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  • Laura Wessells

During Times of Crisis, Small Brands Can Make a Big Difference – Part 2

ShinePR has been inspired by three brands in our network that are small but mighty in terms of their dedication, determination, and resourcefulness. Each is making a positive impact by living its brand at this historic moment. Last week, we published the first article in a three-part series about how no brand is too small to make a difference. It profiled Adoptions Together and the services and programming they are providing Ukrainians locally. Today, we profile the second inspirational brand.



The Market at River Falls — Activating an Engaged Customer Base to Raise Ukrainian Relief Funds


The Market, located in Potomac, MD, is known for its customer service, its long-standing support for local food suppliers, and the strong roots it has in the community. Under the ownership of Jim McWhorter and Yasmin Abadian since 2014, the Market’s mission has been to act as a responsible member of its community, and over the years, the owners and Market have supported many causes and offered relief, including sending meals weekly to local first responders and health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. As customers became aware of the Market’s meals program, they rallied around the effort and offered financial help. One customer’s generosity, in particular, will be remembered. This customer, unrecognizable in a baseball cap, sunglasses, and mask that day, handed a significant donation to the owners and asked for it to go toward feeding the community's essential workers.


Fast forward to 2022 and the Ukraine crisis. Jim, Yasmin, and the Market team felt the same calling to help with humanitarian relief efforts halfway around the world. And they remembered how one anonymous act of generosity offered light during dark times. They decided to pay it forward.


What started as a single donation by the Market owners to a Ukrainian customer for relief efforts quickly transformed into an extraordinary community fundraising event at the Market that, during one weekend, contributed more than $37,000, after a corporate match, to the World Central Kitchen and the International Committee of the Red Cross. In the end, every dollar spent by customers during the fundraiser generated more than one dollar in donations.

Here are some insights into how the Market at River Falls created its successful fundraiser:

  • To promote the weekend event, the Market engaged with its customers through email and signage in the Market.

  • In its promotion of the event, the Market announced it would donate a percentage of the Market sales from the fundraising weekend. This announcement inspired several customers to come forward and donate a percentage of sales as co-sponsors of the event, which increased the funds raised.

  • For those who wanted to donate money directly, without a purchase, the Market set up a donation button on its website. Each donation was increased by the Market, as sponsor, and the co-sponsors who all donated a percentage match.

  • The Market identified a 100% corporate matching program that doubled the fundraised amount.


Does your brand have an engaged customer base you can easily reach?


Does your brand have the resources to make donations and explore matching programs?


Consider planning a fundraising event to bring your community together to make a big difference.

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