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Cause-Related Marketing Advisory Boards

Most charities that do a meaningful amount of cause-related marketing probably need an advisory board or group whose job is only to help the organization make contacts and expand its CRM footprint.

At first blush you might think that all you need is Rolodex warriors willing to battle on your behalf. In fact, once corporate types reach a certain threshold they probably have a Rolodex that any competent cause marketer could effectively mine, to mix the metaphor.

Instead, in homage to Guy Kawasaki, whose excellent book The Art of the Start I’m reading right now, I suggest that are actually five types of people you want on your cause-related marketing advisory board (CRMAB).

  • Industry Heavy Hitters. If your cause-related marketing takes place in different settings, you need a representative number of people from each of those principal industries on your CRMAB.
  • Captain Rolodex. This guy/gal has more than just a list of buddies from his/her rise in rank and power. This person could get the president of the United States (or the president of Exxon/Mobil!) on the phone if you needed that. These people are rare and special. And a surprising number of them seemed to have worked in politics at some point in their career. You’ll recognize them by the fact that they don’t just have a thick Rolodex, they nurture it.
  • The Scout. Whether a Boy Scout or a Girl Scout, this person has an unflagging sense of morality; of right and wrong. And he or she won’t be cowed by strong personalities or barter away his/her integrity.
  • The Artist. This is the person whose creativity in putting together deals or making connections is so imaginative your lawyer shudders every time you call after a CRMAB meeting.
  • The Super Geek. Not necessarily technical, the SuperGeek seems to stay on top of every trend, read everything, and seen every iteration of marketing since Eric the Red first started talking up Greenland back in 982 AD. The SuperGeek tends to have a heavy speaking/teaching schedule.
As Kawasaki puts it, boards are both “blessings and burdens.” So make sure you can stand the bloviations of The SuperGeek, the angst produced by The Artist, and the egos of everyone else.

Kawasaki also advises that you take away their Blackberries before your meetings.

Good luck with that.

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