“Marketing it Forward” has always been a core tenet of our company code. Now, with the #50x52 Project, we’re taking the promise of making a difference to a whole new level. Founder and CEO Jennelle McGrath shares the personal journey that led her—and Market Veep—into this exciting new project.
So, What is the 50x52 Project?
It’s simple really. $50 a week, for all 52 weeks of the year, can create endless opportunities to positively impact a life.
That’s the core concept behind #50x52, and it all started with the question: “How can we brighten a complete stranger’s day?”
Some weeks will involve our team spending $50 on food for a local shelter while other weeks could mean we “pay it forward” at a coffee shop and treat the other people in line with their daily caffeine fix. Acts of kindness can create a chain reaction of positivity, and that’s what we’re hoping to do here.
We’re in a fast-paced industry, which means it’s more important than ever to slow ourselves down and find time to make a meaningful presence in the world. With this project, I wanted us to reflect on how our work affects the world and then commit some of our time to making sure that our change makes a difference.
It will be a challenge — but we’re committed to sticking with it. Our goal is to never repeat the same “act of kindness,” which means we’ve had to work as a team to come up with 52 unique, creative, and charitable ideas. We hope that, in the end, #50x52 touches the lives of as many people as possible.
But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. We also hope the #50x52 Project will inspire others to take some time out of their week to help someone who needs it. Whether it’s $50, $10, or an hour of their time, there are countless ways to spread positivity in the world, and part of the goal for this project is to spread the word about as much as we can.
Standing for Something Positive In the World
The driving idea first came to me during the holiday season — a time when plenty of people focus on which organizations they can give back to. As I reflected on this cultural trend, I started to wonder: “What about the rest of the year?" And, in full transparency, we found ourselves falling into an all-too-familiar trend; a flourish of holiday giving then back to business as usual.
Grand gestures are great, but they’re really difficult to replicate on a regular basis (especially for smaller businesses). Not every business can give at the volume they do during the holidays throughout the entire year. But with Market Veep, I wanted to facilitate a culture where kindness was woven into the fabric of our identity and the role our business served in the world. There had to be a way to make it work; to keep our business sustainable but also put philanthropy at the center of our business ideology.
So what did I do? I turned to three businesses I really admire for ideas. These organizations — and all companies that make giving back a cornerstone value of their business — have always inspired me.
The Lesson of TOMS Shoes, Bombas Socks, and Warby Parker
Many years ago, I was browsing in the back of a used book store when I discovered the book, “Start Something that Matters,” which chronicles the story of how TOMS Shoes came to be a giving organization. The giving principle was one-to-one — one pair of shoes purchased to one pair of shoes given. Every day, every customer, every little thing was a chance to give back. It didn’t take much to leave a big impression in individual lives.
Since then, I’ve seen many organizations that have focused their business on giving to others in need. In the case of Bombas socks, one pair of socks purchased and one pair given to a homeless shelter. Or in the case of Warby Parker, for every pair of glasses purchased a pair is donated. I was captivated.
For many years I’ve reflected on our marketing agency with this question: “How can we find a continuous and consistent way to give back that is rooted in helping people?” The answer was right in front of me all along: the little things matter. Small acts of kindness, all year round, when, where, and for whom they would matter most.
So We Launched 50x52!
When I initially brought my idea to team members, family, and friends, I got plenty of skeptical questions and comments:
“How will that be sustainable?”
“That seems like a lot of work.”
“Why don’t you guys do it once a month instead?”
“That seems like a big commitment...”
“What if you can’t think of enough ways to fill each week?”
Basically, many of them shared the same response:
But gradually, the questions passed. We listened to each other, and began to think long and hard.
For me, a monthly plan felt doable, but finding ways to give back weekly sounded challenging. And that’s what drew me to it. I wanted us to feel a continued focus on giving and find new ways to reach out and make a difference, even if it meant changing our daily routines. Giving helps us be more human and remind ourselves that we can make an impact no matter how small or grand the gesture.
Making a Difference, Inside and Out
What happened next was unexpected. Since we kicked off discussions around this project, I’ve already seen a great evolution in our team (and in myself) in just a few short weeks. I’ve started finding myself questioning my purchases and being more mindful of the things I take for granted—things that could transform another person’s day. And it's caused me to reflect and be more mindful of how lucky we are on a daily basis.
We don’t usually think of $50 as a life-altering amount of money. But for some folks it is. At least for a day. Maybe much longer! Some of the items for which we’ve received requests include basic day-to-day needs — razors, toothbrushes, food — things many of us don’t think twice about when we go to make a purchase. Just knowing that these small gestures can lend a helping hand is all the motivation we need.
As far as our team, I couldn’t feel more proud (and lucky to know them!). Their positive energy, ideas, and excitement for the project has given me great respect for them as humans, as teammates, and as leaders. In just a few weeks, we’ve all noticed an increase in camaraderie and a new fire to spark joy in others. I hope other business owners can find the same excitement in their team, because as much as we plan to give, we’ve been just as inspired by others’ stories of hope.
So, I ask you the one question I asked our team in December 2019:
While we launch this project, I can’t help but think, “What if one day we would be able to give $50 every day instead of every week?” It's definitely something to aim for as we start the journey!
If you would like to send us any ideas about how we can put our weekly $50 to good use, or if you want to learn more about how you and yours can help, then please get in touch with us. We would love to hear from you!