Cause Cannibalism: Is Fast Food Gobbling Up Cause Dollars? - A blog by Good Scoop

Nov 1, 2010 1:11 PM ET

Cause Cannibalism: Is Fast Food Gobbling Up Cause Dollars?

Maybe Not.

Recently I was clicking through various cause websites to see who was doing what in the world of cause marketing and paused at one website in particular.  The Ronald McDonald House Charities (“RMHC”) has a request on their main page for votes-vote for the RMHC on the American Express Member’s Project and Take Part.  Why, I thought, is the charitable arm of a giant corporation seeking money from the charitable arm of another equally giant corporation?

In an earlier blog post defending cause marketing, we took the position that critics need to remember is that there are real causes out there that really need marketing.  We stand by that statement-but now I had to ask why were two giant corporations soliciting funds and giving funds this way?  At first glance I just didn’t add up.

Both endeavors ask the people who are interested to sign up, to get involved, to vote, to donate.  To engage.  Which is about when I all began to make sense.  Ronald McDonald House Charities doesn’t strictly need the $200,000 grant that American Express Member’s Project / Take Part is giving out.  RMHC has recently opened its 300th house in St. Louis Missouri with plans under way for a dozen more as well as 40 Mobile Care Units that function  like rolling health clinics all around the world.  RMHC serves two hundred thousand families a year through the houses alone-not counting the mobile units, the scholarships, the outreach.  RMHC has an operating yearly budget of over $100 million dollars-if I’m reading the tax return right-so they don’t strictly need to win the grant from American Express.

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