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Smiles for Soldiers

ericshainock's picture

Corporate philanthropy isn't a new topic - organizations have written checks to non-profits or causes that it's passionate about. In today's digital and social world, there are many mediums to allow brands to target a specific audience via digital channels, while still engaging in corporate philanthropy. is an organization with over 5.3 million members; specifically, young people. They help tackle volunteer campaigns that impact every cause imaginable. DoSomething has partnered with Johnson & Johnson to create the Smiles for Soldiers campaign. It's quite simple - military members make the sacrifice of spending long periods of time away from family and friends, which can disconnect them from a normal world. Smiles for Soldiers encourages users to send a thank-you card to a military service member. This can help a service member feel connected to home and to citizens of the country they serve. It is such a simple campaign that can go a long way to making our military feel appreciated, and Johnson & Johnson is spearheading the campaign.

If users sign up and send thank-you cards, they will be entered to win a $5,000 scholarship and the chance to be selected as one of eleven Johnson & Johnson Youth Champions of Care. There are many prizes that consumers can win, including a trip for two to a U.S. Women's National Team match in the fall, a service activity in that market and the opportunity to meet Landon Donovan. By integrating a sports component (ie: tickets, a meet & greet), the campaign creates once in a lifetime experiences for consumers, without much of a commitment from the athlete or event. This gives Johnson & Johnson an opportunity to reach young millennials through DoSomething as well as the muscle to get the campaign off the ground in order for it to be successful.

Corporate philanthropy best practices include energizing a movement of people (ie: DoSomething) in order to make a global impact. Millennials want to play a small role in changing the world, either through vocation or advocation. Everyone knows someone who is serving our country, so by focusing the campaign around our service members, it opens the campaign to a wide demographic of people.

Eric Shainock works for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital as an Account Representative in the Strategic Partnerships division after previously working at Intersport, a sports marketing agency. He is a 2014 graduate of the Ohio University Sports Administration Graduate Program. Feel free to reach out via email: or on Twitter: @ericshainock.


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