I work for Doctors Without Borders and one of our major initiatives for 2009 is to find a suitable corporate partnership to pair up with. Traditionally, MSF (the acronyms of our French name Mededins Sans Frontieres) has been very protective of our brand equity and of the way our logo and name of our organization is used given the situations we deal with and the tremendous brand loyalty we have built up over the years. We have and continue to maintain a very strict code on the acceptance of corporate gifts, and turn down considerable donations from companies that do not fit the profile. Inlcuded in the "no acceptance" list is any company that extracts from the earth, deals in arms (and manafacturing), tobacco, pharmasuitecals, and alcohol as well as any donations from a governmental entity. Because of the current global economic climate, we have decided to take a dynamic approach as we enter 2009. We stand strogly by our corporate gift acceptance policy, but we are venturing out towards creating suitable corporate partnerships. And the Star Alliance is one of the top contenders on the list.
UNICEF's Change for Good program has been massively succesful in their partnership with oneworld airlines (AA, CX, QF, BA, JL, AY, EI) and together have raised about US$70 million, with QF alone pulling in AUD16 million. Given this massive success this program where they partnered up to develop a scheme to collect people's loose change or small denominations of cash in currency they no longer need (on intl. flights) through little pouches in the seat pocket that are collected at the end of the flight by the crew (and announced as well), MSF was looking into possibly implementing a similar program in conjunction with Star. Given that Star and oneworld are rivals, and that Star doesn't have a similar program in place (they have some biosphere non profits that they are working with, but no international humanitarian aid organizations), we though they'd be open to this idea if we pitched it to them. We chose Star over Skyteam given the interantional reach of Star and the ability to reach out to a broader audience. Actually, our UAE team have already been approached by Emirates for a similar idea to be implemented on their flights system wide - EK have been one of our bigger donors out of the UAE office (in Abu Dhabi) so to get a suitable framework out with them shouldn't be too big of a problem.
I thought I'd pitch this idea to the wider aviation community on Anet - what are your guys' thoughts on this? As a passenger on a flight where this option is available (which are almost all oneworld flights), have you partaken in this, or have you seen others doing so? And from a crew's perspective, what do you think? There's a great link on different crews' stories about their UNICEF experiences on their website: http://www.unicef.org/corporate_partners/index_25030.html
I have also tried finding a contact within Star to approach, and I can't find any marketing or press team contacts, only the CEO and at this point I don't think that's quite appropriate yet. I'll be trying to set up a meeting between our Executive Director and an appropriate contact in the US - I know the CEO is based out of Frankfurt, but are there Star offices/executives in the US? Or is United the appropriate Star contact to reach out to there? If so, any recommendations as to where to begin within United? (on a side note, the UA Foundation does give to us, along with AMR Corp. and CO).
Any help would be great! Thanks.