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Showing posts from March, 2008

Cause-Related Marketing Not Meant to Raise Money

Cause-related marketing is about motivating people to change their behavior. Frequently the motivating carrot involves money going to a cause. But not always.

For instance, in the campaign on the left from T-Mobile, the American mobile phone company and a division of the European Union’s largest telecommunication company, Deutsch Telekom AG.

This is from the newsletter called ‘scoop’ that came with T-Mobile’s March 2008 billing statement.

When you switch to paperless billing, T-Mobile, in conjunction with the Arbor Day Foundation, will plant a tree in your name in a blighted area of the United States. The Arbor Day Foundation, a tree-planting charity headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska, calls it the Restoration Project.

The tree planting is concentrated in the region around New Orleans devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and areas of Southern California which were denuded of trees by the fires of 2007.

The creative, from the March 2008 statement is clean and bright, if a little visually…

Reponse to Sandra Sims


Sandra Sims had a comment on the recent post about the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s “e-Shamrock” campaign. Her points were so interesting that rather than respond to her via Blogspot's clumsy comments system, I thought I'd post directly to the blog.

Sandra's comments are here in italics, followed by my response.
“This is an interesting update to the paper icon campaigns. When Chili's did their campaign for St. Judes at their restaurants last year they had an online site where you could create a pepper and print it out, though they didn't charge for it. So that ability, with a donation, would be another good suggestion.

MDA could have also added to Honor/Memory of component by sending an email to the person it was made in Honor/Memory of.

I think your points about it going viral and the fact that MDA builds a list are two of the campaign's strongest points.

Though the question is how strong is that list? If the people are donating low amounts and …

Pennies from Heaven

CLOSE ON GUS -- He holds the envelope in his hand, trying not to show his excitement. But you can practically hear his heart pounding. Now, almost afraid to look, he slowly edges the check out of its envelope. He closes both eyes. Now he opens one eye and peeks.

INSERT -- On the "Expenses" check emerging from the envelope.

First we SEE the name: AUGUST GORMAN. And then...the amount: $85,789.80!

(o.s.) (quietly)

Pennies from heaven.

Round-Up Some Change

Imagine if, like Richard Pryor’s character Gus Gorman in Superman III, that the charity you work with or for could get just a few pennies from each retail transaction. It wouldn’t necessarily mean an $85 million payday, but a bunch of pennies really adds up. (The excerpt is from Superman III was written by David Newman and Leslie Newman).

If the charity you work for or with generates a lot of affinity and has a particularly strong relationship with a retailer or a banking institution, you may be a likely candidat…

How to Sign Up for the Cause-Related Marketing GoogleGroup

Linda P. in London asks how to sign up for the Cause-Related Marketing GoogleGroup.

It's simple, just send an email to me, Paul Jones, with your name, email address, city, state (if applicable) and country.

I don't sell your email address to anyone.

And I ask for your name and location only because it helps me know who my audience is.

So to subscribe, send an email to: And of course you'll need to replace the 'at' with the @ symbol.

I spell it out that way to keep the spam at a minimum.

MDA's Electronic 'Paper' Icon Campaign

We turn again to the icon campaign only this time an all-electronic version.

It’s the season of St. Patrick’s Day in the United States and the Muscular Dystrophy Association is selling their paper Shamrocks in stores and other retail locations. I saw them advertised as a top banner ad on the website of my local newspaper.

I clicked on the ad and it took me to a secure page on the MDA website. It took forever to download, but in time a video appeared featuring a short performance from by singer Ace Young from their telethon.

Young, a former American Idol finalist, then made a call to action to support the MDA by buying an electronic version of their Shamrock in $5 or $10 amounts, or more.

Some of the traffic comes from Young’s Myspace page and he addresses those fans directly in the script. MDA also has a Myspace page and counts Young as a friend.

Like all icon campaigns this is “fortune at the bottom of the pyramid” type fundraising, but for MDA an 'e-Shamrock' is vastly superior t…

Message-Driven Cause-Related Marketing

Hamburger Helper and Pink for the Cure

Not all cause-related marketing is about raising money, per se. Sometimes it’s about the charity's messaging.

Pictured are images from a box of Hamburger Helper, purchased within the last six months. Prominently featured on the front and back of the box is Susan G. Komen’s ‘Pink for the Cure’ campaign.
And while the front makes it clear that General Mills is donating $2 million to Susan G. Komen, there’s no mention that this package of Hamburger Helper has any role in that donation.

It’s on the back of the box that it becomes clear that this is about raising awareness more than raising money.

At the bottom Komen lists “3 ways to help protect yourself.” Get a mammogram.
Get a clinical breast exam.
Learn how to do a self-examination. Nothing earth-shattering there, but like the saying goes, sometimes it’s better to be reminded of something we already know than to learn something new.

For that matter, while these recommendations may be old hat for 50-…

Part 2: How Chili's Used Cause-Related Marketing to Raise $8.2 million for St. Jude

[Bloggers Note: In this second half of this post I discuss the nuts and bolts of how Chili's motivates support from its employees and managers and how St. Jude 'activates' support from Chili's. Read the first half here.]

How does St. Jude motivate support from Chili’s front line employees and management alike? They call it ‘activation’ and they do so by the following:
They share stories of St. Jude patients who were sick and got better thanks to the services they received at the hospital. Two stories in particular are personal for Chili’s staff. A Chili’s bartender in El Dorado Hills, California named Jeff Eagles has a younger brother who was treated at St. Jude. In both 2005 and 2006 Eagles was the campaign’s biggest individual fundraiser. John Griffin, a manager at the Chili’s in Conway, Arkansas had an infant daughter who was treated for retinoblastoma at St. Jude. They drew on the support Doug Brooks… the president and CEO of Brinker International, Chili’s parent com…

How Chili’s Used Cause-Related Marketing to Raise $8.2 Million for St. Jude, Part I

[Blogger’s note: This is the first of a two-part post on Chili’s Create a Pepper promotion benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The campaign is notable because it has grown approximately 400 percent since going national in 2004. How did they do it? Read on.]

The casual dining category of chain restaurants have been death for many cause-related marketing campaigns.

You can guess why.

The chains are national, but there aren’t many charities with sufficient affinity to span the nation. The employee turnover rate among restaurants tends to be quite high, making continuity challenging. The patrons of the big chains aren’t particularly loyal. Not too many people head to their local Applebees four times a week. [Although I did hear Jim Cramer, the voluble (and volatile) TV stock picker, say that he loves to eat at Olive Garden].
And I would add that too many charities that have sold in a cause-related marketing campaign to a casual dining chain have not brought much creativity to t…

Cause-Related Marketing Advice to a Nonprofit Startup

[Blogger's Note: What follows is a letter I received from a startup nonprofit asking for advice on how to get an HIV/AIDS charity off the ground along with my response.]

I am a Nurse that Dares to Care; my name is McKenzie English, LVN. Located in Riverside, California I just recently returned from Nigeria, where I was taken to two villages to hear of their concerns for the villagers and children. Then I got married. The faith based organization was started November, 2007. African American Initiatives for Africa Forgotten Ones, the website is is registered in Nigeria as NPO, here as sole prop. Have to get NPO for American tax exemption. So far not one sponsors, all out of my pocket for expenses. It is concerning 115 children that are unable to go to school or continue their education do to poverty in their environment.

Also, as a nurse the spread of Hiv/Aids and not information is getting to the rural a…

Cause-Related Marketing and William F. Buckley

William F. Buckley, philanthropist, author, bon vivant and intellectual leader of American conservatism for more than 50 years, died a week ago today at the age of 82.

He was also the father of my favorite American political satirist, Christopher Buckley. As evidence of his versatility, the old man wrote a darn fine series of spy novels himself, many of them set during the presidency of John F. Kennedy.

I had exactly one personal experience with Buckley. Personal in the sense that I (along with about 1800 other people) watched him debate the towering American economist John K. Galbraith on stage at Symphony Hall in Phoenix, Arizona.

I blogged about the experience on Nov. 6, 2007. As I wrote then, when Buckley started to lose a point to the physically-imposing Galbraith, he would back up to the curtains and start to make them sway, thereby drawing attention away from Galbraith.

Even in the nonprofit world it’s a crowded marketplace for resources and attention. And like Buckley, there are t…

Tax Deductions for Cause-Related Marketing

Anup Malani and M. Todd Henderson, two professors at the University of Chicago Law School, proposed in the March 10, 2008 issue of Forbes magazine that individuals be allowed tax deductions for the donations made when they buy products that generate a donation to a charitable cause.

Here’s what they say:
“We think the tax law should be changed to equalize the deduction shareholders get for corporate and personal contribution. Individuals should also be allowed to deduct donations embedded in consumer products. Firms are increasingly doing good because shareholders and consumers want them to, and taxes should not favor one form of doing good over another.”
“Consumer charity is inefficient under our present tax code. If you pay $15 for
a pound of fair-trade coffee instead of $10 for regular coffee, you can’t claim
a deduction for the $5 difference. The additional cost is a nondeductible
Let me be perfectly upfront and say that I owe both these lawyers a wet, sloppy kiss.

I never…