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Monday, June 24, 2024

Key to Strength

This year alone, nearly 89% of Arizona nonprofits have lost critical funding as a result of COVID-19. It’s a daunting statistic—one that’s made even more disconcerting considering the contributions of the state’s nonprofit sector, which is reported to contribute at least $22.4 billion to the state’s economy, employ more than 324,000 people and generate at least $2.1 billion in annual sales, payroll and property taxes.

But for Kay McDonald—founder of Charity Charms—she saw the setback as an opportunity to expand the efforts of her own business, so that it could act as a vehicle for struggling nonprofits and organizations of all types to creatively brand, fundraise, and engage with their communities.

“We saw the need for charities to have a turnkey program that was not hands-on for them, and that could be totally handled from start to finish,” says McDonald. “So, we came up with the item, we came up with the concept, and we came up with all of the marketing through a program that could do just that.”

Since 2004, Charity Charms has worked to meet the growing demands for socially conscious brands—demands that have escalated even more throughout the pandemic. The company’s mission is to empower organizations and their supporters, employees, and customers through symbolic pieces that celebrate their impactful work, and act as tangible gifts to those who support them. 

This year, the company launched the Key to Strength program—an innovative marketing campaign that gives nonprofits the opportunity to control their narrative and tell their authentic story through charming jewelry pieces.

By design, the Key to Strength campaign is meant to inspire giving and promote brand recognition through multiple communication channels.

This was developed out of the need for struggling nonprofits and charities,” says McDonald. “Because these organizations couldn’t have live, in-person events anymore, we knew that we needed to come up with something that would enhance their virtual events—specifically, something that could be mailed so that after the event is done, the memory would still live on.”


The program starts with the corporation selecting a charity that aligns with their values. They then underwrite a custom program for the charity, and a 30-day virtual donation campaign is launched.

Supporters are driven to virtual donation pages through the messaging shared through the various community channels. For each $50 donation, the donor will receive a thank you gift mailed to them by the Key to Strength team. 

The memento includes a his & hers fob with the signature Key to Strength Charm that’s customized with the company and charity logo charms. The recycled, eco-friendly pewter charms are made in Phoenix and assembled by Seeds for Autism—another Phoenix nonprofit.

The Charity Charms team believes that charms not only have the power to tell a story and bring people together through a common thread, but that they can also serve as an elegant way to market your brand.

This November, the chosen partner for the Key to Strength program is Waste Not—an organization that’s working to support the nearly 1 in 6 Arizonans who experience food insecurity. The company develops food systems that help people and the planet flourish, by eliminating food waste and hunger through innovative community partnerships.

“What this pandemic has shown us is that we needed to think a little bit more outside the box and provide even more solutions to our clients than we previously did. We’ve turned into a completely full-circle company that does everything from the design and inception, all the way through the shipping and follow-up. And I think this new business model is really going to help nonprofits in the future.”

For more information, visit www.charitycharms.com.

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