The offer is straightforward. Have a party at CPK and they’ll kick back 20 percent of the total sales to your charity. CPK will even help you maximize attendance at the event by putting together a promotional flyer for your use.
It goes without saying that CPK didn’t invent this fundraising approach. You can find this same kind of promotion from many other restaurants, entertainment venues, and retailers.
In effect, this is one way of marketing… cause-related style… to your member list.
But what if you don’t have a CPK near you or if the restaurant doesn’t suit the people on your list?
Well then, simply approach an establishment that would be a better fit and propose that they match (or beat!) CPK’s offer. Not every business has CPK’s margins, so be prepared to negotiate the donation amount. Larger groups likely have more leverage than smaller ones.
And don’t limit your thinking to just restaurants. There’s no reason this promotion couldn’t be tried at a bookstore, an office supply store, or a bakery for that matter. Success hinges on the appeal of your cause, your capacity for mobilizing your membership, and the quality of the offer.
Sponsors could take this promotion to the next level by putting a little more elbow grease into it. CPK, for instance, could hold an annual charity night and reserve the restaurant for multiple causes.
Better still, they could market the night to their list, too. That would be as original as their famed barbecue chicken pizza, first introduced back in 1985.
Now they’ve added a Web 2.0 twist.
“Munchkin Inc.,” I wrote makes innovative products for parents, children and pets.” They started their support of Komen because “Serena Gillespie, the wife of the company’s vice president of marketing, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 at tender age of 31. She had two children under age four at the time.”
“The privately-held company rallied around Serena and her husband Doug
Gillespie. But they went a step further and developed a cause-related marketing
campaign with two goals. One goal was to raise money for the cause. But the
larger goal was to encourage young mothers to get screened for breast cancer.”
This year the featured celebrity is CBS Evening News Anchor Katie Couric.
“Moreover, since 1999 Munchkin has sold a product called the Safety Bath
Ducky, which has a built-in device meant to warn parents if the bathwater is too
hot. So the company and its customers have a history together with ducks.”
“Of the purchase price, $.20 or 100 percent of net proceeds (whichever is
greater) from the sale of each pink duck goes to Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer
Foundation, with a minimum donation of $10,000.”
“Munchkin supported the campaign in their ads, with press releases and with a micro website...”
“They also induced celebrities including Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey, Janet Jackson, Patti LaBelle, and others, to decorate pink ducks before auctioning them off for Komen.”
Like I wrote at the time, it’s nicely thought out and well executed campaign.
Here’s the Web 2.0 twist. You can now create a virtual duck, decorate it and then email it to friends. Mine is on the left. When you do, and your friend opens it Munchkin will donate $.05 to Komen up to $10,000. The deadline is October 31, 2007. You can track the ‘movement’ of the duck via their website.
In the main this is cause-related marketing to support Munchkin’s brand, which is a fun objective. So it’s too bad they didn’t get it exactly right. The effort is headlined: “Email a Duck, Raise a Buck.” But of course that’s not accurate. Your duck email has to be opened 20 times before a dollar is raised.
Still, I like this Web 2.0 cause-related marketing campaign a lot.
Finally, a tip of the hat Morgan Draper for bringing this newest Munchkin wrinkle to my attention.
I was invited to a local presentation on email marketing from Constant Contact, the Waltham, Massachusetts email marketing outfit whose target market is small businesses and nonprofits.
They offer a cause-related marketing campaign called Care4Kids meant to benefit children’s causes. Constant Contact customers are invited to nominate worthy 501(c)(3) children’s charities to receive a free account along with the training to create an effective email campaign.
Non children’s charities are probably still eligible for charity discounts. If you’re outside the United States you might be able to induce Constant Contact to consider your cause. Alternately, you could suggest a similar program to email marketing vendors in your home country.
It goes without saying… I hope… that every nonprofit needs an email marketing component. Email marketing is a good deal like direct mail fundraising efforts, only cheaper and more trackable. You’ll know in hours rather than days if a campaign worked. If it didn’t work you can rejigger and have the next campaign ready to go just a few more hours later. It’s a continuous feedback loop.
And like John Arnold, the instructor and author of “Email Marketing for Dummies” said, if someone likes your enewsletter they may forward it to others. But have you ever heard of someone making a copy of a direct mail piece to give to their friends?
Now strictly speaking Care4Kids is more a charitable donation than cause-related marketing. They could make it more of a cause-related marketing by offering donations to charities when new companies sign up, to cite just one possibility.
Bottom line; if you’re a nonprofit and don’t have an email marketing campaign in place, it’s time to get started. And you gotta admit that free is a pretty good price.
Later when I was online checking my email I got a notice from Overstock.com listing a number of pink items for sale supporting The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
I got home that night and I started to pay my phone bill and out dropped the statement stuffer on the left. Qwest, my landline provider, and Sanyo will donate 10 percent of the sales price of their pink Katana II handset to Susan G. Komen when also you also activate Qwest service. A $50,000 minimum donation is guaranteed.
All in one day.
The many interconnected tendrils all feeding into Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a testament to the appeal of finding a cure for breast cancer and to the skill and hard work of the staff at Susan G. Komen, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and the others.
But as big and impressive as they are, really well-executed efforts like these are just the tip of the iceberg for cause-related marketing these days.
I’m not saying it can’t get better. Or that cause-related marketing is headed for some kind of decline.
I am saying that Carly Simon’s song Anticipation which opens with the lyrics “we can never know about the days to come’ and ends with, ‘cause these are the good old days,” is perfect description of the state of cause-related marketing in the United States today.
With Breast Cancer Awareness Month in full flower in the United States, it’s apparent that there’s a second kind of open source cause marketing going on… ‘open-source charity icons.’
I’ve written skeptically about charities using colored ribbons; some colors of ribbon are somehow meant to represent five or more different causes. But the ne plus ultra of colored ribbons in the U.S. is the pink ribbon, which signifies breast cancer awareness.
That kind of brand awareness is enormously valuable. And yet a cursory glance at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office suggests that no one has registered pink ribbons. Oh, Susan G. Komen has trademarked the terms ‘pink ribbon regatta,’ ‘pink ribbon golf tourney,’ and ‘pink ribbon celebration.’ And the National Breast Cancer Foundation trademarked ‘pink ribbon challenge.'
But pink ribbons by themselves do not appear to be trademarked. (To be fair, at this point the pink ribbon probably couldn’t be trademarked). As a result, pink ribbons are an ‘open-source charity icon.' Any of the breast cancer charities can use pink ribbons anyway they want. So can for-profit entities.
Of course this leads to abuses like this one from sales flyer for Carpet One. I’ve only shown one of the eight pages, but suffice it to say that Carpet One uses the pink ribbon like a graphical bug on every single page. Sometimes upwards of 10 times a page. According to their website Carpet One will donate 25% for the sales of "specially-designed pink ribbon welcome mats" in October, November, December to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. But you'd never know that looking at this flyer.
But despite the potential for abuse, because no one owns the pink ribbon it’s more valuable. How's that for a paradox?
In the campaign, when you buy any of a dozen or so participating ACH brands and submit proof of purchase at the Bake for the Cure website, the company will donate 25 cents per sku. The campaign's minimum donation is $250,000. ACH will also donate another 10 cents every time someone posts to the website or exchanges a recipe. The maximum donation is capped at $350,000.
The agency for the campaign, Market Vision, has a multi-cultural marketing focus and to a degree Bake for the Cure targets the Hispanic market. Program materials are being distributed in Spanish and English and the website, while in English, could accept Spanish-language recipes. Komen also makes their breast cancer information available in Spanish.
It’s a nice enough campaign, but has a ‘paint by the numbers’ flavor. On first glance it’s also derivative of the ‘Great American Bake Sale,’ which generates money for Share Our Strength, an anti-hunger charity.
But the Great American Bake Sale… which encourages people nationwide to hold bake sale fundraisers… is more grassroots and frankly has more heart. The Great American Bake Sale also does a better job securing publicity, both locally and nationally.
Given that, the name ‘Bake for the Cure’ promises a larger campaign but delivers a pretty standard packaged goods promotion.
What else could ACH and Komen have done?
Right now in the U.S. no baked good is trendier than cupcakes. The hottest cupcake baker is Sprinkles with locations in Beverly Hills, Newport Beach, Dallas and Scottsdale, and a baker’s dozen more set to open over the next year or so in chi-chi locations in New York, London, Tokyo, Chicago, San Francisco, and the like. Other cupcake shops are capitalizing on the trend and opening across the country.
I can imagine a promotion with the rollout at the Sprinkles in Beverly Hills and a celebrity recipe exchange, featuring cupcakes. I understand, for instance, that Teri Hatcher star of Desperate Housewives is terrific baker.
Imagine a cupcake bake-off capping off the campaign with Teri Hatcher and other celebrities on the judging panel along with the chefs from Sprinkles. The winning entry could be featured at Sprinkles and sold as fundraiser for Komen.
There are plenty of other ancillary opportunities and a little brainstorming could certainly flesh them out.
Why broaden this campaign? For ACH it would offer more exposure than a packaged goods campaign alone, along with a guerilla-marketing to way to associate itself with celebrities and a fashionable brand like Sprinkles. For Komen it would help get the dollars raised past $350,000, an amount which is meaningful if on the low end for them. For Market Vision it gives them a chance to demonstrate their creative chops.
Dear Nonprofit Cause Marketer:
The September 27 Forbes listed the value of the world’s top sponsored sports events, by the amount of money they generate per day. They are:
1. Super Bowl… $336 million
2. Summer Olympics…$176 million
3. Fifa World Cup…$103 million
4. NCAA Men’s Final Four…$90 million
5. Winter Olympics…$82 million
6. Rose Bowl…$72 million
7. MLB World Series…$61 million
8. Kentucky Derby…$59 million
9. NBA Finals…$58 million
I notice that your nonprofit isn’t on the list. Indeed, no nonprofit is. There’s two reasons for that. Forbes compiled a list of the top sports event sponsorships. I’ll get to the second reason in a second.
But cause-related marketing is… in the main… just a form of sponsorship. Why isn’t your cause making a $103 million per day like the World Cup?
Think of all the advantages you enjoy.
- You have tremendous heart.
- You have a list of supporters who literally open their wallets for you several times a year.
- Some are as passionate about your cause as any face-painting fan of the World Cup or the Olympics.
- You powerfully impact the lives of millions (or thousands) every year.
- Your name recognition in your market segment is very high.
- You get plenty of (mainly) positive publicity.
In a word, it’s a TV contract. Or, rather, TV contracts.
While you’re busy pitching story ideas to get free publicity for your cause campaign, all those people on the top 10 list are signing rich contracts for TV coverage of their event.
The result is your sports marketing peers measure their sponsorship results in millions per day and you measure it in thousands per year.
It’s like they’re baking up hundreds of items at once a big commercial range while you’re baking up cute little individual tablespoon-sized cupcakes in an Easy Bake oven. They’re cooking with thousands of BTUs and you’re cooking with the watts thrown off by a tiny light bulb.
But wait, you say, that’s not fair. The Super Bowl has something to show. It’s visually perfect for television. But no one thought at first.
According to Forbes:
“The first Super Bowl was played in 1967 in the Los Angeles Coliseum, and there were so many empty seats you could have bought a ticket right before kickoff for next to nothing. Television viewership was not much better. Super Bowl Sunday is now a quasi-national holiday and tickets are next to impossible to get (less than 1% of the game's tickets are available to the general public through a random drawing) and very expensive (the average price for a ticket during the 2007 Super Bowl was $614), and ratings are through the roof (three of the four most-watched television programs in the U.S. have been Super Bowls).”
I’ll bet the story’s not so different for the first televised World Cup, either.
To be sure, you can get your cause on TV right now. Contact my friends at the Starfish Television Network and they’ll almost certainly be able to carry your existing programming for free.
The TV contract however is a taller order. You’re going to have to come up with a pretty good concept and you’ll have to sell it like crazy.
But take a lesson from the Super Bowl. It took the NFL 40 years to grow the popularity of Super Bowl to the point where the average Joe or Jane can’t really even buy tickets to the game. When the NFL started they didn't know that the Super Bowl was going to be The Super Bowl. You have the advantage of a path that has been trod by many others, even if none of them were nonprofits.
Don't get discouraged. Remember the journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step.
According to a press release issued in January, the issue would:
“… explore and deliver the concept of ‘green’ in a proactive, relevant, bold and humorous package. The unparalleled edit lineup in this philanthropic issue… focuses on solutions rather than documenting the world’s environmental ills. Outside… introduces readers to new, sustainable products and technology including wave powered electricity, a zero emission SUV, sustainable clothing and green gear, the future of solar power, and how to navigate the emerging carbon market.”
Outside… now in its thirtieth year… has won more than its fair share of peer awards. At its best the writing fairly throws off sparks from its pages and the editing is consistently keen; as good and usually better than any other consumer magazine in the United States. I’ve read it for years. I still keep in my files a wry, sexy essay written 15 years ago that (I hope) inspires my own writing.
Long before the ‘Green Issue,’ Outside carved out its own place in the green ethos. For me its very name evokes images of those photos taken from space of our sparkling blue planet.
Cause-related marketing is typically a promotion. And like any promotion it’s meant to give your customer base incentive to do something you want it to do. Given Outside’s green branding it seems odd to me that they want to incentivize people to buy more issues on the newsstands. Think of the paper, the trucks that deliver issues, the issues that don’t sell and are shipped back or just trashed.
In fairness it may be that Outside doesn’t have the same emerald view of itself that I have of it. Outside’s online media kit says that its readership is:
- 67 percent male
- Average age 40
- 65 percent managerial/professional
- Has a household income of $135,841(!)
Still for me this promotion cuts against Outside’s branding as I perceive it.
What do you think? Have I got Outside’s green credo wrong? Should they be cause marketing around sales of newsstand issues? Feel free to comment.
This campaign by Dial/Henkel… whose tagline is “A Brand Like a Friend”… is cute enough, but what the FSI needs is a friendly copy editor.
In July, soap-maker The Dial Corporation ran this FSI, which features Dial’s corporate parent Henkel, a German conglomerate. The campaign asked people to submit a 200-word essay to Dial/Henkel to help with a neighborhood cleanup.
The winner was Lorrie G. of Gainesville, Texas who wrote:
"In June Gainesville, TX made national news. Our community was devastated with a horrific flood. We are still cleaning it up. We had 2 children and one adult die because of the flood. We have a small zoo. There were no animals killed, but it did flood the landscape, especially the children’s educational center. Most was lost. Most of the city’s parks were right by the creeks that flooded downtown. They could use some cosmetic surgery. We have a historical train depot that was flooded by the creeks. It could use some renovation and maybe some paint. Here are a few reasons to choose our community for clean up. Perhaps you can help, and we would be thankful."
Over the week-long online voting period Gainesville beat out entries from other finalists Staunton, Va. and Chittenango, NY. On Sept. 28, Gainesville received a visit from 15-member crew of Henkel employees who themselves were selected after submitting a written essay, and demonstrating a history of community involvement.
Ignore for a moment the question of why Henkel is branding itself so prominently in this campaign. There are certainly a few legitimate reasons to do so. But it’s also something of a branding fad right now. SC Johnson, GE, and a bunch more all choose to brand the mother ship, too.
No, my real question is why couldn’t Henkel’s agency hire a fastidious, no-nonsense copy editor?
Here’s what I mean. The header below Henkel’s logo and tagline reads: “Making your life Easier, Better, More Beautiful.”
The copy deck below it mirrors the headline: “Henkel employees are rolling up their sleeves, and they want to make your community easier (my emphasis), better and more beautiful.”
On Sept. 28 when Henkel’s 15 employees swept into Gainesville, how exactly did they make the city ‘easier’?