a minute! Does he really have to buy that “not-doing-good” product (continuing by the same argument pointed out in 2) in order to satisfy himself about his integrity and humanity? When you are doing a business transaction (this is a business deal – Isn’t it?) should you see what you get out of that product that you are buying or should you be trying to prove your values? After all, aren’t you paying the money for the product that you are buying? There are obviously better ways of doing charity! Aren’t they?

Given the fact that the buyers are ‘moved’ by such marketing campaign, it does seem that the company gets benefited more than the rest of the stake-holders! But intelligent buyers can change the situation otherwise!

It all actually depends on the buyer! If the buyer is intelligent and uses his logical discretion rather than giving in to emotions, then he would always go for buying quality products that he wants! So, point 3 will never contribute to point 2 – i.e., the emotional satisfaction of buyer about his integrity/morality will never contribute to more sales! And if the product is really of good quality, then the company wouldn’t be “promoting” sales by linking with charity! If the company does care about getting involved in charity, then it would do it in parallel but not use that as a means to market their products – the quality would speak for itself! And the buyers by all means would get satisfied both morally & financially!

What’s your say? Would love to hear more thoughts (and probably some data?) and guesses..

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