Drive Bigger: Volkswagen and DonorsChoose
In the middle of 2019, VW was ready to mount a comeback. Work was underway to bury the Dieselgate scandal once and for all, and the brand had just launched a provocative new brand platform “Drive Something Bigger Than Yourself.” The early campaign work teased the brand’s electric future, but finding ways to stimulate immediate sales for the traditional internal combustion vehicles on dealer lots today was a top priority.
Summer is a busy time of year for sales in the automotive industry; nearly every maker offers big savings with even bigger marketing pushes. To cut through the clutter and stand out to consumers, VW teamed up with DonorsChoose, giving consumers looking to do good with their purchase a reason to visit their local VW dealership.
Dealer excitement and participation would be key to success, and VW wanted dealers to feel ownership over the campaign. Tasked with finding a cause that dealers nationwide could get excited about and that consumers across the country would be eager to support, VW decided to team up with education nonprofit DonorsChoose.
With up to 100,000 classroom project requests on DonorsChoose at any time, there’s something that everyone can connect to. And with 83% of public schools in the US having used DonorsChoose, everyone can find a local school to support, allowing corporate giving to feel like a grassroots movement. To put the power of giving directly into consumer hands, VW armed dealers with DonorsChoose donation cards to distribute to those who visited their dealerships throughout the Drive Bigger Event. These donation cards allow anyone to support a classroom project, allocating a portion of the donation made by VW to a project that inspires them.
Individual dealers were encouraged to give these donation cards out at their discretion. Some distributed to those who simply visited the location, while others gave to customers who test drove vehicles. Dealers who had particularly engaged communities and who found the offer successful were encouraged to buy more DonorsChoose donation cards with their local marketing budgets. Some went even further, hosting community events and even giving away cars to local teachers of the year.
Co-branded packaging on the donation cards encouraged customers to support a local project request. By visiting the URL on the packaging (www.donorschoose.org/volkswagen), customers landed on a co-branded landing page where they could enter their code and read why supporting classroom projects is important to VW.
In addition to distributing donation cards, VW fully-funded classroom projects in their market areas at key moments in the campaign: launch, midway, and at wrap-up. The full fundings at launch and midway supported “Classroom Basics” projects, in which teachers request essential items like pencils and backpacks for students. These full fundings surprised and delighted teachers, helping to inspire word-of-mouth marketing at key moments; teachers were excited to encourage friends and family to visit local dealerships for the chance to receive a donation card after receiving surprise funding from VW. The wrap-up funding supported projects from America SCORES partner schools, concluding the event with even more surprise and delight.
As a result, 640 dealerships across the US participated in this campaign and sales goals were exceeded. 7 dealers purchased over $5,000 worth of additional donation cards using their dealership-specific marketing budget. 29% of donation cards were redeemed for a total of $232,960 distributed through donation card funding, resulting in 4931 classroom projects funded and 488,599 students benefitted from resources received through the campaign.