Team Up to Support Teachers: Adopt-A-Classroom.org & Burlington Stores
Each year classroom teachers across America spend close to $600 of their own money to buy school supplies for students. With 51 percent of American public-school students coming from families that live in poverty, the need for basic school supplies in schools serving this population is great. Burlington Stores, a national off-price retailer with more than 630 stores across the country, partnered with AdoptAClassroom.org, a national nonprofit that funds K-12 teachers, to purchase necessary classroom supplies. “Giving back and doing good is a common thread” for the Burlington stores, so it looked for a partner that could meet its commitment to local communities and help customers see Burlington as its back-to-school headquarters.
Burlington created a national make-a-donation-at-checkout-campaign that would accomplish several things:
- Allow each local store community to benefit while at the same time allowing each store to participate in the decision-making process for a local donation to a teacher’s Adopt-A-Classroom account.
- Raise awareness of the need for school supplies while offsetting the spending done by classroom teachers
- Generate brand awareness for Burlington
The campaign involved three approaches:
- A media campaign, which included Launching with Common, the Oscar-winning rapper who is a devoted education advocate and his mom, Mahalia Hines, a former school principal and member of the Chicago Board of Education and the Obama Foundation; a pointed PR effort during Back to School season that included seasonal fashion segments airing on television in select local markets (and which included campaign messaging, placements on the Wendy William Show and the Rachel Ray show), which led to a combined 3.5 million impressions.
- Fundraising and Sustaining Efforts: Burlington’s 37,000 employees were educated and inspired to share the importance of fundraising with their customers while fun incentive prizes were offered throughout the campaign. Employees chose a nearby school to support, and AAC selected a teacher within that school to be adopted with $1,000 to the teacher’s account.
- Keep the Mission Moving after BTS: For all Burlington grand opening stores in fall 2017 and spring 2018, a local school was adopted and funded with $10,000, with each teacher getting an equal amount of the funds.
Burlington’s brand awareness got a bump from the 51 million media impressions both nationally and locally produced by the campaign. Burlington exceeded its internal fundraising goal by more than 57 percent, collecting more than $1.5 million from 1.2 million individual donations at an average donation amount of $1.30. The company saw a 3.1 percent store sales increase and a 7.1 percent total store sales increase for Q3. Back to School merchandise categories exceeded both. The program also increased AdoptAClassroom.org’s impact and awareness nationwide, with more than 3,000 teachers being adopted and more than 75,000 students receiving school supplies. AAC’s teacher data base increased by 1,600 new teachers and its relationship with more than 70 school districts nationwide was deepened, along with relationships with school administrators and principals throughout the country.