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Showing posts from December, 2008

Mobile Phone Fundraising Redux

I’m still in the holidaze, so today is another quick post.
mGive, which helps nonprofits raise money using SMS (mobile phone texting) has announced that in 2008 nonprofits using its service generated some $500,000.
Sound underwhelming?
Well bear in mind four things:
While mGive had a soft rollout in February 2008 with a Super Bowl campaign for the United Way, the service wasn’t publicly available until April 2008.
As the mGive press release points out, the first year of online nonprofit donations back in 1997, only generated $300,000 in donations. In 2007 online giving was in excess of $10.4 billion.
Mobile phone penetration has higher penetration than either cable television or the Internet.
Finally, in Europe and Asia, where this type of giving is commonplace, cell phone fundraising generated in excess of $100 million for tsunami relief in 2007.
This is a fundraising technique with a lot of room to run in 2009 and beyond.

Mele Kalikimaka, Cause Marketers

My affection for the music of Darlene Love, especially at Christmastime is well documented. Click here to listen to her rousing rendition of Baby, Please Come Home for Christmas on Late Night with David Letterman. 
For this Christmas Day post, I wanted to highlight something with humor from the Darlene Love oeuvre. Enjoy the clip above from Saturday Night Live called Christmas for the Jews Song.
Mele Kalikimaka, cause marketers, no matter your persuasion on the holiday!
(The clip comes from, so there may be an ad associated with it.)

Radiothon Fundraising

Quick post today; ate something last night that doesn’t agree with me.
Two of the biggest cause marketing charities, Children’s Miracle Network and St. Jude Children’s ResearchHospital both do successful national radiothons, which are like telethons only broadcast on the radio.
What do I mean by successful? I’m talking about tens of millions of dollars raised a year.But you don’t have to be a big national charity to pull off a successful radiothon. In my market the local homeless shelter called, The Road Home, does a radiothon with seven area radio stations with different ownerships and formats. Between them they generated more than $340,000 last year. 
How do you do ask a local radio station to do a radiothon at a time when stations are struggling for ad every dollar? Well, I’m going to share the secret.
Most radiothon stations do change their formats. But the time spent talking about the cause comes out of the music rather than the ad ‘budget.’ A delicate balance has to be struck, but b…

Grant a Soldier's Wish in Time for Christmas

Quick Post:
In keeping with Thursday's post on Current Energy and and my Dec. 5 posting on Sears Hero's At Home, I'm pleased to highlight, which allows armed service men and women and their families to post wish lists that you and I can fulfill. 
But do it now, secret Santa's. There's not much time before Christmas.

Tip of the hat to Jeremy Hanks for introducing me to Soldier Wish.

Buy One Give One Cause Marketing for Soldiers

Current Energy, a website which sells energy efficiency products online, is offering a buy one give one solar charger for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, the latest example of a trend I noted back in January with TOMS Shoes
When you buy the $150 Solio for Soldiers Kit, which uses solar cells to charge gadgets like cell phones, iPods, and digital cameras, Current Energy ships a matching version to another soldier.This promotion, therefore, differs from the other buy one give one promotions highlighted in the past in this blog in that you don’t get the product yourself.
Instead, it’s a two for one donation. Earlier this year I saw a similar campaign with harmonicas, of all things.
There’s no mention made of how this works. No testimonials from soldiers who have received one about how they feel about getting one. No indication of why Current Energy is doing this.
In a case where Current Energy is asking for a $150 donation, we need more details. The 120 words they give us just aren’t eno…

Cause Marketers, It's Time to Press Our Advantages

Today I stray a little way from cause marketing to address the topic of media allocation, but there is a relevancy and application for cause marketers.

Recently Prosper International released an analysis of the media mix the Big 3 automakers use against data collected by Big Research of what media people say influences them in their purchases weighted by consumption and cost.

To put it more simply, they asked people who said they planned to buy/lease a GM, Chrysler or Ford product in the next six months what media would be most influential in their decision. Then they sliced and diced the data to balance which media people said most influenced them to come up with the media allocation that would gave the most bang for the buck.

According to Ad Age, in 2007 GM spent its media allocation this way:


Prosper’s recommended allocation is above. As you can see, using Prosper’s modeling GM’s TV buy would be…

The Campaign to Redefine Christmas

In This Post I ‘Bury the Lead’ So Read the Headline Again.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve reached the point where I don’t need any more stuff. In fact, this Christmas I’d rather someone give me experiences or the chance to learn (or a massage!) than something I gotta find a place for.

[Diversionary but pertinent point: Can someone explain to me how in an age when the average square footage of homes has never been bigger, why there are so many self storage places in the United States? It’s perverse! Like the wag once said: “Sometimes you own your stuff and sometimes your stuff owns you.”]

Oh, there’s a few higher ticket items on my Christmas wish list: I’d like one of those new HD flip cameras. And I wouldn’t mind if Santa slid a new stereo digital voice recorder under the tree, either.

But I won’t get either of those things. And that’s OK.

I minored in economics in college and so I remember that in economic theory wants are considered to be unlimited, just as resources are limited. But a…

Give to the Salvation Army

In a sales circular that landed in my mailbox on Monday, Dec. 8, Wal-Mart gave three-quarters of a page to the venerable Salvation Army. Too bad it couldn’t have been much less useful.

In 45 swift words the page mentions that need will be great this year, that the Salvation Army will again provide a backstop for the nation’s neediest and that Wal-Mart encourages support of this worthy cause this season, all in a much too-short, unhelpful ad.

MIA is any call to action, like ‘support the bell-ringers with your donations.’ Or, go online to make a donation to the Sally Ann’s virtual red kettle. In this ad, the Salvation Army comes off like a Christmastime charity, as though it was just Toys for Tots for adults or families. Where’s mention of the Salvation Army’s 100-year history (in the States) of extraordinary work on behalf of the poor, the destitute, and the dispossessed?

Wal-Mart and the Salvation Army have been together for more than two decades, where’s a real sense of partnership in t…

Cause Marketing Pastiche

Today’s post features a collection of all kinds of news relating to cause marketing, corporate giving and charitable donations. With my comments in italics.

Stationary for the Troops
For every $50 spent at through the end of the year they will donate stationary, note cards and writing papers to members of the armed forces deployed overseas via Operation Gratitude. Hey, I appreciate businesses do what they can. But $50 is a pretty high threshold to trigger what amounts to an in-kind gift.

Corporate Giving up in 2007
The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy in New York released the results of a survey that found that corporations increased their giving in 2007 over the year prior when measured as median amount and when measured as a percentage of pre-tax profits. 2007 was a year of mixed economic news. Maybe this bodes well for 2008-9.

A Holiday Card that Gives
Network for Good offers a ‘Good Card’ this holiday season meant to serve as a client gift. You load the ca…

(Non Paper) Icon Campaign from OfficeMax

Yesterday in OfficeMax I saw a new kind of icon campaign, this one a continuation of their efforts to benefit classroom teachers in the United States. There were three suggested donation amounts: $1, $2 and $5.

Unlike paper icons, it’s basically a tchotchke, similar to the Staples talking Easy Button, which benefited Boys and Girls Clubs of America. But the OfficeMax ‘refrigerator magnet’ is more utilitarian than cute; there’s a magnet on the back and you could use it hold photos, notes, bills, etc.

As I noted before, Staples Easy Button was notably light on information about the benefiting charity. The cause marketing element seemed like a last hour add-on. But with the OfficeMax refrigerator magnet, the cause is its raison d’ĂȘtre.

We get four swift sentences on the back of the card that explains what the cause is and why we should care. I spotted the OfficeMax refrigerator magnet in its own well-labeled POP box on the checkout counter.

The clerk did not ask me if I wanted to buy it. I e…

Alden Keene and the Cause Marketing Blog are Wind Powered

Just got the window cling so now it’s official. Alden Keene and the Cause Marketing blog now are 'powered' by the wind.

That is, Alden Keene has purchased enough wind-generated offsets in a program called Blue Sky from Rocky Mountain Power to power our offices and the servers for this blog.