By spreading love for the locals, Destin Commons (Destin, USA) promises to start every shopping trip on a positive note. Opposite to other spots in the city, parking at the center is not a problem. With a focus on the local community, Destin Commons’ Coins for a Cause (CFAC) program gives the proceeds from the parking meters along the center’s interior streets to charities in the area. Described online as a win-win for shoppers, the program combines community and convenience for a long list of good causes.

Considered a main component of Destin Common’s annual strategic plan, CFAC lives as its own entity on the center’s website. For every contribution, the marketing team creates a press release and organizes a check presentation. Along with blog postings and sending e-blasts, the center relies on every partner of the program to display the CFAC logo on its website (with links to the program page) and promote the initiative via social channels. In addition to generating awareness digitally, Destin Commons uses in-center (22 x 28 posters) and on-meter signage, as well as public service announcements on the property and the radio, to spread the word and inform visitors about the donation process.

“The Coins for a Cause program not only enables us to donate funds directly to non-profit organizations, but it also allows us to host fundraising events for our partners. We allow charities to host their events at no charge on our property and supplement their goals by providing services and tools to ensure their success,” explained Heather Ruiz, director of marketing for Destin Commons.

Drawing crowds of all sizes (from 100 to 40,000 people) and raising money of all amounts (from US$3,000 to US$40,000), the team notes that CFAC events receive the highest social engagement and the most popular among them add to quality of life. The more activities there are on the calendar, the more the center will experience retailer participation and repeat visitation.

Spending less than US$10,000 on the campaign as a whole, Destin Commons counts on the generosity of its media partners. In addition to securing free air space as added value to its general media buy, the marketing team creates evergreen signage to print in bulk and re-use on every year. To maximize efficiency, it also uses current campaign buys, media space, and owned space.

Both on the curb and in the center, the Destin Commons team is counting pennies and making change.