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Canadians are charitable at the checkout (survey)

Contributions may be small, but checkout programs can still raise big bucks

Most Canadians have opened their wallets for charity when they’re at the checkout, according to a new survey. The survey by Ipsos Reid in collaboration with Companies & Causes Canada found 60% of Canadians have donated to a charity at the checkout, with 30% having done so in the past month. While most contributions are small, checkout programs can raise big bucks for charitable organizations. Last year, Costco’s “Miracle Month of May” campaign for Children’s Miracle Network raised $5.7 million, while Walmart’s effort for the same cause raised $5.5 million. “I think works well because it’s easy…. and consumers have access to it,” said Jessica Avery, vice-president of Ipsos Marketing. From the consumer’s perspective, “it’s there, I’m already in line and it’s relatively easy for me to do. It also gives me a chance to support the causes that I have a personal relationship with.” While there are media reports consumers are feeling pressured into giving, the Ipsos survey found otherwise. Nearly half of respondents (47%) cited “my budget at the time” as the reason they give and 30% said because “the cause is personal to me.” Only 7% gave because they felt peer pressured and 7% gave because “the cashier asked me to.” “We actually found that most people are generally indifferent to it. Even those who didn’t like being asked, still many of them donated and it didn’t have a negative impact on perceptions of the retailer or the charity,” said Avery. “So when thinking about all the benefits monetarily that it brings in, combined with the fact that it remains the preferred means for donating for about one in three Canadians, ended up having a lot of positives.” The survey also looked at cause-embedded purchases (for example, buy a product and $1 will be donated to charity) and “buy one, give one” models such as Toms, which donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every purchase. Forty-three percent of Canadians have made cause-embedded purchases and 24% have made “buy one, give one” purchases. However, when they were asked what means of support do they most prefer, cause-embedded was actually number one (33%), followed by donating at the cash (24%) and buy one, give one (22%). The study also showed how important it is to consumers that companies are affiliated with a cause. Eighty-four percent of Canadians reported they would switch brands assuming price and quality were the same if that brand supported a cause. This article first appeared on

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