Want To Open a Nonprofit Store? 10 Guidelines You–and Nordstrom's–Should Follow - A blog by Olivia Khalili

Olivia Khalili created Cause Capitalism to show you how to grow your business by incorporating a social mission.
Nov 4, 2010 12:57 PM ET

Want To Open a Nonprofit Store? 10 Guidelines You–and Nordstrom’s–Should Follow

Scandal in-the-making, customer-pleaser, tax write-off, nonprofit cash cow or game-changer?  Which hyphenated phrase will best describe Nordstrom’s new concept store, which will donate all net profits to charity?

I was interviewed recently by American Public Media’s Marketplace on the Nordstrom concept store, set to open in Soho next fall, and on the growing appeal of retail philanthropy. A recent study from Cone found that 83% of consumers “want more of the products, services and retailers they use to benefit causes.” Seems Nordstrom read the report. But I hope they studied it because the concept is rife with potential, public sand traps. Little information has been released (or decided), but here’s what we do know from Nordstrom spokeswoman Pamela Lopez:  The store won’t have Nordstrom’s name on it, use its shopping bags or take Nordstrom credit cards, but will function as a wholly owned subsidiary.  The concept is based on the retailer’s “general spirit of philanthropy.” Nordstrom hasn’t yet identified how it will pick its nonprofit partners or solidified a merchandising strategy. If I were leading this initiative for Nordstrom, here are 10 guidelines I’d follow:   continue reading