Cause Marketing Idea for the Holidays

Now here’s an idea worth replicating (from Marin IJ). It lets people choose to donate to a local charity in a way that everyone wins:

Quarters gobbled up by Sausalito parking meters in December go a long way to helping those in need.

During the rest of the year, a quarter will buy you 15 minutes of time for your car in the city. But in December, it will buy you a bit of good karma.

During the Christmas month the city waives all meter fees for the public with the hope people will come to shop in Sausalito.

But to each meter is affixed a sign letting people know that if they drop money in anyway, it will go to a good cause. And despite the recent tough financial years, the quarters drop.

“Surprisingly enough, people do,” said Adam Politzer, Sausalito’s city manager. “It can be anywhere up to $14,000 in donations collected from the public.”

It’s an annual city tradition that goes back a decade.

“What that allows the City Council to do every year is to look for service providers and nonprofits that help the less fortunate and the underserved during the holidays,” Politzer said. “It helps folks here in the city and in the county that need help.”

Last December, roughly 24,000 quarters were deposited into the meters. That means the city had $6,000 to distribute to good causes this year. Quarters being dropped right now will be distributed next December.

Three programs benefited from the city’s and public’s good cheer as they were each awarded $2,000 at last week’s City Council meeting.

Homeward Bound of Marin, which addresses homelessness in the county, was one of the recipients.

The Ritter Center, which serves low-income people in the county, also received money along with MarinLink’s Project Warm Wishes, which once a year distributes “street packs” stuffed with new gloves, hats, scarves, socks and rain ponchos to homeless men and women.

Mary Kay Sweeney, executive director of Homeward Bound, applauded the city’s program.

“This has to get the award for creativity in fundraising,” she said. “This is a wonderful way, a painless way, to raise money for very important causes.”

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