If you walked into a Walgreens pharmacy in the month of May, there’s a good chance your trip to the checkout counter involved more than just the usual assortment of two-for-$3 candy specials and glossy magazine covers. That’s because Red Nose Day—a premier celebrity telefunding event in the U.K.—was readying its May 21 U.S. debut, and Walgreens was the exclusive provider of the eponymous red noses, available for $1 at the register.
By all accounts, the campaign was a success, raising a reported $10 million for charity. And it’s indicative of American consumers’ willingness to donate at the register—a willingness explored in detail in this month’s study, America’s Checkout Charity Champions.
Conducted by Cause Marketing Forum, the study found that in 2014 consumers at America’s largest retailers and restaurants donated more than $388 million at the register. The total included all donations from 77 campaigns that “raised at least $1 million by asking consumers to make a gift, round up their sale, contribute their change or feature their names on ‘pin-ups’ (placards and paper icons put on display),” according to the study.
The three highest grossing checkout charity initiatives were eBay ($62.2 million in 2014), Walmart/Sam’s Club ($40 million) and McDonald’s ($27.1 million). Costco and Kmart rounded out the top five. The list also included at least one surprising entry: Spirit Halloween, a seasonal chain open only in fall, placed twelfth on the list with $5.8 million generated—a 65.71 percent increase over 2012.
Some other notable findings:
- Kmart saw the largest dollar increase in 2014, raising $10 million more than it did in 2012 and increasing its fundraising total for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to $17.5 million in 2014.
- Grocery chain Food Lion surveyed shoppers and found that its customers did not like being asked to donate at checkout. The chain reduced its checkout asks to one (in support of local food banks), dropping its fundraising total from more than $8 million to $500,000.
- Ace Hardware saw the largest percentage increase, jumping 173 percent over 2012 numbers.
Download the full report here to learn more.