Recap: TRAY Creative’s Holiday Giving Challenge and Results!

What makes a company stand out and truly sparkle among the sea of eager entrepreneurs ready to stand in the spotlight? Is there a language to a successful business? When your mission is to provide a non-profit example of humanitarian work, how do you gain enough recognition and generate enough buzz to truly be heard?

TRAY Creative is one such agency that develops a strong identity and unique marketing for any business, but especially for those who may lack an available resource due to low funding.

I had a chance to talk with Ralph Allora, TRAY Creative’s Principal/Marketing Director on their most recent campaign that ended before the new year. We provided them with the giving platform to make this event happen successfully. Get to know Ralph, TRAY Creative, and the challenge below:

What is the inspiration behind TRAY Creative’s Holiday Giving Challenge?
TRAY Creative is a big supporter of Jolkona, and we had been talking for some time about partnering on a corporate giving campaign. So we hit upon the idea of doing a Holiday Giving Challenge in December–a limited-time competition to raise money for a handful of selected nonprofits.
TRAY designed the online giving page and developed content for the social media and PR components of the campaign. Jolkona did the development work and hosted the page. We paid a licensing fee to cover development and hosting to ensure that the participating organizations received 100% of their pledged donations.
We approached four nonprofits based in Seattle to participate in the program, and they all agreed. We knew there had to be an incentive to get donors excited about the competition, so we added a reward: the organization that raised the most money would receive $2,500 in pro bono marketing and creative services from TRAY in 2012.

How was the response?
We were thrilled with the response. In just 26 days, we were able to raise almost $7,000 for the four nonprofits. Because these are locally focused organizations, that’s a meaningful number.

What is your personal experience with each non-profit organization featured in the campaign?
We picked these four organizations specifically because they represent causes we care about. People for Puget Sound represented the environment, the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation represented animal protection, FareStart represented economic empowerment, and the University of Washington Dream project represented education. For any business thinking about running a campaign like this, our advice would be to partner with organizations that align with your company’s core values. It’s critical to the success of the program.

What do you believe is the greatest public impact from this campaign?
Especially around the holidays, people are inundated with appeals from different nonprofits. There are so many choices, so many opportunities to give, so it’s important to create incentives, which we feel we did successfully. First, by offering a prize of pro bono assistance for the winning organization, we were able to keep donors motivated and show them that their dollars could go further. Second, because it was a competition the participating groups–TRAY and the nonprofits–actively used Facebook, Twitter, and e-marketing to rally their audiences throughout the campaign. We added a pie chart on the giving page, which updated the results in real time and kept it exciting down to the final days, when People for Puget Sound surged ahead and won the competition.

Looking forward to another campaign? Have anything in the works?
Yes, we’re hoping to make this an annual holiday tradition, and raise even more money this year. And we’re already talking to Jolkona about creating a giving-platform template that can be branded and customized so that other businesses can run this kind of cause-marketing campaign in a simple, cost-effective way. For any small or midsize company that’s looked at a miltimillion-dollar initiative and wondered how they can pull off their own small-scale version, we think this could be a great solution.

What does philanthropy mean to you?
Speaking from a business standpoint, philanthropy is about more than cutting a check for a nonprofit and calling it a day. It’s about giving back and expressing your company’s core values on multiple levels, whether that’s encouraging employee volunteerism, doing pro bono work, or getting employees, customers and vendors actively involved in a campaign like TRAY Holiday Giving Challenge. When you’re willing to put your company’s brainpower, time and resources to wrok on behalf of a cause you believe in, that’s true philanthropy.

6,768 dollars were raised during this challenge, and the winner was People for Puget Sound with a total of 2,880 dollars raised. Great job!
Click here to learn more about TRAY Creative, or follow their tweets.


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