Meet America's Newest Checkout Charity Champions™

New Cause Marketing Forum Survey Finds Consumers Donated $388+ Million to Nonprofits in 2014 by Giving at the Register
May 28, 2015 3:30 PM ET

eBay, Walmart and McDonalds efforts again raise the most

Chicago, May 28, 2015 /3BL Media/ – The nation’s most elite cause marketing programs at retail and restaurants generated over $388 million in revenue for charity in 2014, according to America’s Checkout Charity Champions™, a benchmark study conducted by Cause Marketing Forum. 

The Cause Marketing Forum identified 77 campaigns that raised at least one million dollars by asking consumers to make a gift, round up their sale, contribute their change or feature their names on “pin-ups” (placards and paper icons put on display).  That compares to over $389 million raised in 2012 by 78 corporate-backed campaigns that met the minimum threshold. All told, this elite cohort of million dollar plus cause marketers has raised over $3.88 billion over three decades, according to the research. “At cash registers and online, companies and consumers are banding together to raise tremendous amounts of money for good causes,” said David Hessekiel, president of Cause Marketing Forum, Inc., the leading authority on business initiatives designed to do well by doing good.  “We’re especially excited to see ten players joining the elite million dollar+ club of Checkout Charity Champions,” said Hessekiel.   “We expect companies will raise significantly more in the next couple of years by better integrating technology, deepening employee engagement and working more closely with nonprofit partners."

Among 2014’s champions, 38 campaigns also appeared on the first survey in 2012. The appearance of programs or disappearance of older programs is due to a variety of factors such as program growth or shrinkage, changes in a company’s charitable focus or the emergence of new players.

The three highest grossing initiatives held their positions from the first survey. During 2014 eBay Giving Works raised $62.2 million in 2014 by enabling sellers to contribute a portion of their sales to charity and inviting buyers to make a voluntary donation year-round. This represents a 15% increase over their 2012 figures and brings their cumulative charitable donation figure to $561.8 million to thousands of charities since 2001.

Retaining its standing as the largest in-store program and the second largest in our survey is the Miracle Balloon program by WalMart and Sam’s Clubs to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.  It raised $40 million in 2014.  Consumers were asked to donate at checkout to benefit sick and injured kids at a local children’s hospital. The totals decreased just slightly from the $41.6 million it raised in 2012. Since 1987, the program has raised $700 million for the network.

The third largest consumer donation campaign was again McDonald’s restaurants raising $27.1 million for Ronald McDonald House Charities in 2014. The year-round program asks consumers for spare change and those nickels, dimes and quarters have added up to $281 million since 1992. Although down slightly from 2012 numbers, this 2014 figure represents a 3% increase over 2013 totals.

What’s changed?

Among those campaigns that have grown since the first survey, the campaign with the largest absolute dollar increase between 2012 and 2014 was realized by Kmart, which increased dollars raised for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by $10 million to a total of $17.5 million. Brian Hanover of Sears Holdings Corporation (Kmart’s owner), gives much of the credit for this jump to upgraded technology, a longer campaign period and employee engagement.

Meanwhile Ace Hardware registered the largest percentage increase from 2012 to 2014. Its dollars raised for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals jumped 173 percent from 2012 to reach $4.08 million in 2014.  CMN Hospitals attributes the growth to Ace’s corporate commitment to doubling in-store fundraising over the next eight years as well as account management.

The report includes newcomers too. National 4H’s Council’s first foray into the world of consumer donation campaigns was a partnership selling paper clover icons with retailer Tractor Supply Company (TSC) started in 2011. Generating $625,881 its inaugural year, the partnership has grown annually to reach over $1.5 million in 2014.

Exiting the top 10 this year is Safeway, which in 2012 had four campaigns in the top 10 list from supermarket checkout efforts. Their efforts still make the list, though. This year Safeway’s top grossing campaign ranked 20th having raised $4.5 million to benefit local food pantries

Additionally, the survey results did not include a single natural disaster-related campaign for 2014, in contrast with the 2012 report that tracked five $1 million+ efforts supporting Superstorm Sandy relief. Overall, nonprofits serving children’s health remained the top cause for funds.

For more information on the findings, including an honor roll of the 77 initiatives that raised $1 million+ in 2014 download a copy of the 2014 America’s Checkout Charity Champions report at

The top 10 checkout donation campaigns of 2014 ranked by amount raised were: 

Amount Raised 2014



Year Started

Amount Raised Since Inception

Amount Raised 2012

% Change



34,995 charities







Sam's Club

CMN Hospitals







Ronald McDonald House Charities







CMN Hospitals







St. Jude







March of Dimes






Best Buy

St. Jude






The Petco Foundation



Data not available



CMN Hospitals







Marine Toys for Tots Foundation






Yum! (Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, KFC)

UN World Food Programme






*Tie for 10th place

About the Checkout Charity Champions Methodology
Cause Marketing Forum combed through public data to identify the largest point of sale donation programs and asked companies and nonprofit organizations to provide campaign details in the spring of 2015.  We relied on publicly available information such as annual reports or press releases when companies or nonprofits declined to provide information for the study. Information based on public information is footnoted in the report.  

To qualify for inclusion, a Charity Checkout Campaign had to invite consumers to make donations at point of sale and had to have raised at least $1 million in consumer donations in 2014. Only program activity in the United States was included in the study. 

About Cause Marketing Forum, Inc.
Cause Marketing Forum inspires and empowers companies and causes to do well by doing good together by providing access to practical information, valuable contacts and recognition for outstanding work.   Visit to learn about online resources, monthly webinars, membership program, annual conference and the annual Cause Marketing Halo Awards.