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Advisory Boards For Cause Marketers

Charities that do a meaningful amount of cause marketing probably need an advisory board or group whose sole job is to help the organization expand its cause marketing footprint.

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

Instead, in homage to Guy Kawasaki and his fine book The Art of the Start, I suggest that are actually five types of people you want on your cause marketing advisory board (CMAB).
  • Industry Heavy Hitters. If your cause marketing takes place in different settings, you need a representative number of people from each of those principal industries on your CMAB.
  • 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 could talk him or her into it. 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 actively nurture their contact list.
  • 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 CMAB 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 Columbus started looking for sponsors. The SuperGeek tends to self-identify because he or she has 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 iPhones before your meetings.

Good luck with that.


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