Tag Archives: Mara Einstein

Nickels

If you want to get a whiff of the seamier edge of corporate philanthropy, check out the new charitable marketing scheme by 5-Hour Energy®. The company has undertaken an advertising blitz to explain that when people buy special red, white, and blue bottles of their new cherry-flavored energy drink, a portion of the sales will go to a nonprofit called the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

I confess that I’m not a big fan of 5-Hour Energy. Like me, you’ve probably seen the product near the cash registers at gas stations: little not-quite-two-ounce bottles of foul-tasting caffeinated syrup that, for $2.99 apiece, give you the oomph you need to get through an afternoon at the office or a long nighttime drive to Altoona. I’m not a caffeine guy, but when I partake, I go for coffee. It tastes better than 5-hour Energy, contains vastly fewer chemicals, and doesn’t come in plastic bottles that end up on the side of the road. Continue reading

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Hard Sell

A friend of mine runs a well-respected rehab center for addicts and alcoholics. I say, “well-respected,” and not “well-known,” because outside of those in the court system and the rehabilitation and social work communities, nobody pays much attention to what she and her staff do. It’s not the kind of celebrity rehab center that attracts the Lindsay Lohans of the world. It’s a gritty inner-city facility where a chronic offender lands after a traffic accident or a near-death experience from an overdose.

“We’re not puppies and kids,” my friend says, drawing a contrast with organizations that can capture the sympathies (and dollars) of the general public through heartwarming pictures and stories. Hers is a place with locked doors. The client list is confidential and few “alumni” think to support the agency. It’s a challenging place where important things happen out of sight.

Getting people to donate to organizations providing core services to people in need is a tough sell. Continue reading

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