After beating the bushes everywhere else, could it be that that killer app is right here in my hometown? Time will tell.
They started out being highfalutin, even ethereal. Brand Spirit by Saatchi & Saatchi veterans Hamish Pringle and Marjorie Thomson which came out in 1999 and 2001’s The Cathedral Within by Bill Shore imbued cause-related marketing with an almost mystical power to save companies, causes and individuals.
Shore, who founded the hunger charity Share Our Strength, compared the meaning businesspeople could find in helping nonprofits to building a cathedral. In that formulation cause-related marketing felt less like a promotional tactic or business strategy and more like a call to build “a city on a hill.”
Nowadays cause marketers have ceded some of that high ground to green marketers.
In time the books started coming back to earth. But they still tended to be heavy on good feelings and light on practical help. There were plenty of examples of campaigns, but not much help if you needed to move from grand theories to brass tacks practice.
If you accepted Shore’s premise that the intersection between cause and commerce was like a cathedral, too many of the authors expected you to be able to create new cathedrals by merely looking at pictures of cathedrals.
That’s why I’m glad to review Cause Marketing for Nonprofits by Jocelyn Daw, a longstanding Canadian cause marketer.
Daw who started doing cause-related marketing in 1988-89 for the Canadian Parks Partnership, tackles the nuts and bolts of cause-related marketing. How to manage the relationship, how to integrate a campaign across multiple channels, how to draft your first CRM agreement, how to look at assets and create value, the differences between selling products using cause-related marketing and issues, and more.
This is a cause-related marketing book for people on the nonprofit side of the equation who’ve bought the land (and maybe cleared it, too) and now need the instruction manual for building the cathedral.
Daw over-relies on the Cone cause marketing studies. She cites on no less than 20 separate pages. There was a very long stretch when cause marketers had only the Cone cause marketing studies to give evidence of the efficacy and appeal of the practice. But that’s no longer the case.
There are now dozens if not hundreds of surveys, reports, papers and academic journal articles that undergird cause-related marketing, including experimental data. And in my view more of them should have found their way into the book.
Cause Marketing for Nonprofits is written to be read cover to cover. So with that said, here are the chapters:
Part I The Cause Marketing Movement
1. The New Corporate-Nonprofit Engagement
2. Integrating Value and Values
3. Evolution of Cause Marketing
Part II Cause Marketing Initiatives: The Seven P’s; Best Practices, Case Studies
4. Cause-Marketing Products
5. Cause-Marketing Issue Promotions
6. Cause-Marketing Programs
Part III Getting it Right: Framework for Success
7. Creating a Cause-marketing Orientation: Cause Preparedness
8. Building the Cause-marketing Program: Collaboration, Combining Assets, Creating Value
9. Implementing the Cause-Marketing Program: Execution and corporate and Community Outcomes
10. National Organizations: American Heart Association and First Book.
Part IV Making it Happen: Best Practices Case Studies
11. Local Organizations: Food bank (New York City) and Canadian Cancer Society (Vancouver Island Region, British Columbia and Yukon District)
12. Cause-Marketing Principles and Cautions: Seven Golden Rules and Seven Deadly Sins
At first blush you might think that all you need is Rolodex warriors willing to battle on your behalf. In fact, once corporate types reach a certain threshold they probably have a Rolodex that any competent cause marketer could effectively mine, to mix the metaphor.
Instead, in homage to Guy Kawasaki, whose excellent book The Art of the Start I’m reading right now, I suggest that are actually five types of people you want on your cause-related marketing advisory board (CRMAB).
- Industry Heavy Hitters. If your cause-related marketing takes place in different settings, you need a representative number of people from each of those principal industries on your CRMAB.
- Captain Rolodex. This guy/gal has more than just a list of buddies from his/her rise in rank and power. This person could get the president of the United States (or the president of Exxon/Mobil!) on the phone if you needed that. These people are rare and special. And a surprising number of them seemed to have worked in politics at some point in their career. You’ll recognize them by the fact that they don’t just have a thick Rolodex, they nurture it.
- The Scout. Whether a Boy Scout or a Girl Scout, this person has an unflagging sense of morality; of right and wrong. And he or she won’t be cowed by strong personalities or barter away his/her integrity.
- The Artist. This is the person whose creativity in putting together deals or making connections is so imaginative your lawyer shudders every time you call after a CRMAB meeting.
- The Super Geek. Not necessarily technical, the SuperGeek seems to stay on top of every trend, read everything, and seen every iteration of marketing since Eric the Red first started talking up Greenland back in 982 AD. The SuperGeek tends to have a heavy speaking/teaching schedule.
Kawasaki also advises that you take away their Blackberries before your meetings.
Good luck with that.
- How much time does it take?
Can you really recall important things at 90 percent?
- Does it leave any side-effects? Or holes?
I understand why cause-related marketing charities have participation minimums or up-front fees. It’s a management issue. How do you manage a bunch of $10,000 (more or less) cause marketing campaigns? To a lesser degree it’s about keeping the cause's image in the main channels of the branding river.
But I’ve taken a lot of calls like this over the last 15 years, as a consultant and as a nonprofit executive and staffer, and it’s been frustrating almost every time.
I think it’s time for the big cause-related marketing charities to rethink their policies on participation minimums. And the thought-model I propose will be familiar to charity executives.
Think of the capital campaign donor pyramid.
In a nutshell here’s how capital campaigns typically work:
- You do a study to determine how much you could raise.
- You set the campaign fundraising goal.
- You build a pyramid with slots in it at each level. The top of the pyramid is the biggest gift. The base of the pyramid represents a lot of much smaller donations. Combined they equal the total campaign fundraising goal.
- You ask people for money.
Too many charities think of $10,000 cause marketing campaigns as nuisances. And they would be if you had to give them a lot of support. But smart charity managers ought to be able streamline their processes, invent some easy-to-adminster campaigns, use the power of the web to drive down costs, wave or eliminate up-front fees, and still be able to take a bunch of $10,000 checks from small cause-related marketing campaigns.
The economy in the U.S. right now has stalled. Charity cause marketers can't afford to leave money on the table.
And for most of his short 40 years, a good library was the best possible and maybe only option for a curious informal learner. Not anymore.
To see what’s in my informal learner’s toolkit check the post my other blog, The Learner’s Guild.
But right now for every $1 off coupon you redeem for Bausch & Lomb’s ReNu multipurpose contact lens solution, they’ll give a $1 donation to Susan G. Komen For the Cure. The donation is capped at $400,000 and $300,000 is guaranteed.
Back in the day, here in the United States, a plurality of cause-related marketing campaigns for packaged goods were based on coupon redemption. Now I’d say they’re the exception.
But here’s the Web 2.0 twist. The coupon isn’t in this ad from the May 2008 Cookie Magazine, a parenting magazine for mothers. Instead the ad directs you to the campaign website renucares.com.
To print the coupon you’re required to enter your name and email address. If you've already bought ReNu you can enter a code from the bottle to make the $1 donation. The website also has three short videos of people affected by breast cancer (two of which are from boys!). The site allows you to email those three stories to friends.
You can share your own story of how you’ve been affected by breast cancer, but only in writing. Too bad they don’t allow people to share videos, too.
There’s a ‘support the cause’ tab at the top of the website that I assumed would allow me to make a direct donation to Susan G. Komen. Instead it explains the campaign.
An explanation of the campaign is necessary, of course. But after watching the stories I’ll bet someone would have been willing to make a donation to Susan G. Komen.
I like the campaign although it seems a little ‘off-the-shelf’ to me.
In an inflationary environment like the United States is going through, premium-priced items like ReNu are potentially in trouble. The full retail price for 24 ounces of ReNu is right around $21, although you probably are likely to pay something closer to $18. With the pressure on personal and family budgets, it’s easy to find (and put up with) cheaper substitutes for ReNu. Sam’s Club will sell you 48 ounces of multipurpose cleaning solution for about $8.
My point is that Bausch & Lomb needs a cause campaign like this to help preserve its pricing power. Because so much is on the line here, Bausch & Lomb’s total donation of $300,000 - $400,000 seems too low, as does the per unit donation. Remember, research shows that higher donations help move product.
By contrast, Yoplait gives $0.10 per carton to Susan G. Komen, which represents from around 10 to 20 percent of the purchase price. Even at $18 for ReNu, a $1 donation represents just 5.6 percent of the purchase price.
I wonder how they would have done if ReNu dropped the coupon offer and offered a full $2 to Komen?
How can you make sure that your good intentions lead to good results?"
They have to do the same thing they do with their cash flow; they have to manage it," said Paul Jones, a cause-related marketing consultant and principal at Alden
Keene & Associates in Sandy, Utah. He also writes a blog on the subject.
As with any business strategy, skimping on planning or the tactical steps probably will result in disappointment for the small business and the charity.
To avoid that, here are tips from Jones and other experts:
* Don't pick a charity that's a poor strategic fit. More small businesses these days want to tie their charitable giving, whether time or money, to a cause that means something to them and their customers. Such an arrangement can boost profits but it has to make sense first."If you're a local welding shop, you'd better have a pretty good reason to support the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation --a reason your customers will easily and quickly understand," Jones said. Research shows that both parties -- your small business and your target charity -- "get the most bang for the buck when there's a clear strategic fit," he said.
* Don't overlook smaller charities. Some small businesses pick a charity that is just too big to work with them well, Jones said. Not all of the biggest charities can offer the kind of recognition or help that a small business might want or need, he said."Some small-business owners might be OK being a minnow in a big lake," Jones said. Those that aren't should probably choose to support smaller charities.
* Don't skip your homework. Don't assume every charity offers the same benefits to donors or is even willing to work with your small business.
At Bread for the World, Stapleton had to turn down a sports-drink maker who wanted the charity to market its product in exchange for a cut of sales. Simple research would have shown that the organization doesn't seek those kinds
of arrangements. At Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay, Natalie Burdick,
development program manager, turned down a jewelry maker who wanted to partner with the charity on a trunk show spotlighting items made from seashells. "There is a commercial trade in seashells and coral, and the practices are very
environmentally destructive," Burdick said.
* Don't expect advertising and marketing exposure. Businesses often expect a charity to broadcast its offer to charity members in some way. Most charities don't.
"Nonprofits are not set up to do that," Burdick said. She's also had to turn away businesses that wanted Heal the Bay to put on a charity event featuring the company.
* Don't treat the arrangement casually. If there will be a public tie between Heal the Bay and a small business, the charity will typically insist on a formal written
"They were actually pretty rigid about what they needed because we actually had to sign a contract with them that stated that in order to publicize that we donate to them," we had to follow certain rules, said Lisa Peri, co-owner of Lucky Earth, which makes a cleaner for waterless car washes.The 1-year-old company, which she owns with her husband, Jeff, promotes Heal the Bay on the back of its spray bottles. Once Lucky Earth is profitable it will donate 1% of its net income to the organization.
Head of Oliver's Artisan Breads signed a formal agreement that spelled out her plan to donate 10% of the profit from each loaf she sells at a grocery store. That sector is a small part -- 12% -- of her business, but the deal offered Bread for the World valuable exposure to its target demographic. Head will put a sticker on thousands of loaves of bread this year alone, touting the charity and the donation.
* Don't back off when money is tight. To sustain charitable giving as part of your larger business purpose, you have to be consistent, Jones said. Many consumers look for information about a small businesses' charitable activities. Profit margins are slimmer this year at Oliver's Artisan Breads as higher fuel costs and even bigger jumps in the price of wheat have sliced into income. But the owner isn't letting that stop her.
"Does that change how I feel about the need to recognize that there are hungry people in the world?" Head asked. Her actions demonstrate that the answer is no.
"I put a guaranteed minimum in the agreement [that] they will receive at least $5,000 annually," Head said. "But we expect to blow way past that."
I'd say that small businesses make 4 basic mistakes when it comes to cause-related marketing:
- They pick a charity that's a poor strategic fit. There's a lot of potential reasons for why a small business might undertake a cause-related marketing campaign for a cause. Maybe their customers are school-age kids so they pick a local school. A restaurant might choose a hunger cause. But if you're a local welding shop, you better have a pretty good reason to support the Susan G. Komen
Breast Cancer Research Foundations; a reason your customers will easily and
quickly understand. That's because research clearly demonstrates that both
parties get the most bang for the buck when there's a clear strategic fit.
- They don't give the CRM campaign enough support. Times are tough right now
and the first impulse of plenty of businesses is to retrench. But if you're going to do a cause-related marketing campaign you need to give it proper resources. Transactional cause-related marketing (buy this and $x goes to the cause) is a promotion. And like any promotion it requires an appropriate amount of support, and I'm not talking just about money. There are ways to support a
CRM campaign using low-cost guerrilla marketing tactics. But even low-cost
efforts require a commitment of time and mental energy.
- They're in the wrong kind of business to really do cause-related marketing.
While I see plenty of what I call 'B2B cause-related marketing,' research
suggests that companies that advertise are the ones most likely to benefit in
terms of increased profitability from a cause-related marketing campaign. If you run a small cabinet-making operation that doesn't advertise, cause-related
marketing isn't likely to help make your company more profitable. However, if
you run a salsa-making enterprise that does advertise, it might.
- They pick a charity that's too big to be helpful. The biggest charities doing cause-related marketing bring in several hundred million dollars a year using just CRM. They run dozens of CRM campaigns a year using hundreds of staffers and volunteers. Some (but not all) won't be able to offer the kind of
recognition or help with a CRM campaign that a small business might want or
need. Now some small businesses might be OK being a minnow in a big lake. But small business owners that aren't OK with that should probably choose to support smaller charities.
Thank you for participating in the Read with Kids Challenge, a partnership between RIF and US Airways.
More than 16,500 adults logged 3.8 million minutes read to children, far surpassing our goal of 1 million minutes!
The RIF network is full of dedicated supporters and we are delighted that you’ve joined our work!
Did you know that RIF is the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit children’s literacy organization?
With 3,500 programs, RIF motivates young children to read by working with children, their parents, and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life.
Take a look at some of last year’s accomplishments:
• We provided 16 million new books to children at no cost to them or their families.
• We served more than 4.6 million children at nearly 19,000 RIF sites in the U.S. through book distributions and literacy programs.
• We added 150 new programs, serving an additional 370,000 children.
Though RIF serves an amazing 4.6 million children each year, there are still 13 million U.S. children in poverty. These children need your help. Make your online gift today and help us reach more children in need.
On May 20 I wrote about how for the first time in the United States it was possible for nonprofits to use cell phones to raise money, $5 at a time.
For the last three months the Brooklyn, New York-based nonprofit charity called Keep a Child Alive, has been using cell phone fundraising to generate nearly $40,000 from some 7,800 people.
Keep a Child Alive provides antiretroviral drugs to children and adults with HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Antiretroviral drugs are what keep people with HIV/AIDS like Magic Johnson from dying. In Africa there are 2.3 million children with HIV/AIDS, and many times that many adults (read ‘parents’).
Keep a Child Alive cell phone fundraising approach is to use a film produced for the charity called Alicia in Africa, featuring the impossibly lovely and talented R and B artist Alicia Keys, who is the organization’s official ambassador.
In effect, they ask you to pay $5 for the pleasure of watching the film by texting “Alive” to 90999. As I write this, the counter on the website says the movie has been viewed 1,236,019 times.
The movie is also available as a DVD for $15.99. The website also offers the option of donating directly to Keep a Child Alive.
The trailer for the films can be viewed on the Keep a Child Alive website and the film itself can be seen at a microsite aliciainafrica.com.
In effect, Keep a Child Alive produced a promotional film for its cause and its ambassador and is using the Internet to distribute it, raise money and spread the word about the cause.
The execution is very good across the board and Alicia Keys is all but irresistible.
But what of all the people who have walked the earth but never left their own 'diary' (or learner’s journals)? Imagine what you could learn from them.
Up until now the challenge has been how to crack open the human library (if I can coin a term) of the people all around you.
Now a Seattle firm may have figured out a way to unite informal learners and teachers.
It’s informal learning, because it’s not organized under the auspices of a university or really any kind of school and there's no credentials offered when you're done. The firm is startup for-profit business with venture funding.
To learn more about accessing the minds of informal learners read my posting on my blog on informal learning called The Learner’s Guild.
You’ve probably seen it. The super-premium ice cream maker is doing an old-fashioned cause-related marketing campaign to save the stressed and overstretched honey bee in America. Over the last several years 25 percent of Western honey bee population has disappeared, which is being attributed to the poorly-understood threat called Colony Collapse Disorder.
But let's put a little meat on that bone: 1/3 of our food supply relies on honey bee pollination.
When you buy any of the 11 varieties of Haagen-Dazs ice cream whose ingredients require honey bee pollination, the company makes a donation to apian research at University of California at Davis and Penn State University. Haagen-Dazs is also selling a limited-edition flavor called Vanilla Honey Bee.
The campaign features promotional packaging, a website rich with content that explains the issues and offers suggestions for what you can do, campaign branded t-shirts, an outreach campaign, lesson plans, computer wallpaper and screensavers, a bee advisory board and more. I’ve also seen at least one FSI for the campaign.
The website is cute, although it has a few silly hiccups.
The wonder of all this is the pairing of Haagen-Dazs, which is owned by General Mills, and bee research. General Mills is rightly well-known for its cause marketing. A cursory glance suggests that perhaps 50 percent of its brands actively utilize the practice.
But odd as it seems at first glance, if you go beneath the surface it makes sense.
- The bee crisis is real and has gotten a fair amount of media attention in the United States.
- With their astonishingly complex culture that has been studied since before the time of the Ancient Greeks along their many beneficial activities, bees are the mostly cuddly insect around.
- Haagen-Dazs has genuine self interest in a future of healthy apiaries.