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Let's Bridge The Gaps Between Sponsors and Causes

Pictured at left is a 2007 circular for Designerchecks.com from the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database. It features two cause-related marketing efforts; one for the New York City police officers and firefighters who performed so bravely during 9-11, and the other for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Ignore for the moment the weak and confusing “portion of the proceeds” language on the firefighter check and concentrate instead on what else is in play besides the transaction-based cause marketing.

Everyone who buys either of those checks is identifying themselves as someone who has so much affinity for the New York City firefighters and police officers of 9-11, or for breast cancer research that they’re willing to put a ‘bumper sticker’ on their checks saying as much!

Imagine the value to those two nonprofits to have the list of people who bought those checks. It would be the hottest kind of list.

While for-profits commonly approach non-profits for their lists, it’s less common for the lists to go the other direction. But how hard would it be for Designerchecks.com to provide lists to the respective charities as an element in their sponsorship/licensing agreement?

We’re basically 30 years into modern cause marketing and companies and nonprofits still don’t fully understand one another's needs.

That stems from the fact that on the nonprofit side cause marketers tend to be ‘siloed.’ At one of the big disease charities, for instance, a cause marketer might not even know a direct marketer in the firm. (Although at smaller charities the cause marketer and direct marketer are likely to be one and the same person).

On the corporate side few cause marketers fully realize how charities fundraise and where the money comes from.

Pop quiz for you sponsors. On average, how much of the funds raised by charities comes from individuals?

The answer is more than 75 percent.

A big chunk of that comes from major donors, but a lot of it comes courtesy of direct mail efforts. In other words, every charity needs a list. And lists with high affinity are much more valuable than those with low affinity. Duh, right?

On the nonprofit side, few cause marketers know how much pressure their for-profit colleagues are under to keep their brand out in front, even when the partner is a nonprofit.

It’s time we bridge these gaps, my friends.

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