Products for Charity

(Photo: Jaro Larnos)

We bought a box of Anzac biscuits — a very tasty cookie with no eggs or fat, thus not too many calories and easily preserved. The company, Unibic, states on the box that “4% of sales (revenue) go to the RSL (Returned and Services League).” This reminds me of Newman’s salad dressings, which advertise that all profit goes to charity.

It’s not clear which method would provide more money for charity generally, but I prefer the percent of revenue approach—it removes any incentive to raise costs (executive pay, for example). Either way, though, it’s nice that a few companies support charity so well and so openly. What other examples are there of products that support charity? And which method (percent of revenue or profit) is preferable?


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  1. Enter your name... says:

    Nearly everything pink marketed during October?

    Except that many times, there is a cap that is far below the percentage they claim to donate, and other times, even things that have a pink ribbon on them don’t actually result in a donation by either the manufacturer or the seller.

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  2. Sharon says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  3. Nicole G. says:

    Yoplait with pink tops… but hate that you’re supposed to actually mail them in. I think they changed that this year and you can just put in a code online.

    Do Girl Scout Cookies count? And Boy Scouts popcorn?

    I like what you say about the % vs “all profits”, but the fact is “all profits” grabs my attention way more than 4%! If it was >50% then perhaps that would be different.

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  4. Keith Bates says:

    With Anzac biscuits I wonder about the “charity” side of it. The RSL has been very protective of the Anzac brand and name. I suspect this is part of a deal to license the use of the name “Anzac biscuit” and the company is portraying it as a voluntary charitable deed.

    Also the 4% would be 4% of what the company receives and not 4% of the retail price. That’s good value for the consumer who gets say 20c of “feel good” utility and for the company who might only pay 10c for making the consumer feel good.

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  5. tioedong says:

    It’s a scam.
    Essentially they are overpricing the product so you have to donate to their favorite cause.
    They also are implying that if you are a good person, you’ll buy their product instead of another product from a company that isn’t compassionate.
    My favorite is “Tom’s shoes”: buy one in the US, 37 dollars, buy one here in the Philippines, ten dollars, but either way you buy one and they’ll give one to a poor person for free. Never mind that the shoes given away are made at an ordinary Chinese factory. So by buying Tom’s shoes, I undermine our local town’s shoe industry, which can’t compete with low Chinese wages.

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    • Alicia says:

      The “percentage of profits to charity” model often strikes me as self-serving. Donating a small portion seems calculated to improve the company’s own bottom line, and also seems very difficult to monitor and enforce.
      One possible exception is when companies run fundraisers that give most or all revenues (not profits) to a particular cause. One that does a good job of it is Envision Beauty ( which actually posts a tally of the money they raise, but that level of transparency seems to be the exception.

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  6. Oliver H says:

    The actual model for Newman’s Own looked a bit different: Newman himself received 100% of the profits and donated all of that to various charities. So any increase in salaries would actually decrease what the guy on top is getting – not a wise idea until you have very good reasons.

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  7. Pratik Trehan says:

    Another company that is on the rise right now is Charitable Coffee. On the bag they advertise that they donate half of all of their profits to charity. I had a chance to try the coffee the other day and I must admit it was quite good. Wish they had more blends. It is pretty cool though they let you pick from what charities you want to give too!

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  8. Isabel says:

    I am interested in donating a small percentage of the revenue of my small business to a charity– perhaps giving the purchaser a choice of what charity we give it to. What stops me is that we do not deal directly with consumers and I am sure that my customers (mainly private schools in England) will worry, as tioedong does, that we are overpricing in order to do this. Any thoughts about how to present this as a wholly positive thing?

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    • Enter your name... says:

      You pretty much have two choices:

      * Buy them off by donating the money to the schools that are your customers.


      * Don’t tell anyone that you’re doing this.

      The purpose of announcing it is to get positive, sale-enhancing publicity. If telling people about your charitable gifts won’t increase your sales, then don’t tell them. You can quietly give away all the money you want, if that’s what you want to do with your money.

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      • Isabel says:

        You’re completely right, I can (and do) give all the money away that I want. So really my question comes down to, can I use this to promote the business and the charities? Private schools are very controversial in class-war terms in Britian, but maybe we could think about some kind of fund they could benefit from… I could imagine that getting complicated though

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    • grasshopper says:

      Don’t do a contest. No charity wants to be the loser in that scenario.

      Focus on making your product/service the best possible. Then any charitable donations are value-added and a nice bonus to the consumer. The consumer will make their choice based on the quality of the product/service. If the consumer has to make a choice between two product/services of the same quality, then the charitable donations might be the factor that could tip the choice in your direction or make them feel good about their choice.

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