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Newsletter #786: The “Extra Cash” Issue

Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Sure, extra cash lying around might seem like a distant, nice-to-have problem. But in reality, you probably have more opportunities for creative uses of extra funds than you may realize. What to do:

1> Give it to charity
2> Save it for the next sale
3> Start a movement
4> Check it out: Third graders on why Pluto is a planet

1> Give it to charity

Everybody hates ATM fees. Few things are more frustrating than paying some anonymous entity a gouging fee for accessing your own money. But New York’s Choose Change ATM venture is changing the experience. They still charge a fee, but in doing so, they also let customers instantly donate a dollar of the fee to a charity of their choice. It’s a small tweak to the process that changes everything: Instead of an annoying fee, customers get to tell their friends how they helped a worthy cause. The lesson: Change the story about your buying experience by giving customers the chance to help a great nonprofit.

Learn more: PSFK

2> Save it for the next sale

If you help your customers save some cash, odds are they’ll have more to spend the next time they need what you offer. James Ready Beer’s recent billboard campaign is based on this idea. The billboards offer special coupons at local businesses — and with the money they save, James Ready lets them know how much they’ve got left for beer. There’s nothing fancy about the program, but it’s a simple way to get other businesses involved and talking about James Ready with their mutual customers.

The lesson: If you can help your customers save a little extra cash, there’s a good chance they’ll have more of it the next time they’re shopping with you.

Learn more: Adfreak

3> Start a movement

It might surprise you how little it can take to do something big. In 2001, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard along with friend Craig Matthews started the 1% For The Planet program — where companies pledge 1% of their sales to earth-friendly preservation and restoration projects. In less than a decade, more than 700 businesses around the world have signed up. And not only do they donate, they also collaborate, forge business relationships, and share ideas and resources amongst their fellow members.

The lesson: When you bring a bunch of smart, generous thinkers together, a little contribution from everyone can add up to significant results

Learn more: OnePercentForThePlanet.or

4> Check it out: Third graders on why Pluto is a planet

Pluto’s demotion from its planet status upset loyal third-grade fans. A bunch of them sent passionate (and often hilarious) letters arguing for the reinstatement of Pluto, and in a recent post Discover Magazine featured some of the best.

Check it out: Discover Magazine

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