Skip to main content

Scoop it Forward, A Cause-Marketing Campaign Benefiting Volunteer Match

In this second half of my interview with Robert Rosenthal, director of communications at VolunteerMatch he talks about how the nonprofit's new cause marketing campaign, Scoop it Forward, came about and how all the partners are working to make it wonderful. (Read the first half of the interview here.)

6. How did the CRM partnership come about?

Target Corp. has been a long-time partner and recent national sponsor of VolunteerMatch. We also help power their employee program. Recently they renewed their focus on education-related related issues, and it was natural for them to leverage our relationship for a consumer campaign they wanted to do with Ben & Jerry's in time for the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, which took place in NYC.
7. What were your criteria in developing cause campaigns?
Our sweet spot is clients who want to support volunteer engagement in a cause area that aligns with their brand -- not just one or two nonprofits. For example, with Pedigree we have worked together to inspire volunteering at dog shelters.

We look for partners who recognize our model, which is to support both sides of the volunteer engagement match. On the one side are consumers who are inspired to give back with their time and skills, For them the key issues revolve around creative execution, discovery of opportunities, incentives to get involved and opportunities to share the experience. On the other side of the match are nonprofit organizations that are looking to leverage volunteers as resources toward their mission. For these we need to raise awareness about the benefits of using our service, as well as expose them to best practices for working with volunteers. We are interested in cause campaigns can drive volunteer engagement on both sides of this match.

In addition to relationships with our thousands of nonprofits, we deliver essential services, tools, data, and consulting service to our cause clients. So we are looking for clients who view us not as a charity they are supporting but as a professional partner.

Beyond that, we partner with brands that have national prominence as we are a national service, and brands with a track record of delivering on their value proposition, which we think is essential to building credibility in our market.
8. What are VolunteerMatch's goals for the campaign? How will you measure your progress?
Our goal is always to connect more volunteers to nonprofits -- and over the years we've developed a core metric of success, our "SROI" (social return on investment), which we apply to all the work we do on our public Web site and our corporate partnerships. In 2009 we helped to generate an SROI of more than $400 million.

How this works varies from campaign to campaign because depending on a partner's program, there can be different sets of causes that can be aligned narrowly or more broadly. For example, for Allstate we have been helping to align its Beyond February campaign with the MLK day of Service. For, we helped them align with African American-related nonprofits through their Black Planet Rising campaign. In another example, at we're helping to align employee and consumer audiences with environmental causes.

More granularly, we can also track activity in various ways. For Target and Ben & Jerry's we're looking closely at volunteer referral rates and page views on our side, while our partners look closely at coupon redemptions of ice cream, shares, and online buzz.
9. Can you speak about what Target and Ben & Jerry's hope to get from the deal as well?
For our partners, Scoop It Forward symbolizes each company’s shared commitment to volunteerism -- particulary service in support of education and literacy organizations. Both companies are already doing so much in these areas - indeed, giving back to the community has been a part of their DNA from the start. So as much as this is about two brands hoping to build a sustainable relationship with their customers, it is also about two companies investing in local communities.
10. Campaigns with three partners can be very challenging to put together and to manage. Given that, how does the management of the campaign work?
Regardless of how each project is configured, we have been fortunate to have great cause marketing partners. We work in partnership with the company and their marketing partners -- often there are ad, PR or web agencies involved, and there are usually marketing executives from the company involved as well. A few of our partners manage their side directly -- for example, with both REI and Kenneth Cole Productions we worked only with executives at those organizations.

Essentially, everyone contributes their expertise. From our end, we provide our technical solutions and applications, we work with the nonprofits and the volunteeers, and we help with the communications strategy. Our partners on their end are handling media strategy, media buys, most of the creative development, and the public relations.
11. What does the future hold in terms of other CRM campaigns at VolunteerMatch?
The independent sector has always played a key role in solving problems that government and corporations can't solve alone, and the recession has only highlighted the critical needs at schools, libraries, arts organizations, mentor programs, and environmental organizations. Government is strapped, so it's imperative that more companies get involved in programs that can serve the public interest as well as business interests. We've proven our ability to help brands find cause alignment in all kinds of creative and unique ways -- and we're excited to be able to build on these successes.


Popular posts from this blog

Three Ways to Be Charitable

I’ve spent a big chunk of my career working with or for charities. Many of my dearest and ablest friends are in the charity ‘space.’ And the creativity and problem-solving coming out of the nonprofit sector has never been greater.  Although I’ve had numerous nonprofit clients over the last decade or so, I haven’t worked in a charity for about 12 years now, which gives me a certain distance. Distance lends perspective and consequently, I get a lot of people asking me which charities I recommend for donations of money or time. My usual answer is, “it depends.” “On what?” they respond. “On what you want from your charitable activities,” I reply. It sounds like a weaselly consultant kind of an answer, but bear with me for a moment. The English word charity comes from the Latin word caritas and means “from the heart,” implying a voluntary act. Caritas is the same root word for cherish. The Jews come at charity from a different direction. The Hebrew word that is usually rendered as charity is t…

Top Eight Cause-Related Marketing Campaigns of 2007

Yeah, You Read it Right. It's a Top 8 List.

More cause-related marketing campaigns are unveiled every day across the world than I review in a year at the cause-related marketing blog. And, frankly, I don’t see very many campaigns from outside North America. So I won’t pretend that my annual list of the top cause-related marketing campaigns is exhaustive.

But, like any other self-respecting blogger, I won’t let my superficial purview stop me from drawing my own tortured conclusions!

So… cue the drumroll (and the dismissive snickers)… without further ado, here is my list of the eight best cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007.

My list of the worst cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007 follows on Thursday.

Chilis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
I was delighted by the scope of Chilis’ campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As you walked in you saw the servers adorned in black co-branded shirts. Other elements included message points on the Chilis beverage coas…

Five Steps To Nurture a 30-Year Cause Marketing Relationship

Last Monday, July 22, 2013, March of Dimes released the annual results of its campaign with Kmart... now in its thirtieth year... and thereby begged the question, what does it takes to have a multi-decade cause marketing relationship between a cause and a sponsor?

In the most recent year, Kmart,the discount retailer, donated $7.4 million to the March of Dimes, bringing the 30-year total to nearly $114 million. March of Dimes works to improve the health of mothers and babies.

Too many cause marketing relationships, in my estimation, resemble speed-dating more than long-term marriage. There can be good reasons for short-term cause marketing relationships. But most causes and sponsors benefit more from long-term marriages than short-term hookups, the main benefit being continuity. Cause marketing trades on the trust that people, usually consumers, put in the cause and the sponsor. The longer the relationship lasts the more trust is evidenced.

There's also a sponsor finding cost that…