BoldOrange Launches Gift Card Program to Aid Nonprofits
BoldOrange headquarters in Minneapolis (pre-coronavirus). Photos courtesy of Bold Orange

BoldOrange Launches Gift Card Program to Aid Nonprofits

With charitable donations down due to Covid-19, the Minneapolis communications agency got GiftCardAid.com up and running in three weeks.

The overarching goal of BoldOrange Company (BOCO) is “to drive personalization and purpose between brands and local communities,” says CEO Margaret Murphy. So when the Minneapolis-based strategic communications agency, which specializes in loyalty marketing, noticed brands and communities across the nation struggling as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, it wanted to help.

Leveraging insights from its nonprofit-focused division ShopWithScript and its relationships with big brands, Bold Orangerecently launched a new service, GiftCardAid.com, an e-commerce site that offers discounted gift cards to nonprofits with the goal of helping all entities involved.

GiftCardAid.com allows nonprofits, like United Way, Catholic Charities, and Avivo—as well as other charitable organizations across the country—to quickly secure gift cards for more than 100 stores, restaurants and services including Target, Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart, Speedway, Chipotle, and Safeway.

Bold Orange had been planning GiftCardAid.com, but the pandemic accelerated its launch by more than a year. As Murphy shared, it came together in just three weeks.

TCB: Has your agency lost work because of coronavirus?

BoldOrange001.jpgMurphy |  We have not lost work due to the coronavirus, but we have seen business development and certain projects slow down. Notoriously, marketing budgets are among the first to get slashed during a downturn. However, since we serve as a direct line to customers through email and loyalty programs, having that connection is more important than ever. Having the ability to identify and analyze customer journeys and then bring them to life on the web, as well as through email and social, is proving to be the most cost effective and measurable way for brands to drive sales and retention.

TCB: How has your work changed or been disrupted by coronavirus?

A | We have had an uptick in health care, retail, and product sales companies reaching out to get help in the areas of email strategy and segmentation as well as how to nurture and retain their customer base. Our offering is proving to be more needed than ever as business-to-business and business-to-consumer brands are having to move and engage online faster than ever for survival.
Within our ShopWithScrip division, we pivoted and launched a new service, GiftCardAid.com, where we offer over 100 gift card brands in the areas of grocery, clothing, gas, dining, and other essential services at a discount. These discounted gift cards can be purchased in bulk and used by nonprofits to support those in need, making their donation dollars and community impact go farther.

TCB: How were you able get this off the ground quickly? 

A | Because of our existing capabilities connecting brands with local communities nationwide, we were in a unique and fortuitous position to serve those communities during this crisis through the launch of GiftCardAid.com. We already have dozens of nonprofits taking advantage of this service all over the country, and are fortunate that over 100 brands are willing to sell their gift cards at a discount to make it happen.

TCB: Do you anticipate GiftCardAid.com being a lasting platform after the pandemic?

A | This will be a lasting platform. Using our gift card offering and distribution center for nonprofit services—in addition to what we use it for today around school, athletic, and church fundraising—was always on our roadmap. Covid-19 accelerated its launch by over a year. We looked around during the early days of the crisis and asked ourselves what we could do. We knew we had gift cards for essential services, we knew our brand partners like Target, Walmart, and Best Buy wanted to help, and we knew we could get them to nonprofits nationally. We organized a small team within the company led by our Senior Director of Strategy, Spencer Smith, and we launched GiftCardAid.com within about 3 weeks.

TCB: Anything else you’re able to do right now to create new streams of revenue?

A | Yes, we are creating enhanced streams of revenue around helping business-to-business companies who are used to selling via an in-person salesforce now move some of their go-to-market strategies online. We are also helping brands who saw their email and social channels as a side project now realize they are essential assets from which they can communicate their value, their products, and their commitment.

TCB: Any bright spots in this crisis that you can share?

A | There have been many bright spots throughout this crisis:

  • Clients have shown they care about us, as well as their own employees, and about strengthening those relationships.
  • Bold Orange was nationally recognized by Inc. Magazine as a Best Place to Work for 2020 during the crisis.
  • We supported Polaris in their launch of the Click, Deliver, Ride offering they brought to market in response to Covid-19.
  • We used our assets and talents to launch GiftCardAid.com and have helped nonprofits like the United Way support those in need in New York, the epicenter of the U.S. pandemic.
  • As a team, we went to fully working from home, which has given us an even greater appreciation for each other and the need for strong communication. We’ve kept it interesting and personal even though we aren’t together. We’ve had employees announce pregnancies, announce first time home buying, as well as introduce us to their new pets during Zoom meetings.