By: Kim Stewart
ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Call them Spirit Pumps or Giving Pumps, the idea behind using specially designated gas pumps is to give consumers and the gas stations they patronize an easy way to support local charities with each fill-up and raise awareness about good works in their communities.
On a recent NACS Magazine visit to The PRIDE of St. Charles in Illinois, customers could be seen picking the pump with the Living Well Cancer Resource Center pump topper indicating that a portion of the proceeds for the pump would benefit the Geneva, Illinois, nonprofit, which is part of NM Northwestern Medicine. The pump is wrapped in signage explaining the center’s programs.
At this Lincoln Highway location, the spirit pump launched in July and runs for three months.
“A portion of every gallon of gas we sell goes toward the Living Well Foundation,” said Mario Spina, owner and CEO, of The PRIDE stores and Parent Petroleum. The pump not only supports Living Well, Spina said, but also raises awareness of the charity, which is just one of many that The PRIDE supports throughout the Chicagoland area each year.
“I love being able to give back,” Spina told NACS Magazine. “I love being able to tie it in to the people who come in our stores.” Programs like the spirit pump “give the charity exposure,” he said. “It’s more than just giving them a check; it’s giving them exposure.”
Look for an Ideas 2 Go segment featuring The PRIDE and adjacent 93 Octane Brewery at the 2021 NACS Show, October 5 to 8 at McCormick Place in Chicago.
C-stores like The PRIDE set a cents-per-gallon target for a pump on-site and pay for the fuel dispenser to be specially wrapped to signal the fund-raiser. Pump toppers and other signs are usually included to catch driver’s attention and raise awareness of the charity.
In Baraboo, Wisconsin, Pierce’s Express Market designates two fuel pumps as Baraboo Thunderbirds spirit pumps, where two cents of every gallon sold will go to a different school program each month.
“The idea of allowing customers to choose the designated pumps and support our local school’s bottom line is a win-win situation,” Brian Pierce, the c-store’s owner, said on the store’s webpage outlining the program. “We believe a strong commitment to the community is vital to create a place we all can be proud of. It is our way to give back to the community.”
Pierce Express Market’s program is part of the bp “fueling communities” initiative.
Citgo has a Spirit Pump program for participating stations interested in supporting local schools and other charities.
Shell in August launched The Giving Pump initiative at nearly 3,000 participating gas stations in 45 U.S. states to support children’s charities in local communities through September 30.
In Grand Traverse County, Michigan, TrueNorth convenience stores are participating in The Giving Pump as part of Shell’s Force for Good fund-raiser. A portion of the purchases made at the designated pump will support either local school districts or the Boys & Girls Club of America.
In Cincinnati, Ohio, Saint Ignatius of Loyola Church posted to Facebook with a call to support the church by filling up on gasoline at the Triumph Energy Shell station across the street.
“Triumph Energy has partnered with Shell to give back to the community. Visit your local Shell station in Monfort Heights to help support Saint Ignatius of Loyola Church. For all of the gas pumped at this station’s ‘giving pump’ between August 1st and September 30th, Triumph Energy will donate 1 cent per gallon to the church. Please note you must use the pump that is wrapped in the ‘Giving Pump’ decals in order to help support the church,” the company said.
Since launching Force For Good, Shell has highlighted the impact Shell wholesalers have in the communities in which they operate in, going beyond fuel quality and loyalty. Shell wholesalers have continued to be a Force For Good in local communities through initiatives like raising $1.1 million for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, raising $4.3 million for Boys and Girls Club of Kennewick and more.
“Shell is excited to help local communities all over the U.S. with this initiative and we encourage our customers to choose 'The Giving Pump' on their next fill up to help us fuel the future of your local community," said Shannon Bryan, manager of brand and communications for Shell Retail U.S. To find a participating Shell station visit shell.us/givingpump.
On Long Island, New York, GIVNGO supports local nonprofits the Give and Go program. For every gallon pumped at a participating station, a portion of the proceeds go to support the PinkTie 1000 Foundation, which distributes needed funds to local charities each quarter.
“If more people realized that giving back would not only grow their business but also make them feel good because of the positive impact they are making in their community, I think the world would be a better place. This is a remarkable opportunity for people to give back and support local charities,” said Mike Cave, founder of PinkTie.org and PinkTie 1000.
Don’t forget to register to attend the 2021 NACS Show October 5-8, at McCormick Place in Chicago and take advantage of the education sessions on building strong community relations, including the sessions Building Customer Loyalty Through Employee Culture & Engagement and Stronger Together: The Business Case for DEI on October 5.
Kim Stewart is editor-in-chief of NACS Magazine and editorial director of NACS. Contact her at [email protected].