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Vera Bradley taps mobile to empower volunteers for breast cancer fundraiser

Handbag and accessory brand Vera Bradley tapped mobile to help empower volunteers at an annual fundraising event for the company?s breast cancer foundation.

The Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer developed a custom mobile event application to improve communications and eliminate paper waste for the organizaton?s 20th Annual Vera Bradley Golf and Tennis Tournament fundraiser. The app saw a 50 percent adoption rate among event organizers and volunteers, with the app being used 3,000 times over the course of the three-day event.

?It makes sense for Vera Bradley to leverage mobile applications for their fundraising events via the Sojourner Mobile Volunteer App because they have over 300 volunteers and sometimes more that help with their events,? said Jeanette Mojares, director of marketing at Sita Corp., Somerset, NJ.

?Their volunteers are spread out during the event,? she said. ?Everyone has a smartphone device.

?It was an easy way to collaborate the tasks, communicate information and provide last-minute changes to the schedule. It saved them on paper costs, time and enabled communication in real-time.?

The Vera Bradley Foundation raises money to fight breast cancer and manages the largest women?s amateur golf and tennis charity in the nation.

Easier communication
Vera Bradley worked with Sojourner Mobile Communications, a division of Sita Corp., to develop the mobile event app during a three-day development and deployment period.

This year?s event included a Go Green initiative, with the mobile app helping the organization reach it goals of replacing a dozen event organization binders. The app also saved 3,000 pages of paper over the course of the event.

The app made it easier for event organizers and volunteers to communicate and coordinate activities, freeing them up to focus on raising funds and awareness in the fight against breast cancer.

The customized app was used 1,400 times on the first day of the event.

Mobile events
Like many fashion and accessory brands, Vera Bradley has been building its mobile repertoire over the past couple of years.

For example, the company offers the Vera Bradley iCatalog for iPad app, providing a feature-rich way to shop its catalogs.

Last year, it also brought out a Welcome Back app for fall 2012 that featured the latest back-to-school fashions.

All types of brands are also leveraging mobile to enhance events they are organizing or sponsoring.

Online insurance firm Esurance recently made it easy for attendees at the Bite of Seattle festival to share their favorite foods for a chance to win a prize via Twitter (see story).

Additionally, surfing apparel manufacturer and retailer Rip Curl drove a 23 percent increase in app opens for its surfing events app by incorporating rich media push notifications (see story).

"More and more brands are embracing mobile for their events,? Ms. Mojares said. ?All major brands have at least one mobile app to promoting their brand.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York