Raise More Money from Businesses with Pinups

Photo courtesy of Emily Kokernak

You’ve probably never heard of the word “pinups” before but I bet you’ve bought one. Pinups are paper icons that cashiers sell at the register for a buck or two and the money goes to charity. The cashier will ask you, “Would you like to donate a dollar to [insert cause here]?” There’s a spot on the pinup where you can put your name for all to see when it’s displayed in the store. There are variations to this basic program, but this is how most pinup programs work.

Pinups are just one name for these register programs. People call them paper plaques, mobiles, paper icons, and scannables, to name a few. I prefer pinups because my friend Noland Hoshino likes to call me The Pinup King. And let’s face it, The Scannable King just wouldn’t sound right.

A recent example of a successful pinup program is The Great American Shake Sale between Shake Shack and Share Our Strength. In just a few weeks, Shake Shack blew through their original goal of $25,000 and raised over $135,000. And they reached this incredible number with just ten stores participating. One location in New York City raised over $28,000.

Shake Shack’s success wasn’t a fluke. This is how they did it.

They laid the groundwork.

For Shake Shack it started last year when SOS’s founder and CEO, Billy Shore, spoke to the team at Shake Shack about SOS’s goal to childhood hunger. “It lit a fire for giving and inspired us to create the Great American Shake Sale,” said Randy Garutti, Shake Shack’s CEO. Building a successful pinup program takes time. Begin by getting buy-in from the people who will be pitching the program to other employees and to customers.

They trained employees.

With the help of Share Our Strength, Shake Shack trained its staff to educate guests about No Kid Hungry and the issue of childhood hunger. As someone who’s done his share of pinup programs, the most important element of the program is the ask at the register. Shake Shack made the ask a priority.

They had fun.

Sadly, there aren’t any Shake Shacks in my hometown of Boston. But my friend Emily Kokernak, a nonprofit executive that’s a regular customer at Shake Shack’s Battery Park location in New York City, reported that the store had a party-like atmosphere. “They were just having fun with the program,” explained Emily, who snapped the picture at the top of this post.

They incentivized customers.

This could have easily been my first–and only–point. There’s no doubt Shake Shack’s offer to reward donors with a $5 shake played a big role in the success of the program. Donate $2 and get a delicious five dollar shake for free? It’s a no brainer. Incentives work with customers. I learned this firsthand as I’ve used coupons in my pinup programs.

Interested in learning more about pinups? Visit my blog to learn about three more successful pinup programs and how you can create and execute your very own six-figure pinup program.

Joe Waters blogs at Selfishgiving.com