Using Matching Funds Marketing Tactics: A Win-Win For Kids

Ok mathletes and marketing mavens…when does $125=$250?

The economy’s in the tank, and I want every penny leveraged to the max, so it makes sense that I’d wait until the ‘best year-end deal’ to gift to my favorite orgs using matching funds before Jan. 1.

Since I literally received an EASTER toy catalog promo the day after Christmas (ack!) I’ve decided my money’s going to CCFC where they’ve made huge impacts on curbing the commercialization of childhood using effective tactics far different than my own.

Shaping Youth is big on flipping media and marketing messages into positive spins, so I’m going to focus on some cool new uses to combat commercialization and impart ‘greater good’ goals, using this same marketing tactic of ‘matching funds.’

Seen the new site and Facebook app for Changing The Present yet? It takes those cute little $1 virtual presents and pairs them with icons that microfund meaningfully…Instead of teens sending just a “lip smooch” icon, it matches it with giving a child facial surgery to give them a smile, for example! (cool shades represent the gift of sight, etc.) Very positive way to leverage impact, have fun, and make a difference too…Full feature to come…

Same goes with matching funds to   deeds and actions in virtual worlds like Elf Island’s GoodQuests where kids can make real world impact by mirroring their efforts online to help nonprofits offline. (e.g. As their blog shows, right now, for every 10,000 virtual houses kids build, a REAL house will be completed via Habitat for Humanity, and kids get to SEE their efforts taking place along the way!)

Stay tuned for a full feature next week about Elf Island to kick off the New Year with our positive picks in using media and marketing powerfully! (shades of and!)

Prefer to unplug media yet use the ‘matching funds/more bang for the buck’ tactic?

Leverage the ‘year-end’ marketing urgency of ‘challenge grants’ with win-win behavioral outcomes among kids AND parents…Example?

At the beginning of winter break, I told my 13-year old I’d ‘match funds’ if SHE could earn her own cash for her $20/month ‘unlimited texting’ desires which I don’t have ANY inclination to pay.

She’s realized this is a ‘limited time offer’ by the end of break, so she’s pet-sitting, doing flyers for child care, and making money like mad via resale of her outgrowns and unused ‘not quite me’ gifts by toting them into the local ‘next to new’ teen hub.

She’s cleaned out her closet faster than any winter break project I’ve ever attempted…

Point? Just like marketers tap into ‘motivators,’ parents can create some massive mindshifts in money management and creative financing using a deadline driven race against the clock and a simple ‘if this, then this’corollary…

Matching funds in double whammy style doesn’t have to even be ‘funds’ either…

…It can be chores, privileges, or any 2 for 1 ‘deal’…

Who knows? Maybe kids can use ‘limited time only’ incentives-based offers to ‘double down’ negotiations for responsibilities, privileges, and ‘act now’ offers?

Think of all the cajoling wiggle-room for brick wall encounters involving curfew times, foregoing Aunt Ethel’s boring holiday tea, New Year sleepovers, etc. by coming up with some fun entrepreneurial promos or ‘value-adds.’ (“gee, mom, if I can just this once skip the x chore, I’ll do x and y next week instead!’ )

Um…Can you tell I’ve been re-reading my dog-eared copy of ‘Getting to Yes’ written by the Harvard Program on Negotiation? (hint: Harvard’s $2 digital download here for high school students called ‘Working it Out’ )

Anyway, CCFC’s year-end ‘matching funds’ appeal is a small way to make a big difference giving voice to an advocacy arm that has championed kids’ rights to be kids, and parents’ belief that they shouldn’t have to be ‘at war’ for the hearts and minds of their offspring, ‘outgunned’ by media firepower…

Whether it’s the $17 billion in direct target marketing of kids, the peer pester factor of influence-peddling to the tune of $500 billion in kids under 12, or the behavioral trends giving ‘weary parents’ a head nod that the big bucks ‘onslaught’ is NOT imaginary… I urge those of us IN this industry to ‘see the elephant in the living room’ and pay heed.

Together, we can mobilize the use of media and marketing for healthier messages, positive cues, and ‘selling cool’ in responsible ways that benefit the greater good…NOT for heaping more stress on families during this economic crisis hawking superfluous ‘fluff-n-stuff’ that fouls up kids’ health.

Like? Let’s see…Kiddie toy temptations selling fast food meals to the tune of $1.2 billion, or instilling $3.4 billion in ‘princess’ power only to have the beauty and diet industry sell off the junk food obesity/weight gain and ‘not pretty enough’ appearance cues a couple years later…

If we don’t stop marketing and merchandising with ‘age compression’ tactics (e.g. PG-13 blockbuster toys to preschoolers, shoot-em ups to wee ones) then we’ll be ‘matching funds many times over’ to clean up the physical and emotional mess of early sexualization, objectification, acting out and other perma-scars that surface from dumb and dumber media and marketing ideas gone haywire.

I can’t think of a better way to end the year with a new beginning…

For industry people to dial down the damage, pump up the promise and use the power of media and marketing for youth doing GOOD things on the planet.

Meanwhile…CCFC, my matching funds are headed your way…I encourage any and all to join in their challenge grant.

And on the homefront? I’ll let you know how my ‘teen texting challenge grant’ works out…

I have a feeling my thumb is going to be tabbin’ through some green so her thumb can tap into her peer posse without keeping count of every “‘sup? and ‘hey.”

I wrote about kids’ media management/sample cellphone contracts along with Vanessa Van Petten On Teens Today when our texting went awry last time. She learned to manage, monitor, and comply to earn her privileges back by using a prepaid countdown of minutes…So even though she’ll have to pay the bills thereafter, I really have no excuse if she pulls this matching funds biz out of her magic hat, as a deal’s a deal…

Our media contract is another story, as we’ve been updating that one with caveats up the wazoo.

Sooooo….Any of you have tips to share? Youth advisors? Teen texters? Parent peers? Words of wisdom for starting the New Year off right?

Meanwhile, here’s CCFC’s trailer from their great new film called Consuming Kids.

Shaping Youth will be showing it throughout the S.F. Bay Area in 2009 for parent education and youth awareness…Grab some popcorn and join in the fun!

CCFC’s Consuming Kids Trailer (movie TRT: 67 minutes, available at MEF, trailer 5:24min.)

“We have become a nation that places a lower priority on teaching its children how to thrive socially, intellectually, even spiritually, than it does on training them to consume.”

—Juliet Schor, author of Born to Buy

Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood Back of DVD blurb:

“…Drawing on the insights of health care professionals, children’s advocates, and industry insiders, the film focuses on the explosive growth of child marketing in the wake of deregulation, showing how youth marketers have used the latest advances in psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience to transform American children into one of the most powerful and profitable consumer demographics in the world.”

“…Consuming Kids pushes back against the wholesale commercialization of childhood, raising urgent questions about the ethics of children’s marketing and its impact on the health and well-being of kids.”

Support CCFC with their year-end matching funds here…

Visual Credits: Texting cartoon from “Clint’s Blog” –CCFC Bratz/Axe mashup from CCFC. (yes, they were integral in getting Bratz books expelled from the Scholastic school book fair offerings, and Mattel took care of the rest, woohoo! 😉



  1. I think it’s just wonderful how everyone can get together for a good cause! Thanks for support Hab for. Human!

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