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From the 8th Annual Shorty Impact Awards

DOVE Chocolate InstaGrants 2.0

Gold Honor in Social Movement Campaign

Entered in Creative Use of Technology


For more than seven years, DOVE® Chocolate has worked with international humanitarian organization, CARE, to help improve the livelihoods of cocoa farming families in Cote d’Ivoire through increased access to savings, loans and other income generating support.

To carry this mission forward in the US, the brand activated the DOVE Chocolate InstaGrants program for the second year to uplift and encourage financial empowerment, while driving awareness about the brand’s work to empower women economically in cocoa farming communities in Côte d’Ivoire as a proof point.

Strategy and Execution

This year’s activation hinged on an insight of gender inequity: Women entrepreneurs are 63% less likely to receive funding than men, according to researchers from Columbia Business School and London Business School. Despite undeniable commonalities in experiences with money, U.S. women lack financial community in which they can seek inspiration and help from other women – the power of which we’ve seen first-hand in Cote d’Ivoire. 

The program not only aimed to award winners with monetary grants, but to provide them with additional support and promotion by putting their business pitches in front of prominent venture capital firms and giving the public the opportunity to also fund them. DOVE Chocolate aimed to create awareness for its winners’ ground-breaking ideas to empower and instill financial confidence in women everywhere by providing and supporting trailblazing examples of women in business.

To accomplish this, DOVE InstaGrants utilized groundbreaking technology and leveraged DOVE’s invaluable name and resources to amplify our winners’ voices. As we looked at how to best serve our three winners from this year, as well as our winners from our first year, we thought of their main objective: funding and awareness. Thus, the program took a three-pronged approach:

Beyond funding our three winners with $10,000 grants, we worked with VR company Volograms to turn our winners’ business pitches into holograms that we would get into the offices of those with funding power. These elevator pitches were disguised as QR codes nestled in delicious gift baskets and sent to Venture Capital firms across the country. As the chocolates were enjoyed, so were the pitches of this and last year’s winners, allowing their meaningful businesses to be seen by decision-making, hard-to-reach investors.

Not only did the InstaGrants program support women’s businesses and ambitions, but we also saw an unexpected element emerge from the program. In only two years, we’re seeing a budding community of women looking to further amplify the program to support women entrepreneurs. As examples, one of last year’s winners, Black Girl MATHgic founder Brittany Rhodes, used her social platform to share entry information. Tori Dunlap of Her First 100K, who was leveraged as a paid influencer both this and last year, overdelivered on the number of posts contracted this year.


This year’s DOVE InstaGrants program generated a total of 850 thoughtful submissions – more than tripling the number of submissions from the program’s first year.

It drove five times last year’s impressions, leading us to meet our high-end goal by 230%. We reached entrepreneurs with earned coverage in outlets including Forbes and through CBS syndications, as well as on credible government websites like the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

This coverage generated 9,000 visits to the program’s submission site, showcasing engagement from entrepreneurial consumers. Tactful Valentine’s Day mailers sent to VC firms also generated enthusiasm for our cause, with one recipient requesting permission to share photos on the firm’s Instagram page.

We raised thousands of dollars for winners, and generated awareness and a call for equity around the insight that women are 63% less likely to receive funding than men. Ultimately, DOVE Chocolate met its goal of generating cultural conversation about the need for equity in the female funding space.

One winner shared “we love our brand and what we stand for, and we are so excited that we didn't just win the grant, but Dove has offered us more opportunities to get our brand name out to the public. We love that companies like Dove are passionate about seeing small women-owned businesses grow, and strive to see businesses succeed beyond grant funding. We thank everyone on the Dove InstaGrants team for seeing us and believing in our vision to make our community healthier.”


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Weber Shandwick, DOVE Chocolate, Mars Incorporated