Large Retailer Target Launches Branded Charity Application on its Facebook Page

While we recently examined early examples of retailers implementing Facebook Connect, leaders in the retail industry have also been experimenting with how best to utilize the Facebook Platform by building profile pages and accompanying applications. As a result, many marketers in the industry should pay close attention to the recent efforts of one heavyweight: Target. The $64 billion superstore launched an application on its Facebook profile that allows users to vote on a list of charities to whom Target should donate money.

The application supports the “Bullseye Gives” campaign (named after Target’s logo), and it falls in line with the company’s philanthropic efforts. In the announcement, Target noted that it donates five percent of its income a year “to support education, social services, the arts, and volunteerism,” which works out to more than $3 million a week. With the Facebook app, users may choose from the following charities:

  1. American Red Cross
  2. Breast Cancer Research Foundation
  3. Feeding America
  4. HandsOn Network/Points of Light Institute
  5. Kids In Need Foundation
  6. Operation Gratitude
  7. Parent Teacher Association
  8. National Park Foundation
  9. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®
  10. The Salvation Army

target-app

Before users submit a vote, they can click on the charities’ Facebook profiles to help make their decision. Once users vote, they have the option to publish that action back to their Facebook profile.

After voting, the app displays the results of how each charity is fairing. The voting will end on May 25, 2009, and $3 million will be distributed to the charities as relative to what percentage of the vote they capture.

The application links to Target’s community outreach site, which gives users information about how they can get involved with charities in their local communities by volunteering, allowing Facebook voters “to find local causes that matter to them most.”

Conclusion

To date, the application has garnered more than 75,000 votes. Considering the efforts of retailers to gain Facebook traction remains in a nascent stage, this must be looked upon as a successful campaign. That said, Target shouldn’t stop with this application. It should seek to use Facebook Connect to allow customers to use their Facebook identity to interact with products and share their thoughts on those products with friends, as we saw with Jansport and other retailers last month.