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As another hurricane is bearing down on the East Coast of the United States the Red Cross is springing into action- as are other nonprofits. And of course those nonprofits can’t do the work without us donating money to them.
I have donated to nonprofits over the years, ran marketing for United Way and even did my own unique ice bucket challenge video, which you can see here.
So I know the work nonprofits do is important and they need our donations to continue helping people most in need.
And as you know I also like to play the travel game and collect miles and go on awesome trips that I could never afford without redeeming points. So I was excited to see a promo that I could earn American Airline miles if I donated to the Red Cross to help them with their disaster relief.
That’s nice but then I also realized it was the wrong intent. Giving to get miles is about getting the miles and not about making a charitable donation. Or helping people.
And currently $100 gets your a whole lot more miles on the American website:
So if you are doing it because it’s such a good deal on miles, it’s not. But offering miles to donate certainly gives us miles collecting and redeeming travelers to react to the news headlines about the offer.
Of course, I then went into compare mode and looked what 1,000 miles would cost me on the American site. You can’t even buy 1,000 currently. It starts at 2,000. $118 gets me 4,000 miles.
But really, give to nonprofits because you want to help. Not because you want the miles.
From a marketing perspective this worked though. It got my attention and I don’t even remember seeing any other calls to action to donate.
This headline made it in front of me though because I follow travel news.
This is also different from those deals where a nonprofit gets 10 percent of a restaurant’s nightly sales on one night. So people come in to have a meal their diet didn’t need and 10 percent of their $100 bill – so 10 bucks – goes to the nonprofit. You can see why I’m not a fan of that math.
If you want to give to support, save the meal and donate that $100 to the nonprofit. Eating more doesn’t get the nonprofit that much more.
But the Red Cross deal was different.
1 – I didn’t even see it without the news headline. That earned media worked!
2 – I gave and yes I took the miles and why not? But I also knew it wasn’t about the miles. Or I would have bought 4,000 on the AA site.
Something that crossed my mind: What we offer in a relationship and transaction determines the relationship we have.
Thank you everyone for helping.