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Martina Navratilova announced Wednesday that the VISA Rainbow Card raised more than $100,000 in its first year to various non-profit beneficiaries dedicated to issues affecting lesbian and gay health, cultural and civil rights. Navratilova and Do Tell Inc. were the creators of the program. Corporate sponsor, Subaru of America also announced the renewal its commitment to the card program. Travelers Bank is the issuer of the card which offers a 6.9% intro rate and no annual fee. Travelers also offers cardholders the option of free cards for chosen family members and the option for domestic partners to apply jointly for increased credit lines.

Cause related marketing, the critical link in success of the Rainbow Card affinity program
Wednesday, Martina Navratilova celebrated the first anniversary of the Rainbow Card, a Visa credit card which supports the lesbian and gay community.

She announced first year contributions totaling over $102,000 to non-profit beneficiaries of the Rainbow Endowment who are dedicated to issues affecting lesbian and gay health, cultural and civil rights. Launched only one year ago, the Rainbow Card enables gays and lesbians to demonstrate their pride while supporting a number of charitable causes through the Rainbow Endowment.

Navratilova, along with Pam Derderian and Nancy Becker, principals of Do Tell Inc., a lesbian owned agency dedicated to marketing to the lesbian and gay community, were the creators of the Rainbow Card program.

According to Navratilova, the inspiration for the Rainbow Card came from the strength and unity that was shared by nearly a million people during the 1993 March On Washington For Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Rights. “We were determined to find a way to harness the economic power of the gay community to achieve humanitarian goals,” stated Navratilova.

The Rainbow Card was introduced as a fundraising tool for the Rainbow Endowment, a non-profit organization that distributes corporate funds and revenue generated from the Rainbow Card program.

Exactly one year later, Derderian, CEO of Do Tell Inc., attributes the success of the Rainbow Card program to the community’s economic strength (estimated at over $500 billion in annual aggregate income) and its responsiveness to programs which benefit them individually as consumers as well as the issues they care about most.

“For example, anyone can buy a pair of jeans or pay for dinner with a standard credit card, however, when a consumer uses the Rainbow Card they pay the same price, but are now also contributing to gay and lesbian causes,” explained Derderian. “The community is responding to the card as a way to demonstrate their pride and support, while corporations are given a means to effectively reach this impressive market.”

From the start, Do Tell’s entrepreneurial vision has been to break the long standing barriers between mainstream corporate America and the gay and lesbian community. The Rainbow Card has helped to achieve this goal and has proven to be successful for the Card’s corporate partners: Visa USA, Subaru of America Inc., and Travelers Bank USA.

“Based on cardholder usage, the Rainbow Card is considered far more successful than most affinity card programs,” continued Derderian. “This success speaks of the program’s ability to embrace consumers on an emotional level by supporting issues which they feel strongly about and which relate to them in terms of their own identity.” The program has created a win-win situation for consumers as well as for its corporate supporters.

Since targeting the community, Subaru has also measured a dramatic increase in brand awareness of its cars among gays and lesbians. The company claims sponsorship of the Rainbow Endowment has helped to increase purchase consideration and sales within this consumer group, while playing an integral role in its overall niche marketing mix.

Derderian and Becker, business and life partners for over 12 years, launched Do Tell Inc. with the objective of creating products and financial opportunities for lesbians and gays that can attract corporate partners and generate charitable contributions for their community.

“Through our work with the Rainbow Card, we have evaluated consumer behavior which proves the viability of our community as a substantial consumer group worthy of corporate investment,” stated Derderian. “Looking towards the future, we are developing data based on a variety of spending habits and consumer trends which will prove to be invaluable to those companies interested in target marketing to the lesbian and gay community.”

Do Tell Inc. is a full-service marketing agency based in suburban Philadelphia. The agency specializes in marketing to the lesbian and gay community with an emphasis on developing and marketing products which harness the economic power of the lesbigay community to assist philanthropic efforts.

Do Tell’s corporate objective is to link the hands of mainstream corporations with the lesbian and gay community and to encourage major corporations to target this consumer group more directly.

For more information please call 610/397-0100.

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