Boston Pizza’s new model for fundraising

Why the restaurant has clarified the message and increased marketing for its annual Kids Card fundraiser.

Boston Pizza is taking a new approach to its long-running Kids Card fundraiser in support of the Boston Pizza Foundation Future Prospects.

Until Oct. 2, Boston Pizza customers can spend $5 to get the Kids Card, which can be redeemed for five free kids meals at the restaurant – six if they also register the card through the MyBP loyalty app. The proceeds from the fundraiser are used to connect a Canadian child with a role model or mentor through one of its national charity partners.

Boston Pizza worked with Taxi on a campaign promoting the fundraiser, with High Road providing PR support. UM is handling a media buy that includes programmatic digital ads, a social push, and a 15-second TV spot on conventional and specialty channels, as well as a partnership with Corus to target the ads to families through placement on networks like YTV and W Network.

The Kids Card fundraiser has raised over $4.8 million in donations since it started in 2006, with a single-year record of $890,000 set last year.

Adrian Fuoco, director of marketing, media, communication and programs at Boston Pizza, attributes hitting that mark in part to putting a small TV and digital buy behind the program last year. The results have convinced the company to increase the marketing support for the fundraiser this year and continue to drive awareness for it among Canadians.

“Our regular guests know about the fundraiser and have seen it promoted in stores and have participated before,” Fuoco says. “Last year we put a small amount of marketing support behind it to get the word out a bit more and we saw a significant increase in sales. Since we also have a simplified message for the charity and a value-based offer that’s already compelling, it made sense to take our marketing to the next level.”

The Boston Pizza Foundation has supported a range of different charities and initiatives since it was founded in 1990, such as Big Brother Big Sisters, JDRF Canada, Kids Help Phone, Live Different and the Rick Hansen Foundation. In 2014, it established the “Future Prospects” program, zeroing in on its work connecting children with role models to clarify its message for consumers. Ahead of this year’s Kids Card fundraiser, it worked with Taxi to further refine its messaging to show exactly where customers’ money goes.

“We helped quantify it for people by showing how that money has an impact,” Fuoco says. “For every $5 you give, that translates to a child spending one hour with a role model. It makes it very clear for people where their dollars are going, in a very real sense.”

Seeing where money is going also makes the fundraiser more compelling to parents seeking value for their money, a primary target for the campaign. That has been a long-standing target for the fundraiser, but Fuoco adds that the value proposition, combined with a clearer message around where that money goes, has also resulted in Boston Pizza broadening its target to people like grandparents, aunts and uncles.