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Target Hits The Bullseye With Philanthropic Efforts
By: Jennifer Graber
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For many students across America, school bells will soon begin to ring. Students will approach the first day with big smiles, and an eagerness to meet their new classmates — but, of course, they will be dreading the homework. Teachers will greet the first day as an opportunity to positively impact the life of a child through the classroom. However, despite all best efforts, some schools will have to forgo necessary maintenance, or many students will be unable to afford supplies, or teachers’ resources will be all tapped out, and so forth. Schools and teachers tend to give so much of themselves, but unfortunately there just are not enough resources to go around — especially with the budget cuts within education departments. But Target hopes to help lighten the load just a bit with its annual Give with Target campaign.
 
Give with Target will enable Target to donate up to $5 million in funds to schools across the country. To participate in the program all you have to do is visit the Give with Target page, or app on Facebook, select a K-12 school, and vote. You can vote up to once per week until September 21, 2013 (or until the $5 million has been awarded, whichever comes first). Once a school receives 25 votes Target will then donate a $25 gift card, and $1 per additional vote up to $10,000 per school. This is slightly different than last year’s version of the campaign. Last year Target dictated that each set of 25 votes would equal a $25 gift card; so if a school received 49 votes then it would only get one $25 gift card. The new Give with Target guidelines allows schools to get the most out of the campaign.
 
Also new this year to the campaign is Target’s 'Class of 2013'. The special class consists of celebrities aiming to create a transformation in education. The class includes Lala Anthony, Luke Bryan, Sophia Bush, Gabrielle Douglas, and Donald Driver. The school that reaches 10,000 votes first, or that receives the most votes by the close of the campaign, will get a special party with the ‘Class of 2013’.
 
Last year the Give with Target campaign gifted funds that provided the necessary resources to be on the path to achievement to over 30,000 schools. Target hopes to give back to the schools even more this year. And this is all part of Target’s overarching goal to donate $1 billion to education by 2015.
 
These are some amazing philanthropic efforts by the Target brand, which has always played a vital role in its surrounding communities. Other brands should sit up and take notice. Beyond being a company with a conscience, Target is making a strategic move — by aiding education efforts, it is also helping produce individuals with more opportunities to better impact the workforce by helping build a proper educational foundation. And, it just seems like good business sense — talk about positive brand building.
 
It really is something that more brands should be doing. Giving back to communities, in any manner, puts a brand on the same level with its consumers — it is putting the brand in the trenches, and showing that the brand truly cares. Plus, consumers are far more likely to recall a brand that made a difference than one that did nothing at all. Brands should thoughtfully and consistently give back, rather than sporadically or only when it is going through an image crisis (*cough cough* BP).
 
But what are your thoughts? Should brands ramp up their philanthropic efforts because of feelings of obligation? Or should they give freely and happily? Or what about not at all? And does giving back, in your opinion, make a difference in the minds of consumers? Regardless, Give with Target is a great program from the brand that is worth checking out.


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About the Author
Jennifer Graber is a Business Development Manager and marketing enthusiast. Her specific interests include branding, consumer behavior, development, integrated marketing communications, and new & social media.
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