Walmart Uses Crowdsourcing to Connect with Consumers, Contribute to a Cause

November 29, 2010 By Aminda

As part of its 2010 holiday giving initiative, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have pledged $18 million to fight hunger in the U.S.  They will be using Facebook to engage and educate consumers about the program, allowing U.S. consumers to vote on which cities should receive $1.5 million in grants to fight hunger.  Between November 15 and December 31 participants can “like” a community on Facebook, selecting from 100 communities where hunger rates are the highest.  The city with the most support will receive $1 million in grants and the next five cities with the highest support will receive $100,000 each.

Walmart will be supporting and partnering with organizations including Meals on Wheels, Feeding America and the Salvation Army to carry out their goals. This initiative is a part of the commitment Walmart made earlier this year to invest $2 billion by 2015 in fighting hunger in the U.S.

The Facebook project is a savvy move by Walmart to publicize their commitment to a cause this season. A study by marketing firm Cone Inc. shows that despite the economic slump, Americans are motivated to support charities this year with 49% of consumers expressing an intention to proactively purchase a cause-related product this holiday season.

Walmart is not the first corporation to utilize this strategy. It is yet to be seen whether the retailer will be able to top the campaign by Chase Bank during the 2009 holiday season. Chase reported a successful campaign which generated more than three million votes cast in support of charities to receive grants ranging from $25,000 to $1 million. 500,000 charities competed for a share of the $5 million total grant money. The program was said to have been the most popular corporate philanthropy crowdsourcing campaign in Facebook history.

Earlier this year, Target asked Facebook fans to vote on the charity of the week, to which the retailer would give $3 million.  The campaign generated 169,000 new Facebook friends for the company.  How about you, do you have any stories of creative ways you have used crowdsourcing for a cause?

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