If a year of sheltering in place has had one positive effect, let it be this: We’re all a little more familiar with our neighbors and communities. And the more you know your neighbors, the more inclined you are to support them – in times of need and otherwise. That’s where myWalgreens and its partnership with in/PACT comes in, to offer customers a simple and informed way to give back locally.
Available in the myWalgreens app and on the website, customers can now donate Walgreens Cash rewards* to local and national nonprofits of their choosing. To make a donation, myWalgreens members can visit mywalgreens.com and log in to their account. Customers that are not currently myWalgreens members but wish to join may also visit mywalgreens.com for more information. Every few months, new nonprofit organizations will be rotated in to keep choices fresh, educational and timely. Making these digital donations possible is in/PACT, a charitable giving platform that empowers customers to direct rewards to charities of their choice.
Learn more about the new donation feature from John McNeel, CEO of in/PACT, and Alyssa Raine, group vice president, customer marketing platforms at Walgreens.
What inspired Walgreens to add a donation feature online and through the app?
Alyssa Raine: In talking with our customers and our team members, we learned that taking care of the community is important to people, and it was one of the top things they wanted from myWalgreens. It’s only become more important as we’ve gone through a global pandemic together. For Walgreens, it was crucial to help our customers support their community in ways that were as easy as possible.
Why is in/PACT a great partner in helping Walgreens customers support their communities?
John McNeel: We see ourselves as being part of the movement to democratize giving. Part of that is creating more opportunities for more people to give more often to more charities. There’s no doubt that large, national nonprofits do important work, but we specifically showcase the work that local nonprofits are doing in their communities. On that notion of democratizing giving, the question is, how do we help people in their communities not only give to, but discover nonprofits? I think an important part of our platform is the discovery and education around nonprofits and the important work they're doing.
All of the local and national nonprofit organizations in myWalgreens will be chosen based on their impact on youth, community and social impact, and health equity. How were those areas determined?
McNeel: That was decided in partnership with Walgreens. A lot of what we wanted to do in bringing this program to life is to represent Walgreens’ core values. Health and wellness play a huge part in the way Walgreens shows up for its communities. By offering this donation option on a digital platform, we are opening up the feature to a younger generation. As Alyssa said, we're going through a global pandemic. So I think a lot of people today are very attuned to what groups of people in their communities need the most attention and the most help. We chose focus areas that reflect what customers’ priorities are in alignment with Walgreens’ values.
Raine: I echo that we wanted to ensure that the charities that we were focusing on reinforced the purpose and priorities of Walgreens, which are really community and health. When you think about some of the big programs we already have with Red Nose Day, Get a Shot, Give a Shot and Vitamin Angels, those are focused on youth and health equity. So ultimately, youth, community and social impact and health equity were the areas we chose to source local nonprofits through to support myWalgreens.
What is the customer experience like?
McNeel: We spent a lot of time in the design of our platform and the user experience in the myWalgreens app to ensure that it is a discovery process. First and foremost, it is hyper-localized, so depending on where you're shopping or where your account is located, you'll see a different set of nonprofits. When you access the app, you’ll be presented with one national and three local charities that correspond to the cause areas, and are in the area near your Walgreens store. So it cements the local community connection. Customers can click on the nonprofit website and learn more about the mission and work that it’s doing. We put a lot of effort into ensuring that as people participate in this experience, it’s a meaningful one in terms of what they can learn.
Raine: In terms of health alerts in the myWalgreens app, that hyper-localization works to let you know about flu or allergens in your area. To mirror that, we are delivering information to you about local nonprofits. We’ve made it as easy as possible to connect you and support your local community using technology to drive positive impact.
McNeel: Another one of our mantras is to connect purpose to purchase. As people shop, we want them to understand that they're earning rewards, because this is first and foremost a loyalty program. It’s thanking and recognizing customers with the Walgreens Cash rewards that they earn. You can, of course, use the rewards to buy a candy bar or shampoo. But helping people discover that some of their dollars could be used for something very meaningful, and to help people discover their own passion points, is an important part of what we’re doing.
Who are some of the first national nonprofit organizations you’re partnering with?
Raine: Comic Relief U.S.’s Red Nose Day, Susan G. Komen and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society are some of our longstanding partners, and then of course we’ll be building onto it with the local partners.
What will be the benefit of incorporating new nonprofit options as time goes on?
McNeel: That’s based on insight that there are a lot of deserving nonprofits operating in communities across the country. As Walgreens extends its reach into these communities, you want to give opportunities for other nonprofits that are doing awesome work to be on the platform. A large part of what we do is about amplifying the mission of these nonprofits. In addition to the money that they can receive from generous Walgreens customers, the customers in turn learn about the missions of these nonprofits. By refreshing the options, it keeps it an ongoing process of people learning about other organizations in the community and extending the impact.
There are also opportunities at different moments in time to showcase certain types of nonprofits, which could either be related to an event or calendar of giving, or it could be related to something that happens in the world. The pandemic obviously drove a lot of people's generosity in terms of giving back to their communities. We want this program to be responsive, not only to what's important to people in their communities, but what's happening in the world.
Have you donated yet?
Raine: I have, and I had so much fun the first time I did it. My kids enjoy donating through my account, too, so it's a way to teach the next generation that is very digitally savvy how they can make a difference.
I encourage our team members to try it out so that they can see what it feels like to give back and to give back locally to their community. We can speak to our customers about it authentically if we are walking the walk ourselves. When you think about the impact we have, and the fact that we have 8 million people in our stores or interacting with us every single day, making it easier for them to help somebody else is going to have a big impact. And if we make it easy, if you make it delightful, it’s going to go a long way.
Relationships matter, taking care of your neighbor matters. When you see that they're going through hardship, taking care of them feels really good.
McNeel: Today more than ever, the world is looking for more opportunities for people to give. Nonprofits have actually suffered a lot during the pandemic because a lot of the access they had to fundraising platforms and events has been cut off. The ability for people to give through digital channels and for brands like Walgreens to stand up and help people do that is really important to the welfare of a lot of nonprofits across the country. There’s a lot of good and there’s a lot of heart in this program in terms of helping nonprofits keep doing the awesome work they do every day.
*Walgreens Cash rewards can be redeemed as a donation to designated charities as shown in your myWalgreens™ account. For details, visit myWalgreens.com.