LHJ's 'Do Good' Stamp of Approval

Q&A: Editor Sally Lee on Starting an Initiative to Make the World a Better Place

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April marks the one-year anniversary of Ladies' Home Journal's "Do Good" program honoring companies and brands that are committed to giving back to the community. The program is designed to encourage not only marketers but also consumers and LHJ employees to take part in good works.

Sally Lee
Sally Lee
Honorees are chosen four times a year by an independent advisory panel. Recipients of the "Do Good" stamp are granted an insignia that can be used in their brand packaging and promotional materials to raise awareness of their efforts for two years.

Here, Sally Lee, editor in chief of Ladies' Home Journal, discusses the initiative and why it's important—to the magazine, the honorees and the community at large.

Ad Age: How did the "Do Good" initiative come about?

Sally Lee: "Do Good" is intrinsic to the DNA of LHJ. For decades, our mantra has been "Never underestimate the power of a woman," and 'Do Good' is an extension of that philosophy since it encourages women across the country to play an active role in their communities. With the 'Do Good' stamp, LHJ continues to celebrate this editorial commitment by recognizing corporations that are taking on the social responsibility of making the world a better place.

Ad Age: How does the process work? What do you look for -- what makes a company stand out?

Sally Lee: Any company that would like to be considered for the stamp can download the application at lhj.com/dogood. We evaluate companies based on the sum of their philanthropic efforts, and the application reflects that.

We want to know more than how much money a business has devoted to good causes or what charitable partnerships it's created. How do they get consumers involved in their do-good efforts? Do they encourage their employees to give back, perhaps by organizing companywide food or clothing drives in their community or by giving them time off to volunteer? Each application is evaluated by our expert panel, which makes its recommendations based on how many criteria the business fulfills.

Ad Age: What is the significance of the "Do Good" stamp for the companies that are awarded it? How does it stand out from other certifications that are out there?

Sally Lee: The "Do Good" stamp can be used on recipients' brand creative, packaging, promotional materials and PR efforts. LHJ wants to not only recognize these brands for their outstanding philanthropic efforts but to help raise awareness nationwide for the causes they are most passionate about.

The "Do Good" stamp stands out because it is not an advertiser-based program. Corporations that apply/receive the honor do not have to be advertisers in LHJ. Applicants are reviewed by a panel of industry professionals with a dedication to selecting recipients based on commitment, innovation and a 360-degree approach to making the world a better place internally and externally. In addition, upon recognition, they receive an editorial mention and a chance for an editorial profile in an upcoming issue of LHJ.

Ad Age: The stamp is just one part of your "Do Good" effort. What else is involved?

Sally Lee: Our mission is to inspire readers to give back and to offer them easy ways to do so in every issue. Our "Never Underestimate the Power of a Woman" column tells the story of an everyday woman who made a difference and includes ways to help her cause; readers are directed to lhj.com/dogood to pledge their support. We offer more opportunities to help those in need in the "Journal" section of the magazine, whether it's buying a product that contributes to a cause or getting involved in an upcoming nationwide charity event. Longer do-good features also run regularly; past examples include a do-good gift guide in the December 2009/January 2010 issue and April's "Volunteer Nation," which features LHJ readers' volunteer efforts. I also have a Twitter feed -- @editorladysally -- that encourages and recognizes do-good actions.

Ad Age: What kind of responses have you received from readers and companies?

Sally Lee: We have received an overwhelmingly positive response from readers, media professionals and corporations nationwide. Readers appreciate our focus on philanthropy and activism, and tell us that the stamp helps them make purchasing decisions. Our "Do Good" stamp recipients thus far include: Hershey's, Land's End, AT&T, Cargill, Burt's Bee's, Hard Rock, Jones New York, Land's End, Lee, L'Oreal Paris, Mary Kay, New Balance, PUR, Sonic Restaurants, Tide and Trident.

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