Walmart is buddying up with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, with a special "Lend a Paw" effort on Facebook.
The promotion encourages Facebook users to go to Facebook.com/lendapaw and click on the button, triggering a $1 donation (up to $100,000) from Walmart's pet suppliers. All the proceeds go to help homeless pets, Elysia Howard, VP/marketing and licensing for the ASPCA, tells Marketing Daily. Walmart already sells products from the ASPCA Collection in its stores, from toys and tethers to kennels and carriers.
This promotion is just one part of the organization's push for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. Other events include local color, like lighting up some New York City buildings in orange -- the color is adopted for cause-awareness -- a Brooklyn block party, sponsored by Subaru, and a May 1 event for Miami-Dade County, its newest community partner.
"The ASPCA has been very fortunate," she says. "We've seen an increase in donations, and are developing more corporate relationships and cause-marketing efforts, even in this down economy."
In addition to Walmart and Subaru, it also has a long-standing relationship with Fresh Step cat litter -- this month, when consumers purchase bags specially marked with orange, it also generates a donation to the group. It also partners with Bergan, a company that makes tethers and car-restraint systems for dogs.
Howard says the group also has a substantial lead in the environment and wildlife category of American Express' "Take part" campaign, a contest that encourages people to vote for their favorite causes, earning the winning groups $200 each.
While charitable donations on the whole have suffered as a result of the recession, environmental and animal charities were already losing a little bit of market share before the downturn, says Giving USA Foundation in its most recent report. While the category has shown increases every year since the group first began tracking it in 1987, it declined 5.5% to $6.58 billion in 2008.
The ASPCA, the oldest and best-known brand in the animal and animal protection sector, earns a "B" from charitywatch.org, a group that assesses the effectiveness of charities, better than the C- earned by the Humane Society of the U.S., but not as impressive as the A grades earned by 10 of the 34 animal and animal protection charities that group tracks.