Top Philanthropic Companies in the Ad World Right Now

Perhaps President John F. Kennedy said it best:

“The raising of extraordinarily large sums of money, given voluntarily and freely by millions of our fellow Americans, is a unique American tradition… Philanthropy, charity, giving voluntarily and freely… call it what you like, but it is truly a jewel of an American tradition.

When it comes to major companies and the money generously given back to the community, there are super star philanthropic players who stand high above the rest. These a-list companies donate millions of dollars annually all over the world.

1. Walmart. The neighborhood store has developed into a global household name, known for its “every day low prices” philosophy. Their other mission is creating “opportunities so people can live better.”

Walmart remains a powerful leader in the charity arena via the Walmart Foundation. The latest numbers tell the store giant’s story. In 2014, Walmart donated $1.4 billion in cash and in-kind contributions around the world. Global in-kind donations accounted for $1 billion, while $309 million was given in cash globally.

Walmart also boosted employee starting wages from $9 to $10 per hour.

2. Exxon Mobil. The iconic oil and gas company continues riding the wave of success and giving back to others in three key areas under the Exxon Mobil Foundation. The company is focusing on education, malaria prevention, and economic opportunity for women.

Exxon Mobil’s 2015 cash contributions amounted to $268 million. Vital Voices, the international women’s group founded by Hillary Clinton received $1.9 million. A sum of $500,000 went to Medicines for Malaria Venture and $80,000 to numerous science camps at colleges and universities scattered across the country.

3. Bank of America. The major financial institution retains a strong commitment to fighting hunger, collaborating with the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, Feeding America. Every dollar donated helps provide 11 meals to men, women and children facing hunger in the U.S.

In addition, Bank of America made cash contributions to the tune of $168.5 million in 2015. Last year, the company spent just shy of $50 million on workforce education, $33 million on community development, and another $33 million on hunger and other critical needs.

John Partilla is the CEO of Screenvision, and he’s a veteran of the marketing industry with nearly three decades of experience in a variety of roles.  Please read “John Partilla Named Screenvision CEO,”  “John Partilla: Screenvision Names Exec CEO – Variety,” “Screenvision Taps John Partilla To Be CEO As It Seeks To Rebuild” and his  Screenvision profile to learn more. Also, check out his CrunchbaseTwitter, and LinkedIn.

5 Ways Ad Agencies Can Create Meaningful Corporate Social Responsibility Programs


5 Ways Ad Agencies Can Create Meaningful Corporate Social Responsibility Programs

In today’s world, consumers value corporate social responsibility. If your company gives back, you are much more likely to gain customers. This applies with ad agencies because when an agency develops a CSR program, that mentality can be passed on to clients. In the past agencies haven’t worked hard to help their clients develop corporate social responsibility programs. This needs to change. In this day and age, a client’s brand needs a CSR program. Here are four ways that an ad agencies can help refresh CSR programs in their own companies and for their clients:

1) Put the client’s brand at the center

Corporate social responsibility efforts must be in line with overall business goals, experts say. This is definitely a key part of the process, but it is equally important to make sure a company’s brand is at the center of its CSR efforts. The brand should me more about meaning than marketing. Bring the meaning to life by thinking about how to execute a CSR effort for best impact. A client can use their product and brand to better the lives of others, thus showing what they’re all about.

2)  Empower consumers to take action

As an agency, you’re used to engaging, inspiring and motivating consumers to take action. So why not push your clients to do the same with their CSR efforts? Allow your clients to not only tell consumers about CSR initiatives but to directly involve the consumers. This could come in the form of inspiring consumers to make suggestions for new initiatives, or simply providing them with a vehicle to make donations. When you bring the consumer in, you’ll be able to bring the experience to life.

3) Emphasize leadership

The most highly visible people in a company are the top executives. They speak at conferences and talk to the press. They need to articulate the vision behind all of the company’s CSR initiatives. These higher-ups as a result need to be directly and visibly involved. Advertising professionals are not only in the business of strategy and media, but also in the business of building relationships. Utilize the relationships you’ve built over the years to get the leaders of clients’ companies deeply engaged in CSR efforts. You can’t bet on every consumer knowing who the CEO of a company is, but all of the employees will. Studies have shown that when leadership, especially the CEO, is involved in societal issues, there is an increase in employee advocacy and engagement, motivation to perform will and desire to stick with the company.

4) Create a culture rather than just building a program

If a program is administered by a select few, it’s nothing more than a program. But if it is opened up to every employee, and leadership recognizes employees’ contributions, every aspect of the organization will be affected by the power of purpose. Since ad agencies are used to collaborating quickly and cross-pollinating ideas among departments, the CSR culture can spread just as quickly as any other well-implemented system. As a result, the agency as a whole will be inspired to produce more meaningful campaigns.

As an ad agency, you have the power to influence your own company as well as your clients. Adding a culture of corporate social responsibility to the way you work will allow your company and your clients to gain more respect and more enthusiastic consumers.

John Partilla is the CEO of Screenvision, and he’s a veteran of the marketing industry with nearly three decades of experience in a variety of roles.  Please read “John Partilla Named Screenvision CEO,”  “John Partilla: Screenvision Names Exec CEO – Variety,” “Screenvision Taps John Partilla To Be CEO As It Seeks To Rebuild” and his  Screenvision profile to learn more. Also, check out his CrunchbaseTwitter, and LinkedIn.


How to More Effectively Participate in Philanthropy

For many organizations and companies, philanthropic engagement has been strictly a business exchange in which corporations give money, and nonprofits give reach. Unfortunately, this does not necessarily mean that this exchange will produce results.

While nonprofits have such limited reach as it is , it is important for companies and nonprofit organizations to engage in a more responsive way to successfully alleviate hunger in a certain city or better cloth homeless youth.

Another idea to reconsider is the fact that funds do not necessarily translate to domestic or international success. Just because a certain organization or philanthropic body raises a few million dollars in no way means they will reduce hunger in a specific country, city or state.

It is also important to keep in mind that passionate people tend to work together in more ways than one. Driving engagement and traffic to have 500 one dollar donors instead of a single donor that donates 500 dollars is essential moving forward.

Also, a smart company would collaborate with their employee base in terms of finding a philanthropic cause, organizing ways to help, and most of all have a say in how to aid the targeted community. This in turn, creates a culture of kindness/selflessness, positive thinking, and mutual bonding in order to strengthen work based relationships.

Once employees are interested and engaged in what the company is participating in with respect to their new and improved philanthropic arm, there is a strong likelihood these employees will share their positivity in the social media space. Just look, for instance, at Microsoft, which regularly encourages its community to be even more philanthropic than the year before:

microsoft logoAccording to a recent study, in 2015 alone, Microsoft employees raised a record-breaking $125 million for more than 18,000 nonprofits and schools across the globe. The tech giant not only raise a hefty amount of money, but also made it their mission to constantly improve how they help, shape and act in a world that is increasingly becoming global. With participation reaching at around 71 percent, there is no question Microsoft’s employee base is becoming more involved in the philanthropic realm.

It is clear that millennials are no longer impressed or pleased with companies simply donating or fundraising for a charity. An engaging, well-thought out story is what this generation looks for as they both enter and navigate the job market.

According to a recent 2015 Aflac Corporation Survey:

  • 75 percent of consumers said they would be happier to work for a company with an effective, strong CSR program.
  • 65 percent of respondents link diversity with a company’s ethical standards.
  • 92 percent of millennials are more likely to purchase from an ethical company more so than any other generation.

By serving the needs of those in need, corporations create an ecosystem of trusting consumers, a happier workplace community, and sometimes a higher employee retention rate across the board.
Basically regardless of company size,  the company and charity relationship is clearly an ecosystem that will continue a cyclical charitable symbiotic relationship.

Effectively Engaging with Millennials Through Branding

As many millennials share this common notion of making a unique or interestingly crafted mark within the digital space, brands have taken this message into consideration in content production related to their brands. In this sense, many digital advertisers and marketers agree that creating GIFs and emojiis have become a new, image-based language for these young individuals to interact with each other on various social media platforms.

Other marketers agree that the creation of these GIFs and emojiis are accurate representations of millennials expanding their own world of communication with a basis in moving pictures or images to get their message across to others. In terms of devices, both iOS and Android mobile platforms have integrated emoji keyboards into their software, while Tumblr users engage over twenty-three million GIFs on a daily basis.

Unlike generations before their time, millennials, for the most part, have always been exposed to content within the vast digital media atmosphere. From inception, millennials have taken it upon themselves to acquire and mold content in a way that specifically fills their communication needs in that moment in time.

heart eyesTo illustrate, take the GIF as a primary example of this new form of communication that has swept and continues to be heavily used across social media properties. In other words, GIFs are crafted to express anything from political standing, to a positive emotion that is evoked with this individual’s favorite concert tickets are purchased. In this regard, many believe that we are currently living in a world in which millennials are consistently molding our digital space.

With Clinique’s campaign successfully producing an innovative campaign in the UK, brands need to generate stories that would make its mark amidst the endless communities that appeal to thousands of millennials on a day to day basis. This Clinique campaign which received over 600,000 social media engagements, had drawn upon not only emotional connections, but also this notion of the future as an environment to interact with oneself.

For brands still trying to make a huge impact on millennials across social media platforms, a great piece of advice to keep in mind is to evoke a profound level of inspiration when pitching a campaign to this audience. Crafting a product-based campaign that forces this generation to question, challenge and reconnect with specific emotions will create a long-term impact. By sparking this new, innovative conversation, millennials will have no choice but to pay attention to your brand’s tailored message.

The Growing Use of Ad Blocking

A recent report from ComScore has confirmed that around ten percent of desktop users are currently applying ad-software blocking tools or systems when perusing the internet. Though this ad blocking rate on a global scale has been relatively stable from around September to May of last year, it is clear that the likelihood of using ad blocking software is directly tied to generational differences.

The study showed that younger users are more inclined to employ ad blocking tools rather than individuals who are over the age of 34.

ComScore, a public marketing data company who offers analytics to publishers, agencies and large private entities in order to better understand consumer behavior across audiences on different platforms. This marketing data company heavily focuses on constantly examining factors within digital advertising from TV to the new ways brands are engaging with consumers in the mobile sphere.

desktopWith ad blocking increasing in popularity, it becomes more difficult for online publishers to not only yield engagement, but also reflect consumer data when creating strategy or number based plans in comparison with their competitors.

Basically, online publishers are sometimes unable to pull accurate data reflecting important KPI’s such as viewability, completion rate and cost per acquisition in the programmatic sphere.

However, as publishers and companies within the advertising industry alike become more concerned with these ad-blocking technologies, comScore’s data suggests that these trends do not seem to have any immediate impacts.

To illustrate, one survey conducted by Retale confirms that out of five-hundred informants, fifty-seven percent admitted to using ad-blocking tools on their desktop computers.

Meanwhile, a report published last year by Adobe and PageFair, confirmed that U.S. ad-blocking rates were 17% in May and 15% in June, which is nearly five to seven percent more than ComScore numbers. In addition, the companies also estimated that ad blocking tools and software led to $22 billion in lost advertising revenue last year alone.

Regardless of the numerical disparity between these three companies, ComScore’s numbers are actually aligned with various online publishers who have recently seen a decline in revenue due to ad blocking. Although ComScore numbers currently do not encompass ad blocking on mobile devices which is a far less common among consumers. To read more about ad blocking with regard to desktop users please visit this site. 

New Source to Help Nonprofit Fundraising Campaigns

Coming up with new tactics to advance your organization’s growth in the philanthropy can be quite challenging, so it is essential to stay up to date with the latest trends or fresh approaches to secure your charity’s mission. Even if your organization is maintaining its local base or is perhaps expanding to another area of the country, covering your bases to ensure your charity’s mission is seen through at every possible angle is absolutely essential. It is highly important to make sure your organization is coming up with different, new ways to approach enticing volunteers, donors and partnerships as means to make a statement within the philanthropic world.

Matching Gifts
This tactic is probably the most useful, but surprisingly underused way to create a fundamental incentive across the board for your base. Essentially quite an easy process, all your organization has to do is promote matching gifts to your donors and encourage them to submit requests to their employers.

Simple ways to encourage donor engagement on social media:
-embed this message in your emailed newsletters.
-driving engagement on social media
-creating a page on your website that highlights various ways to give back
-stating the matching gift program at the bottom of the donation form.

Volunteer grants

They are monetary rewards that employers give their employees after an individual or team of employee volunteers at a nonprofit for a certain amount of time. According to a recent statistic, 50% of employees who volunteer for the first time in 2016 will actually participate through a program or different type of incentive given within the internal workings of their company. Similar to approaching matching gifts, you can actually apply the same strategy to advertise volunteer grants across the board.

Please keep in mind that many of these grant programs actually require employees to volunteer for a certain number of hours before the money is given to the nonprofit, so keep a lookout for varying hour limits in the organization that interests you.

Fundraising Matches & Challenge Grants

Some companies will not only match the donations of their employees, but they will also match the money that those employees raise for fundraising events that allow people to socially connect or engage with one another.

Next time you host a fundraising event that requires your participants to solicit pledges or donations from their friends and family members, create a short presentation or speech underlining the effectiveness in fundraising matches. This will provide some insight to your fundraisers and their contacts to better understand the overall benefit of this new tactic.

For example, a challenge grant of a thousand dollars might require an organization to raise an initial amount of a thousand dollars before the grant is awarded. It’s important to keep in mind, that generally speaking, challenge grants actually involve regular check-ins with the company to ensure that goals are being met.

This also allows for business development between the two parties in order to gain a better understanding of how your help directly affects the organization. To learn more about an overlooked source of fundraising for nonprofits or other philanthropic organizations, please visit the GuideStar Blog.

Instagram’s New Branding Strategy

As opposed to the nature of social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, Instagram was initially created to emphasize activities solely related to sharing visual mediums online.

With over four hundred million monthly users and a growing number of advertisers branding their companies on the platform, Instagram is adding an algorithm that reorders pictures and videos in users’ feeds based on their interests. Similar to a news feed in Facebook or the extensive Twitter feed, this actually allows the constant flow of information to be context specific with the hopes to promote a much higher level of user engagement across the board.

Although marketers claim this inevitable move is a small part in the overall social media evolution, users are becoming more and more wary of the next steps the company will take to secure its innovative edge as the digital industry further expands.

Moreover, as the photo-sharing app further expands its strategy to drive engagement on their photo sharing based platform, Instagram has also acquired new interactive tools in addition to simply just the news feed. Users can now message followers directly, click into link that lead them to product or service landing pages and upload videos showcasing their latest trip with their friends.

insta logoHowever, many argue that this isn’t exactly what the online photo sharing app’s user base was searching for when the platform was first developed in 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger to socially network via photos. According to a Forrester Research report form 2015, engagement on this platform had declined significantly yet data still showed that the platform still outperformed social media competitors such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google +.

“Maybe it’s dramatic to call it the death of organic social, but increasingly, we’re telling our clients, ‘If you’re not going to put money behind promoting your content, organic engagement is a real tough thing to produce sustainably,” said Kyle Bunch, managing director of social at R/GA.

According to Instagram analytics, users miss 70 percent of the posts that show up in their feeds, meaning they only see 30 percent of the content posted by users and brands they follow. In turn, this creates a huge informational disconnect between users who are not receiving the content geared towards their interests and the brands attempting to portray a certain message to targeted audiences.

Kyle Bunch, managing director at R/GA states that “I don’t believe Instagram will go full-fledge Facebook with its suppression of all organic reach for content,” she said. “The Instagram community is just different and expects a level of authenticity and accessibility that isn’t reflected on Facebook.”

While this is useful tool that could potentially connect users and brand in a more effective way, some users agree that this could actually have a negative impact on the various ways in which individuals discover new information.


Disconnecting from the Digital Space

The increase of wifi spots across New York City, along with a wide spectrum of global, cosmopolitan cities have all been participating in a digital connectedness as a means for locals, tourists and passerbyers alike to all stay interactive on their devices. While this was primarily initiated to further connectedness on social media platforms, to promote engagement via text messaging and internet browsing, both Olson and Roder of Horizon’s TrendSights have concluded that becoming a “smart city” may not necessarily spark an overall increase in user engagement.

With this in mind, Horizon’s TrendSights has concluded that there is an increase of consumers who have essentially opted to not connect to wifi kiosks or hotspots in order to maintain face to face interaction. In short, the intent on becoming more connected through the implementation of everything wifi has resulted to a response that has produced a quest to for more personal, undistracted personal space from their devices.

Although both Olson and Roder have noticed this trend gradually appearing in consumer and social behavior, they agree that the increased effort on the consumer’s behalf to distance themselves from their devices has been far more noticeable in the past six months. Olson comments on this trend by stating that “Most people have had smartphones for awhile now, but I think people had to kind of live with them for a while and internalize all the effects the phones have on one’s life before they felt this itch to return to a more disconnected life.”

apple products

As this concept of distance from devices has augmented within the last year or so, consumers have been responding in different forms in order to counteract what they feel is the lack of meaningful social engagement.

More concretely, one interesting that has been making a strong statement as an overall response to the digital connectedness as a whole, is the fad of adult sleep-away camps that mandate an environment which calls for no devices or anything digitally related.

An adult sleepaway camp called “Camp Grounded,” has locations from New York to Northern California and offers features like typewriters, stargazing, sweat lodges and gourmet cuisine in the hopes of visitors to take a step back from their busy, digitally occupying lives.

This essentially highlights how adamantly digital consumers of all ages are actively attempting to create more authentic, face to face human interaction in their daily lives. To read more about how consumers are disconnecting from the digital space click on this link.