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Utah, A Capital of Cause Marketing

My old friend, author Joe Waters, outed me yesterday in his post at Selfishgiving.com. As he pointed out I live and work in Utah, one of the least populated states in the Union.

How small? We have three Congressional districts in the whole state. Metropolitan Boston, where Joe lives, has five by itself.

So how is it possible that Utah could be, as my headline puts it, a capital of cause marketing?

Before I answer that directly, let me first describe some cause marketers who started in Utah. Jay Vestal, now a VP at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and formerly at both the National Forest Foundation and the National Park Foundation lives and works in Utah.

Also in Utah is Jay Aldous, formerly of UNICEF. Jay’s now independent and his clients have included the Red Cross, Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity and other blue chip nonprofits.

The two Jays did more to further cause marketing in the very earliest days than anyone else I can think of short of Carol Cone. To paraphrase Newton, if you’re in cause marketing today, you’re standing on the shoulders of these two giants.

Two of their protégés, Steven Miller and Clark Sweat, worked at or for places like St. Jude, KaBoom, the Jimmy Fund, and Make-A-Wish. Clark lives in Utah and Steven is in Washington, D.C.

The common thread between all four folks, none of whom have less than 20 years of cause marketing experience, is Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, founded and still headquartered in Salt Lake City. That’s where I was pleased to work with all of them.

Early on, CMNH adopted an all-cause marketing fundraising approach. The reason why can be summed up in six words: Necessity is the mother of invention. At its founding, CMNH had few other fundraising opportunities open to it so it adopted an “all cause marketing all the time” approach. The two Jays... and others... went out on the road and sold millions and millions of dollars-worth of cause marketing sponsorships long before there was anything like proof that it actually worked.

They also taught the rising generation about best practices. Jay Aldous still does. If you can catch him, do yourself a favor and go to one of Jay’s occasional cause marketing seminars.

Many fine cause marketers still work at CMNH. But the two Jays, along with Steven, and Clark, are the most prominent Utah cause marketers nationally.

And yours truly? I’ve got my blue chip clients as well. But to the degree that I’ve helped put Utah on the cause marketing map it’s because I’m a better blogger than the rest of them.

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