Money & Business

Cause Marketing: Time to Try a Corporate Partner?

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Jul 1, 2013

Associations that need to raise funds but lack the marketing budget of organizations such as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society have considered cause marketing—partnering with a corporation to support an initiative. Author and cause-marketing expert Joe Waters recommends five points to consider before jumping in.

Look nearby. Instead of seeing if Facebook or Target can assist, look at the niche companies you already have relationships with. “In a lot of instances, nonprofits already have sponsorships with companies that could be converted into cause-marketing partners.”

Think creatively about what you bring to the table. “Look at what you have that companies might want. Do you have a great event that attracts a lot of people? Does it have a desirable demographic? Do you have a large workforce?”

Split up the work beforehand. The corporate partner is “going to expect you do everything. A lot of time it falls on a membership director, a marketing director, or an events person to coordinate things.”

Set an end date. “If you do a point-of-sale campaign, where somebody is asking at the register if you want to donate a dollar, generally those campaigns are two to six weeks long. There really is a time limit on most of these things, because at heart it’s another form of promotion.”

Be sincere. “What works in cause marketing is when there’s a lot of sincerity and authenticity in the program—a clear connection between the cause and the business. And there’s a real commitment on behalf of the business to make a change.”

Mark Athitakis

Mark Athitakis, a contributing editor for Associations Now, has written on nonprofits, the arts, and leadership for a variety of publications. He is a coauthor of The Dumbest Moments in Business History and hopes you never qualify for the sequel. More »

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