Sunday, November 11, 2012

5 Ways Causes Can Help Your Members and Your Association.

I’m an accidental cause marketing professional. It happened shortly after helping create the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation in 2005. FedEx approached us with a request to deliver the official Christmas Tree to the White House. We convinced them instead to help us deliver trees to military families in what is now known as Trees for Troops.

Suddenly, I discovered I was managing a large, award-winning, national cause marketing program. And, over the last seven years, I’ve had the opportunity to expand my knowledge about cause marketing. In fact, I publish cause marketing articles on and have a separate @causeaholic Twitter handle.

In addition, I’ve seen the power of cause marketing to energize association members and boost awareness of the association.

The growing number of cause celebrations on Veterans Day and a couple of “really neat” cause stories caught my attention over the last few weeks and reminded me that associations and/or their members could benefit from well designed and executed cause marketing campaigns.

Veterans Day Causes have skyrocketed in the last few years.  Enough that they are featured in last week's USA Today Money section.  Restaurants and others offer free food to
veterans. "It's good food meets goodwill," says Derek Farley, president of restaurant PR chain DFPR. And, the National Football League advertises funds to the Pat Tilliman Foundation, USO and Wounded Warrior Project donates $100 for every point scored in 32 Salute to Service games.

Mammogram Parties A mamm party is a relaxing way to get your annual screening mammogram while you and your friends enjoy beverages, beauty consultations and a massage. To make sure that EVERY WOMAN CAN have a mammogram this year, we will provide after-hour accommodations for parties of 20 or more. Participants must be eligible for their annual screening mammogram. We will work with a group “hostess” to help plan the party. All participants are asked to bring their insurance card or payment option, and the name of their physician.

Delta Den
tal Health event
The Delta Dental Health Theatre offers a unique blend of fun, entertainment and education to promote healthy life-choices. Our guests enjoy an interactive 45 minute program, that includes an educational video, and interactive games and discussions, that educate and inspire children and families to take care of their smiles and to adopt a healthy lifestyle. 

Cleaning 4 a Reason 
Until there's a cure ... Cleaning For A Reason®. Fighting cancer is difficult enough, but living with it is even tougher and that's where Cleaning For A Reason steps in. As a nonprofit serving the entire United States and Canada, we partner with maid services to offer professional house cleanings to help women undergoing treatment for cancer, any type of cancer. To date, we have helped more than 9,000 women with cancer with more than $1 million in donated cleanings.

Let’s look at some basics about cause marketing:
Cause Marketing is a partnership between a for-profit company and a not-for-profit organization through which both parties engage in activities for mutual profit. Note: cause marketing is not philanthropy. Although it has philanthropic aspirations and goals, it’s better described as marketing, and, in some ways, a business.

Most nonprofits are seeking new sources of funding to fulfill their mission. Companies are seeking ways to give back to meet their corporate social responsibility mission. Consumers say they are more likely to buy products from companies that support their causes. And, employees say they want to work with companies who support causes they support.

Cause marketing comes in several different forms. Each campaign selects the tools that best fit the goals of the partners. Here are some typical tactics shared by Joe Waters co-author of Cause Marketing for Dummies:

Point of sale/Pinups: Think of the MDA Shamrocks. When a cashier either solicits a shopper for a donation (active cause marketing) or signage is prominently displayed at the register to encourage the shopper to make a gift (passive cause marketing), that’s point-of-sale.
Purchase or action triggered donation: When a consumer buys a product or service (like a latte at Starbucks on World Aids Day) and a donation (5 cents) is made to a cause (Product Red), that’s a purchase-triggered donation. Sometimes instead of a purchase, a donation is made when the consumer performs some type of action. For example, Macy’s donated a dollar to the Make-a-Wish Foundation for every letter to Santa dropped into their special letter boxes at Macy’s stores.

Message Promotion: This is when a business puts its resources to work to promote a cause-focused message. David Hessekiel at Cause Marketing Forum has a lot of great examples in his Halo Award Archive.
Employee Engagement: This is when a company leverages its workforce for social good. I think of Home Depot’s Partnership with KaBOOM! to build 1000 Playgrounds in 1000 Days, which involved nearly 100,000 Home Depot volunteers.

Digital Programs: The web, social media and especially location-based services will dramatically impact cause marketing and change the way we execute the above tactics. To leave this out is to leave out the future of cause marketing and how causes and companies will partner in the years to come.

Here are Five Key Learnings From Cause Marketing:
1. Make it personal to your employees, customers and other company stakeholders.
2. Select a cause aligned with your company’s mission, vision and values.
3. Establish specific metrics and timetable to measure results.
4. Refresh and update the program as you would with any other marketing campaign.
5. Engage your members in your cause marketing campaign.

For additional readings about cause marketing, please see my articles at

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