Will ending school charity be an epic branding fail for Target?
In 2010, Target set a goal of donating $1 billion for education by the end of this year. Last month, the retailer celebrated reaching that goal, having donated to schools both inside and out of the U.S. Now, Target says it will end its "Take Charge of Education" program next spring and shift to health and wellness initiatives as the focus of its cause marketing efforts.
The shift in Target’s charitable initiatives is in line with the company’s focus in stores, where it is has identified wellness as one of four "signature" categories in which it intends to make greater investments.
Target’s education program, which first began in 1997, sent one percent of the total purchases charged to REDcards to schools designated by the cardholders. According to the retailer, only 10 percent of those who have a card were participating in the program.
The retailer said that it will continue to donate five percent of its profits to communities once the education program is ended next year.
Source: Target infographic: “What does $1 billion for education look like?”
Amy Koo, an analyst with Kantar Retail, told the Star Tribune that she thinks Target may be making a mistake. The chain’s core customer (young families with kids) is very interested in efforts to support education. Also, Target will be wading into an area of cause marketing that already has many corporate supporters, particularly in the food and drug retailing channels.
- Target will end school charity program, shift giving focus to wellness – Minneapolis Star Tribune (tiered sub.)
- We Did It! Target Gives $1 billion For Education – A Bullseye View
- Target ending $32M ‘Take Charge of Education’ school giving program – Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal
- Target may remove big food from store shelves – RetailWire
Do you approve of Target’s decision to end contributions to schools and instead direct its cause marketing dollars to health and wellness initiatives? What will Target need to do with its new program to ensure it achieves a unique cause marketing positioning?