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Rite Aid mobilizes annual charity program to drive additional donations

Rite Aid kicked off its 18th annual Miracle Balloon campaign on April 1 benefitting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and, for the first time, is giving customers a way to make a donation via their handsets.

As in the past, Rite Aid shoppers are invited to support their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital by buying a $1 paper Miracle Balloon at any of the drugstores locations. This year, shoppers can also text a keyword to a short code to make a $5 donation to their hospital via their mobile phones.

“We are offering mobile giving to give our customers an alternate, convenient way to give to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals,” said Ashley Flower, a spokeswoman for Rite Aid, Camp Hill, PA.

“We are excited to use this technology in our campaign for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals,” she said. “We are hoping it will help us increase our fundraising results for this most-worthy cause.”

Mobile giving
In 2011, Rite Aid raised $4.5 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. With the new mobile and social giving components, the 2012 goal is to raise $5 million.

Rite Aid shoppers can text “RAKIDS” to 50555 to make a donation. Charges will appear on a customer’s wireless bill or be deducted from a prepaid balance. Additionally, message and data rates may apply.

Mobile Accord’s MGive platform is powering the mobile donation strategy for Rite Aid.

“The fastest growing philanthropic fundraising method – actually, the fastest fundraising channel in history – is mobile donations through text,” said James Eberhard, founder and CEO of Mobile Accord.

“Texting can better inspire donors to give through the one communication vehicle they can access at almost at any time to make a donation,” he said.

“In a partnership such as this, mobile is a natural choice to drive donations because people can support this cause without breaking their routine while shopping.  mGive’s mobile campaign is a way CMN can connect more easily and frequently to donors, potential donors, volunteers –  anyone interested in saving children through CMN.”

The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals fundraising effort is just one of the ways that Rite Aid is building its mobile strategy this year.

The drugstore chain also launched its first mobile site last week to make it easy for on-the-go customers to refill prescriptions and manage their loyalty account (see story).

Social good
The fundraising effort also has a social media component. Rite Aid’s Facebook page features a “donate” button directing Rite Aid fans to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital donation site.

Rite Aid Facebook fans can also make a pledge to support their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital and share the pledge with their social networks. If 10,000 pledges are made, the Rite Aid Foundation will donate an additional $10,000 to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Fans will also be able to share inspirational stories about their local CMN Hospital.

Customers who purchase a Miracle Balloon will receive $7 in coupon offers good for a variety of popular products sold at Rite Aid.

The campaign runs through May 19.

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals operates 170 children’s hospitals throughout North America.

“We see corporate and cause partnerships thriving when utilizing a mobile giving strategy with mGive,” Mr. Eberhard said.

“Incorporating our mobile donation system enables our partners to move beyond just raising money – it increases awareness and gains additional exposure for the cause,” he said. “Making mobile donations with mGive is impacting social change quicker than any other method.