Celebrate Schools! - General Growth Properties and DonorsChoose.org
Celebrate Schools! was designed and launched in 2012 by mall-owner/operator General Growth Properties and DonorsChoose.org to highlight public schools and to provide local teachers with the resources they need to give their students a quality education. The first year of the campaign focused on experimentation, allowing both organizations to test different marketing strategies. Based on learnings from year one, GGP and DonorsChoose.org were able to grow the campaign in 2013 to measurable success.
Targeting their most productive shoppers, members of “The Club”, GGP sent 1.1 million Club members a series of personalized emails, culminating with the opportunity for members to redeem a DonorsChoose.org gift card to support a classroom project in their local community. These tactics were so successful that customer participation was four times greater than expected, leading GGP to extemporaneously double their overall donation to DonorsChoose.org.
In-mall shoppers, who weren’t Club members, were offered a $10 DonorsChoose.org gift card as an incentive to sign up for The Club. Each mall also hosted a Celebrate Schools! event to increase mall visits, help raise additional funds and to strengthen the malls’ commitment to schools. These events included student performances, fashion shows, coupon book sales, spelling bees, cheer contests, and science fairs. Shoppers joining the Club during the events were given a $10 DonorsChoose.org gift card. Supporting the overall effort, in-mall signage, table tents and video PSAs informed customers about the DonorsChoose.org campaign. In total, GGP estimates that the two year partnership has provided over $10 million in promotional ad placement for DonorsChoose.org.
To further engage local schools, mall representatives contacted nearby schools and encouraged teachers to post projects on DonorsChoose.org to take advantage of the Celebrate Schools! funding. If teachers submitted a project, they received a promo code from GGP to share with their friends and family to match individual donations up to $20.
As a result, 24,899 shoppers activated $660,000 in GGP funding bringing 10,484 classroom projects to life. Eighty-eight percent of these shoppers were first-time donors to DonorsChoose.org. Sixty-one percent of shoppers felt the opportunity to donate to a classroom was more valuable than other perks, including a $20 mall gift card. One third of shoppers said they would visit their GGP mall more often as the result of the opportunity they received to donate to a classroom.