Skip to main content

Monetizing Your Cause’s Archives

Some causes have been around long enough that they have a mountainous inventory of really great communications items that could potentially be monetized. But how?

The challenge is more common than you might think. The Muscular Dystrophy Association is sitting on hundreds of hours of variety-show entertainment performed on its annual telethon since 1966. Assuming it owns clear rights to those performances, the MDA ought to be able somehow monetize that inventory. My old employer, the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, has similar if far less extensive inventory of entertainment performances.

Likewise the National 4-H Council has 110 years-worth of posters and the like commissioned from the best graphic artists of the day. I know because I’ve personally seen the tiniest fraction of it. Wouldn’t the 4-H Council love to realize some proceeds from its treasure trove of communications materials?

Long-standing causes like the Audubon Society, the March of Dimes, Federal Duck Stamps, and others almost certainly have asked how they can wrest money from their own extensive archives.

A firm in Seattle has one piece of the puzzle.

During the 1930s a number of American artists did work for the Work Projects Administration (WPA) and an alphabet soup of other federal government agencies meant to put people to work. There are fabulous murals in post offices and other Federal buildings of the era, for instance, and thousands of photographs including Dorothea Lange’s iconic ‘Migrant Mother,’ captured in 1936.

One of the agencies that benefited was the National Park Service. Between 1936 and 1941 the WPA commissioned at least 35,000 poster designs, although only a fraction of that was for the National Park Service. Now an online retailer called Ranger Doug Enterprises is selling reproductions of 16 vintage posters from the era along with contemporary posters designed in the old WPA style, and benefiting National Parks in the United States.

The 13” x 18” posters, both the 1930s era and their contemporary cousins sell at RangerDoug.com for $40. Ranger Doug Enterprises promises to give 1 percent of proceeds to the National Parks for arts education programs. Whether that’s in lieu of or in addition to any licensing fees isn’t clear.

For that matter, in this age of print-on-demand, a cause with a cool archive of communications materials that was willing to set up an e-commerce website could probably manage its own monetization strategy, or at least partner with a printer to print and fulfill orders.

Comments

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…