Thursday, July 17, 2014

Causes boost marketing for association members

Photo by Amanda Inscore of The News-Press

I love this story of one person’s cause work and what it shows associations and other nonprofit organizations! 

Project Pinball scores big for children's hospitals

The highlights

  • Daniel Spolar, a 47-year-old general contractor turned Realtor, is a pinball enthusiast. His wife found an old, out of use pinball machine in a local hospital. The hospital said it hadn’t found anyone who could repair it. Enter Daniel.
  • After repairing the pinball machine, Daniel noticed that hospital patients, doctors, nurses and staff played pinball ... a lot! "What this told me was that the kids, family and doctors loved the machine so much that they played it and played it until it gave out and broke," Spolar said.
  • Eureka! Daniel decides to create a cause he called Project Pinball. He wants to raise money to put pinball machines in other hospitals.
  • Teaming with the IFPA (International Flipper Pinball Association), 36 Project Pinball tournaments are scheduled for July. Spolar is working with Project Pinball's co-directors, Jason Cody and Joe Said, to create a wheelchair-accessible pinball machine and a pinball program for children with autism.
"This is only the beginning because with support like this, it has to get bigger," Spolar said.

If you’ve followed me, you know I love cause marketing and the power it provides associations. The Trees for Troops campaign – which has now provided more than 100,000 military families with a free farm-grown Christmas tree at the holidays – has not only benefitted those families, it unified the industry around one central effort and resulted in increased sales.

I spoke last week to the National Dart Association. Almost half of them (via my pre-conference survey) said they were using cause marketing. Their causes varied and included Toys for Tots, Autism Speaks, Darts for Troops, Darts for Kids, Make a Wish, Heart & Stroke Foundation and Relay for Life.

Those supporting causes said in addition to raising funds for the cause the efforts resulted in new players and younger players.

Think about the members of your associations. Could your association or its members benefit from cause marketing?

What do you think about cause marketing?  Has your association tried it?  Feel free to comment at

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