Affinity credit cards – a nice way to support charity and rare in Australia

I visited McGrath FouMcGrath CCndation last week and saw an application for an affinity credit card – a McGrath Foundation branded card – in the lobby of the Foundation. I was very surprised to see this application.

Perhaps I should not have been so surprised to see the McGrath Foundation card – McGrath, like countless other breast cancer organisations, are the best at branding merchandise and, particularly, within the “Pink” cause. Likewise, McGrath Foundation is creative in their fundraising, has a strong brand and loyal supporters, and has great potential as an organisation. But, I was surprised because it is not a common occurrence to see any affinity cards in Australia.

Non-profit Affinity credit cards are very big in the US and the UK. One will typically receive such offers in the letterbox, as well as find the card offers across university campuses, hospitals, cultural institutions, and charities alike. Often the cards give a portion of the annual fee back to charity, as well as a percentage of the cards use and other perks.

McGrath CC BackThe McGrath Foundation credit card offers those who sign up an opportunity for a low interest rate, coupled with the fact the card issuer donates half the annual fee each year one holds the card to McGrath Foundation. The even more attractive value proposition is the pride you will have by carrying something branded McGrath Foundation in your wallet and each time you use the card you are promoting your affinity to the McGrath Foundation!

Does your non-profit organisation have an affinity credit card? Does it make sense for your organisation to investigate whether to develop such a relationship with a bank in order to offer one? What terms would your organisation expect should you negotiate a deal with a bank for an affinity card? What might we learn from our non-profit counterparts in the US and UK who have already embarked on such ventures? Better yet, perhaps we can use the McGrath Foundation as an Australian model?