National Park Service’s Centennial Essentials: REI & National Park Foundation
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Parks Service, the National Park Foundation (the charitable partner of the foundation) launched the Find Your Park, a public awareness and education campaign aimed at helping Americans (especially millennials) rediscover and connect with America’s Parks. Outdoor adventure retailer REI partnered with the National Parks Foundation to create Centennial Essentials, a line of co-branded products to outfit customers for their activities in the national parks.
The “Centennial Essentials” section appeared in each of REI’s 150 stores nationwide and featured an array of such REI products as t-shirts, tents, hats, mugs, backpacks, and more. For every product purchased, 10 percent of the price went to the NPF. REI pulled in partners to enhance the program, selling the North Face licensed duffel bag, Camelbak special water bottles ($2 donation per sale), Eagle’s Nest Outfitter’s hammocks ($5 donation per sale) and others. REI also sold national park passes that gave 10 percent back to the NPF.
The outstanding results exceeded expectations. REI reported excited employees across departments as they worked on creating the Centennial Essentials sections of the stores. The National Park Service added an average of 134,000 new social media followers each quarter while #NPS and #FINDYOURPARK trended nationally on social media. REI has long been a place where you could purchase park passes, but sales of those passes increased by 250 percent during 2016. The grand total of proceeds donated to NPF from the “Centennial Essentials” section topped $1,546,208—which includes donations from purchases, park passes, REI Adventures trips, and other NPF partners’ products. The program sold 31.4% over projected goals.