The Chocolate for a Cause fundraising program gives retailers and their customers the opportunity to raise money for charities.
World’s Finest Chocolate, Inc. has raised more than $8 million for charity through its fundraising program that connects retailers, their shoppers and charities.
Based in Chicago, World’s Finest is a third generation, family-owned company that has been making chocolate for nearly 80 years. In 2015, the company launched “Chocolate for a Cause,” a fundraising program that allows retailers to partner with the company to raise money for charities and nonprofit organizations.
World’s Finest CEO Eddie Opler says fundraising efforts like Chocolate for a Cause are more important than ever amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“People love our chocolate, and they love to know they are helping out a good cause,” he tells Candy & Snack TODAY. “The Chocolate for a Cause program is a win-win-win — it helps the retailers who then help their charity, and the customer gets a delicious bar of chocolate.”
Sales Manager Emily Topp adds that 2020 was the biggest year for Chocolate for a Cause since its inception.
“Our program is the perfect way to help charities during the global pandemic, which has highlighted some of the need in our country,” she explains, adding that retailers have found it to be a very effective way to support their charity partners, who have had a difficult time raising money in the past year.
Topp notes that the program is very flexible, allowing retailers to customize it to their specific needs and capabilities.
“This program is tailored for the retail landscape,” she explains. “There has been nothing but positive feedback from our retail partners, and almost all have repeated the program making it bigger and better.”
The chocolate bars, made in Chicago, always cost consumers $1 with a portion of the sale being donated to a charity of the retailers choosing.
Retailers are able to have personalized counter displays with their logo and messaging, along with details on the charity that is benefiting from the program. Each display holds five flavors of the bars — milk chocolate, dark chocolate, caramel, crisp and almond.
Topp adds that the program builds relationships between consumers, retailers and charities. “The retailer chooses the charity to benefit and then gets to own that relationship,” she tells Candy & Snack TODAY. “They get to literally hand the check to them in the end.”
Retailers, Charities Speak Out On The Program
Many retailers have participated in Chocolate for a Cause across all classes of trade, including dollar, convenience, hardware, drug and grocery, according to Topp.
“If you walk into retailers including Dollar General, Family Dollar and ACE Hardware, you might see our chocolate bars in special displays at the register as part of this program,” she says. The company says the brand has a high level of awareness among consumers who have sold the bars through school fundraisers for years.
Recently, TravelCenters of America, Inc. participated and was able to donate $24,960 to the St. Christopher Trucker’s Relief Fund (SCF).
Donna Kennedy, SCF executive director, says the group is grateful for companies like TravelCenters of America for committing to furthering the mission of the nonprofit — offering financial assistance to ill or injured professional drivers along with health and wellness programs.
Another benefit from the program is the store-level engagement with philanthropic efforts, a priority for World’s Finest Chocolates, which uses “We Fund Communities” and “We Fund Charities” as its mottos.
Employees are excited and get one-on-one interaction with shoppers to make a donation by buying a chocolate bar, Topp says. When the program is over, they are proud to have been such an integral part of doing something good, she notes.
“My grandfather pioneered the product fundraising business,” Opler tells Candy & Snack TODAY. “When the Zion High School band director called to ask if his students could sell our chocolate to raise money for a band competition back in 1949, my grandfather jumped at the opportunity. And now, 72 years later, we’ve helped organizations raise more than $4.4 billion.”
This year, World’s Finest Chocolate anticipates selling about 25 million chocolate bars through the Chocolate for a Cause program.