Bank of America donated $250,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) through its social, statesmanlike Express Your Thanks campaign. The WWP, based in Jacksonville, FL, strives to raise awareness and recruit aid to help injured service men and women.
“It should come as no surprise that this campaign was met with overwhelming enthusiasm from day one,” said Jeff Cathey, senior military affairs executive at Bank of America, in a press release . “Americans are incredibly appreciative of those who serve, and thousands took advantage of a simple yet meaningful way to show their support.”
The campaign, which ran from September 7 to November 11, encouraged citizens to upload pictures and thankful messages for veterans and active troop members onto Bank of America’s campaign website. The banking giant donated $1 for each upload, up to $250,000, on behalf of each image and message poster.
“Thank you to every last member of our troops for protecting our freedom and families,” posted elsa.long.1. “We continue to send our prayers, support, and love!”
Bank of America put a social spin on its patriotic pledge by donating $1 each time an Instagram user uploaded an image with the hashtag #troopthanks and by sharing pictures on the company’s Facebook page. The accumulated photos were compiled together into a video and a mosaic that were shared on the campaign website and the bank’s Facebook page.
The financial institution also took the campaign to the streets by promoting the Express Your Thanks campaign offline at local events, including the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, the Bank of America 500, and sporting events for the Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, and Washington Redskins.
AG Salesworks VP of Marketing Richard April says there’s a distinguishable difference between marketing a product or service and marketing a philanthropic campaign.
“Marketing a service or product differs from marketing a charitable organization primarily in the acceptance of the significantly more aggressive approach…charitable organizations [may] take,” April says. “Whether it be the heart wrenching messaging, graphic images, or imposing prospecting techniques, charitable organizations can push the limits far more than commercial marketers can.”
However, April advises companies to take the subtle, humble route with philanthropic messaging to avoid appearing too over-the-top.
“For businesses that want to embark on marketing philanthropic campaigns, it is important that they don’t come off as overly self-serving with this initiative,” April says. “This can be achieved with messaging that focuses on the business wanting to give back to the community…. The campaigns and their messaging should be humble, authentic, and appreciative, avoiding anything grandiose. It would also be wise to avoid over-marketing these campaigns, but find subtle ways to encourage involvement of your target audience in the cause.”
According to the bank’s website, Bank of America has been supporting U.S. troops for more than 90 years by providing services for a number of organizations, including Student Veterans of America, Military Saves, Special Operations Warrior Foundations, and the National Disability Institute. Bank of America also employs more than 6,000 active service members and veterans, according to the company’s website. Additionally, the organization recently tweeted its $1 million pledge to help provide jobs for veterans by teaming up with the George W. Bush Presidential Center.