Starbucks program serves US economy
Starbucks already has a reputation as a company committed to social change — see, for example, the line of Ethos Water that they carry — so it comes as no surprise that the company is throwing its hat into the philanthropic ring yet again. This time, Starbucks is focusing on stimulating the economy. By pairing up with the Opportunity Finance Network, a nonprofit organization that aims to give loans to small businesses, Starbucks hopes to help spur economic growth, something that our country dearly needs these days. Their method of fundraising, however, is what’s interesting. The company will be asking its patrons for donations of $5 or more starting Nov. 1, compared to other companies, which usually ask for much smaller donations when they engage in this sort of charity work. The relatively hefty $5 minimum donation may seem like a hurdle at first, but given Starbucks’s clientele, we can easily foresee this being a success.
It is not uncommon for a place like Starbucks to ask its patrons for donations to go toward charitable causes. Usually, though, companies only ask for much smaller donations at the register, perhaps a dollar or two. That’ s why Starbucks’s $5 minimum comes as a bit of a surprise. Given that the economy is in such poor form so as to require aid in the first place, it’s odd that Starbucks would ask its patrons to reach so deeply into their pockets to give. But one must remember that Starbucks is a pretty upscale coffee shop. Its regular patrons tend to be of the higher tax brackets, making it more likely that they’ll be willing to give. Plus, Starbucks is in and of itself a status symbol already. There’s a chance that its patrons will give solely as a means of demonstrating their class status even more. Even if the donations come from a place of self-congratulations, they’re still going to a good cause. We’re willing to overlook it for the sake of economic stimulus.
Also, the $5 minimum has the added bonus of making it more likely that Starbucks will collect a good amount of money with these efforts. Even if fewer people give because of the steep price tag, the gifts the company does receive will be high enough that they should easily make up for any lost donors. On the flip side, the high minimum may even end up attracting more donors than usual. The prospect of being asked to give so much may make people feel like they’ re really making a difference by donating, prompting them to say yes at the register.