Visitors to Chico's website or its brands' Facebook pages can create virtual cards that will be printed and delivered to children's hospitals.
Women's clothing retailer Chico's FAS, which operates the brands Chico's, White House Black Market, Soma Intimates and Boston Proper, has launched a social campaign, Send a Smile, in partnership with digital engagement agency ePrize to create digital cards that will be printed out for children in hospitals.
For each card created, Chico's will donate $1 up to $50,000 to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, a nonprofit raising funds and awareness for local children's hospitals in North America.
The initiative is part of Chico's third May is For Miracles campaign, but 2013 marks only the second year Send a Smile has been available.
Last year, over 53,000 Send a Smile cards were created in four weeks, says Jessica Wells, vice president of social marketing at Chico's FAS. (The first May is for Miracles campaign included the donation of proceeds from the sale of bracelets, which is part of the promotion this year as well.)
Through May 31, participants can visit Chico's website or the four brands' Facebook pages and click on the "Help Kids in Need!" tab to access the card creator app.
In order to send a card, users select an animal, background and message. They then select a hospital from a drop-down menu -- either those hospitals "close to you" or from an alphabetical list of states -- and are given the option to include their first name and last initial.
"You can choose a hospital that has meaning for you, whether that's local or it can be another hospital if you have ties," Wells says.
As of Friday, 5,400 cards had been created so far this year.
After they have been created, users can share cards on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and via email. Participants can also share the card creator itself via Facebook, Twitter, email, Google+ and Pinterest.
EPrize will then print the cards and deliver them to each hospital. Based on the experience last year, Wells says card printing and delivery require about three weeks from the end of the campaign.
According to Chico's, the goal of Send a Smile is "to raise funds and put a smile on the faces of thousands of children."
"Last year we sat down and thought, ‘How are we going to use the power of our store brands to get the word out about Children's Miracle Network and our commitment to helping raise awareness and funds?' and we came up with the idea for Send a Smile," Wells says. "Send a Smile is unique -- it's national in scope, but uniquely local in nature."
According to Chico's, the parent company is "a cultivator of brands serving the lifestyle needs of fashion-savvy women 30 years and older."
Wells says many of the brand's customers are mothers and grandmothers. When surveyed about philanthropy and charity, Chico's discovered its customers' passion for helping children, which makes Children's Miracle Network a good fit, Wells says.
White House Black Market is the most popular of Chico's brands on Facebook with 598,000 fans. Boston Proper is on the other end of the spectrum with 81,000 fans.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
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