Monday, May 21, 2012

Generosity Is Not A Technique

Among the fifty coffee shops in my neighborhood, Postmark Cafe is always slammed.

Not just because the location is ideal, the wifi is free, the coffee is organic, the food is tasty, the staff is friendly, the music is cool and the art is inspiring.

But because they donate one hundred percent of their tips to charity.
Every month, they select a organization that does meaningful work in the world, whether it’s donating livestock to poor countries or building wells in drought prone areas of Africa. They write a summary of that group’s mission on the chalkboard to inform customers exactly where the money is going. And at the end of the month, they post the total amount donated on the wall, then keep it on the wall until the next month.
Now, I’ve see a lot of companies donate to charity. But there’s something special about the way Postmark approaches their generosity.

First, they select a new cause every month, which allows them to reach diverse organizations. Second, they let their customers have a say in the causes they select, which gives them ownership of the process. Third, they make their financial information public and handwritten, which demonstrates accountability and transparency. And lastly, their donations actually come from people’s pockets each month, not just from the president writing a check at the end of the year and forgetting about it until tax season.

That’s straight class.

What have you declined this week?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Writing, Publishing, Performing, Consulting

My job is to help companies make their mission more than a statement, using limited edition social artifacts.

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