What’s Trending in Back-to-School Cause Marketing

Parents, teachers and communities are going to great lengths to increase attendance and create a vibrant learning environment for kids heading back to the classroom, from a 4th-grade teacher's viral "welcome back" rap video, to an Arizona mayor going door-to-door to urge high school dropouts to re-enroll. And companies are joining in as well, lending their unique tools and assets to help kids grow and learn both in and outside of school. Here's a sampling of back-to-school cause marketing campaigns that caught our eye:

Thinking Outside the Pencil Case: Although kids skip school for a number of reasons, dental hygiene and clean clothing may not be the first reasons that come to mind. Yet, after learning that children with poor oral health are three times as likely to miss school, Colgate partnered with Feeding America to distribute hundreds of thousands of tubes of toothpaste to children in need. And with 20 percent of students struggling with access to clean clothing, making them more likely to skip school, Whirlpool saw an opportunity to install washers and dryers in schools as part of its "Care Counts" program.

A+ for Ease: When it comes to cause marketing, sometimes simpler is better. Kids Foot Locker is taking that mantra to the register with an easy checkout campaign called "Add-a-Buck." Each July through September, consumers can opt to donate an extra dollar to the Boys & Girls Club of America with every purchase in-store and online. Welch's "Fill the Lunchbox" campaign to benefit Feeding America is as easy as "Buy, Snap, Send." Consumers who buy any Welch's Fruit Snacks can snap a photo and send it to a designated number to trigger a $1 donation.

Healthy Kids, Healthy Learning: There's no denying nutrition influences learning potential and school success – and now brands are exploring how they can help kick-start healthy eating habits in the cafeteria and at the dinner table. Sodexo recently announced it will be expanding its locally-sourced school dining program to ensure fresh and local foods are making it on students' school lunch plates. Ally Financial is supporting the Boys & Girls Clubs' "Backpack Café" program, filling backpacks with healthy food kids can take home with them each weekend.

Enhancing Education Beyond the Classroom: A child's education spans far outside the hours he or she spends in a classroom. Now, businesses are providing the tools needed for kids to continue learning long after the school bell rings. Comcast's Internet Essentials program is celebrating its fifth year, providing low-cost, high-speed internet to 750,000 low-income families, helping close the digital divide for children across the nation. Lowe's is ensuring kids have a safe and inspiring environment to head to after school by supplying 50 $50,000 grants to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to "refresh, expand and enhance" club facilities through its "Renovation Across the Nation" program.