Sunday, April 15, 2018

Digital Ad Views + Charity Donations = Givewith

It’s not often that the words “nonprofit” and “donations” are associated with digital ad spend, but a startup called Givewith – which is 50% owned by CBS Corp. – is trying to change that.

Last week, the startup introduced a product that automatically donates to an advertiser’s nonprofit of choice each time a person clicks or views a digital ad. Givewith’s technology is meant to appeal to companies looking to attract *younger* socially conscious consumers who, in increasing numbers, care about corporations’ values and are skeptical of overt marketing ploys.

In addition to handling the creative, media buying and measurement of campaigns’ effectiveness, Givewith’s algorithm will help advertisers choose the nonprofits that will be most impactful on key metrics, such as sales and brand sentiment. Further, the Company will help businesses calculate the impact of nonprofit partnerships and donations on various social governance scores. The Wall Street Journal article linked below goes through an exemplary campaign Givewith recently completed with Dell in partnership with Waterkeeper Alliance, a clean water nonprofit, which resulted in an 85% improvement in Dell’s brand favorability and 66% increase in intent to purchase a Dell product.

It’s clearly a smart move for Givewith to combine an advertising product with a mechanism to improve social good, but I have mixed feelings about the idea that brands are only supporting certain nonprofits solely for the sake of appearances and increasing sales. Business is business, and I don’t expect any companies to be truly altruistic in their CSR initiatives – nor can I really take issue with any effort that helps fund nonprofits’ important work – but it does make me question how much I can trust the authenticity of “corporate values” pages on company websites. What causes do these companies actually support? What (and who) should I believe?

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