Back-to-School Means Giving Back

Giving back to the community isn't just good Karma, it's good business.

By embracing and supporting social and economic causes companies can do a world of good for their brands and their reputations.

Many brands have found the back-to-school season presents a great opportunity to launch promotions and to gain some powerful goodwill. With this time of year also being the second-highest spending of the year, it makes sense from a PR and revenue-generating perspective for organizations to take advantage of the back-to-school season.

Here are five organizations that have put together successful education-oriented programs which are helping thousands of students, teachers and schools:

  1. Target: Target went to Facebook for its "Give With Target" promotion. Voters could choose the school of their choice, and for every 25 votes a school received, Target would donate a $25 gift card. The large amount of votes allowed Target to reach its goal of awarding $2.5 million in Target GiftCards to schools two weeks earlier than planned.The campaign produced the largest social media engagement in Target’s history.

  2. Office Depot -- Every student needs a backpack. With the help of NASCAR and entertainer Nick Cannon, The Office Depot Foundation will donate over 400,000 backpacks to needy students around the country. Office Depot is hosting events at 25 cities in the United States and Puerto Rico. A long-running initiative, this program has helped 2.9 million students since 2001

  3. Walmart: As a part of its "Teacher Rewards" program, Walmart donated $4.5 million to help 90,000 teachers buy school supplies. The program called for 4,600 stores to select a local kindergarten through eighth grade public school and provide $50 reward cards to 20 teachers.

  4. Staples: In partnership with, Staples launched a supplies drive in hopes of serving underprivileged students. Supplies can be dropped off at any Staples store and they will be sent to local non-profit organizations for proper placement.

  5. Clorox: Its "Power a Great Future" grant program is giving schools across the country a chance to win a $50,000 grant. In order to have a chance, nominations have to be submitted explaining how the school would use money. Clorox also provided a promotional kit on its Web site to promote and share the nomination. 

Follow Jamar Hudson: @jamarhudson