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Back Door the National by Cause Marketing With the Affiliate

OK, you didn’t hear this from me. But if you want to get the boost that comes from partnering with a prominent national charity, but don’t want to jump through the hoops or pay their fat minimum fees, one work-around is to strike a deal with one of the national’s affiliates.

Affiliates are not only smaller (read, easier to navigate) than the mother ship, they may be hungrier too, because they have fundraising targets that national foists on them every year. Best of all the local affiliate still carries the same name as the national.

Let me be clear, this is NOT what Maytag is doing in this Facebook campaign. In fact, Maytag, a division of Whirlpool, pays the Boys and Girls Clubs of America… the national organization… $1.5 million a year through its Dependability Awards effort.

Maytag’s campaign asks you to nominate a person in your life who personifies dependability, the company’s long-time unique selling proposition. Meanwhile on the Facebook nomination page, Maytag highlights volunteers at local Boys and Girls Clubs who have distinguished themselves by their dependability. I like it. It’s a nice effort.

But you could back door the national by seeking a direct relationship with the local affiliate and taking a creative approach like Maytag’s.

Of course, whether or not you can pull this off depends on the nature of the affiliate’s contractual agreement with the national organization. But in the case of Boys and Girls Club, most clubs are separate 501(c)(3) charities. The Boys and Girls Clubs of America is, in large measure, a sanctioning authority.

But your mileage may vary with other respected nonprofits like Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, etc. The other risk you run is that the local affiliate may not be much help. If the national organization seems lean, wait ‘till you meet with the local affiliate.

And, if you’re going to take this approach you’ll probably need strip out any real demands on the local affiliate’s resources or capacity.

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