In Saudi culture, charity is a duty. It’s part of everyone’s life, especially during the holy month of Ramadan. And with the rising cost of living in the kingdom, more citizens are aware of the need to help one another. But not often do we find them approaching the subject with an activation worthy of global brands.
Recently, a Saudi citizen in the city of Hail placed a refrigerator in front of his house and encouraged residents of the area to donate leftover food to help the needy, sparing them the shame of asking for food. A Saudi cleric, Sheikh Mohammed al-Arefe, confirmed this in a tweet, saying: “I’ve always said the people of Hail are generous. A man puts a refrigerator in front of his house for leftover food; an indirect act of charity for the needy. Oh how I love you Hail!”
The tweet received an overwhelming response from al-Arefe’s followers, who re-tweeted it more than 7,000 times. More people are now encouraging this idea with the month of Ramadan approaching.
Photo Credit: MohamadAlarefe
One particularly sad truth of the recession is a sharp decline in charitable giving. From 2007, voluntary income among the U.K.’s top 1,000 charities has fallen by more than a fifth, according to The Charities Foundation. One major reason is a decrease in regular giving by direct debit as people struggle to justify the monthly expenditure. In response to these changing habits, JWT London teamed up with supermarket chain Budgens to pilot a new fundraising mechanism that aims to make charitable giving habitual again, by turning it into an impulse purchase.
Engraved wooden blocks branded HOPE sit on store shelves and can be scanned at the checkout along with the rest of a consumer’s shopping. A £1 donation is then automatically sent to the Alzheimer’s Society, the first charity to sign up for the initiative. The block is subsequently returned to the shelf. The aim is to target consumers when they are spending money but at the same time make the process continuous, as much a part of their everyday lives as the weekly grocery shop. The initiative is being trialed in two London stores with a view to expand if it proves successful. Here’s hoping HOPE catches on.
Photo Credit: JWT