Big Cause Marketing From a Small Business

Years ago Junior Achievement had one of the most cleared-eyed policy manuals on cause marketing I’ve ever come across. It was insightful, strictly ethical, thorough, and filled with good ideas. And you’re going to have to take my word on all that because I can’t find it in my files or on the Junior Achievement website. If anybody has a copy, I’d love to see it again.

But I wonder what that Junior Achievement policy manual would have said about this modest campaign from an AlphaGraphics store in Salt Lake City?

In celebration of the store’s founding and the owner’s birthday, they’re hosting a BBQ benefiting Junior Achievement next Wednesday. Proceeds from the sale of the meal benefit the nonprofit charity whose three-part mission is youth development, education development, and economic development.

The programs and materials at Junior Achievement (JA) are strong. It calls on more than 375,000 volunteers worldwide who serve tens of millions of kids. It has a clean operating record, a long history, a broad reach, and an important mission.

The result is that JA is like catnip for sponsors. HP, Fedex, Sam’s Club, General Electric, Barclays Bank, Citi, Capital One, and others all give $500,000 or more a year. AT&T gives more than $5 million. And the postcard sized handcard at the left demonstrates that Junior Achievement is attractive to small companies, too.

If JA has a challenge it may be that there’s not much emotion traveling along with all its common sense appeal. That may be why they filled their 2010 annual report with so many images of Junior Achievers from desperately poor conditions.

So far as it goes there’s nothing wrong with this local campaign except a poverty of ambition. JA is an estimable cause and a terrific fit for AlphaGraphics. It deserves more.
All that could be done for free or at discounted rates by invoking the cause and all would also greatly benefit this AlphaGraphics store.

What else could AlphaGraphics do inexpensively to generate funds and awareness? Weigh in with your ideas in the comments section below.

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