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Showing posts from April, 2012

High Caliber Cause Marketing

In cities prone to gun violence, gun buyback programs can effectively take guns off the street. The challenge is in funding the cost of the buybacks. Now cause marketing is lending a helping hand to the gun buyback program in Newark, New Jersey, a city of 275,000 about 10 miles west of Manhattan.

Here’s how it works:

Jewelry for a Cause, headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut buys shredded handguns from the city of Newark. It then melts the steel, aluminum and other metal alloys that makeup handguns and transforms them into a jewelry collection called Caliber. Pieces from the collection… expected to include rings, necklaces and bracelets… go on sale this summer at and are priced from $150 to $5,000.

Jewelry for a Cause is the brainstorm of corporate-lawyer-turned-jeweler Jessica Mindich, who has donated 20 percent of proceeds from several of her lines to causes including the Alzheimer’s Association, American Red Cross, and

Newark has long had a repu…

Cause Marketing or Corporate Philanthropy Program? It’s Not a Yes or No Question.

If your company is an active corporate cause marketer, should it also be an active corporate donor?

The short answer is yes.

The question was prompted by a press release I saw recently announcing a new cause marketing effort from Godiva, the high-end chocolatier owned by the Turkish company Yildiz Holding, and headlined ‘Godiva Launches Philanthropy Program.’ 

Now Godiva almost certainly didn’t write the headline for the release I saw, but a quick reading made it clear that what Godiva was announcing was more a cause marketing than a corporate philanthropy effort.

Godiva’s program recognizes women around the world who “contribute to their communities and inspire others to do the same.” The first honoree is Lauren Bush Lauren and the recipient of funds raised will be the charity she co-founded, FEED Projects, a global anti-hunger charity.

A new honoree will be chosen in 2013.

In time for Mother’s Day in the United States, Sunday May, 13, 2012, you can buy FEED tote bags… made by women in L…

An Actionable Marketing Plan for Nonprofits in 8 Sentences

If your cause is small, marketing it can be tricky. But marketing legend Jay Conrad Levinson has some ideas for how you can create an easy-to-use marketing plan for even the thinnest budgets

Jay Conrad Levinson… who gave wings to the term ‘guerrilla marketing’… has written or co-written so many books on the topic of marketing that I couldn’t get an accurate count of his full bibliography. But it’s something north of 50 books. His deep experience is your gain; the two or three of his books that I’ve read are chockablock full of usable information and ideas for marketers.

For charity clients with tiny budgets I use a modified version of one of Levinson’s tried and true techniques; the ‘seven sentence marketing plan.’ You heard that right, a marketing plan in just 7 sentences!

Here they are, plus an eighth that is my own addition.
The first sentence tells your purpose in marketing. The purpose has to be expressed in ways that are SMART: Sensible, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time b… Word Cloud

Quick post today from the left coast.

I’ve been having some fun with word clouds and the one at the left is from this very blog.

Like many such things, this word cloud hides as much as elucidates.

It’s plain, for instance, that the word cloud generator only grabs posts from the top-most page of the blog.

Still, it has its own beauty.

Cause Marketing Your Klout

An article in the May 2012 issue of Wired magazine makes it clear that I have another thing to feel inadequate about; my Klout score, which is a very modest 31. (Maybe it's time to take that Facebook thing seriously. Hmm.) For camparison's sake, Justin Bieber’s Klout score is a perfect 100. Robert Scoble’s is 85.

But now I can use my inadequacy for good. Klout for Good is a promotion that asks you to support Charity: Water, the World Wildlife Fund, and the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women. Klout also promoted a Christmastime tweet drive that generated gifts for underprivileged kids.

The Go Red and World Wildlife Fun efforts are primarily awareness-raisers, although they’ll certainly take your money. But the Charity: Water promotion is a fundraiser and a clever one at that.

Charity: Water asks you to ‘donate your birthday;’ that is to ask your social networks to donate to the cause in your name on your birthday.

As of this writing, 12,889 people had pledged their…

Your Non-Donating Neighbors Think You Need to Give More to Good Causes

A new study finds that people who don’t donate money to causes realize the heightened need and have found a solution: you need to give more, especially if you’re 'rich.'

The study, from Grey Matter Research, is a companion piece to a study released by Grey in Feb 2012 that found that charity donors say they’d keep giving even if Congress took away tax deductibility, they just weren’t sure you would.

In this study, instead of asking why they weren’t active charitable donors, Grey Matter asked people who hadn’t made any donations to nonprofits in prior 12 months about their perceptions of nonprofits and giving.

What they found is that 83 percent of American who don’t give would give if they had it. 

But the shocker was this: people who earned $100,000 or more were just as likely as those earning $20,000 or less to wish they had enough to donate.

More from Grey Matter’s study here.

Some of this miserliness could be the fault of fundraisers who emphasize larger donation amounts…

Earth Day Needs to Slim Down its List of Must-Dos to be Really Successful

Yesterday, Sunday April 22 was the 42st Earth Day in the United States, but if you saw less promotional activity wrapped aroun the day it may be because Earth Day has 'jumped the shark."

Albe Zakes, global VP of media retalions for TerraCycle, told Amy Westervelt at that "With everyone and their mother doing some kind of quasi-green messaging around Earth Day, you risk a truly environmentally responsible promotion, product or service getting lumped into consumer's green fatigue and being consider green washing,"

Far be it for me to say I told you so, but I told you so last year on Earth Day 2011.

"As it’s presently constituted is that there’s too many emphases for people to keep in their heads. Earth Day is markedly more sophisticated in 2011 than it was in 1970. Trouble is, we've still got the same human brains we've always had."

"The Earth Day Network website lists 15 campaigns of emphasis: School Greenings Across the U…

Variable Donation Amounts in Cause Marketing, A Hypothetical

Today’s post is a brief thought experiment or hypothetical. What would happen if the donation amount in cause marketing was variable? How would that affect participation and results for the company and the cause?

For instance, suppose that you buy a Sole insole or ‘footbed.’ Sole was the topic of Wednesday’s post. One of the causes Sole sponsors is the shoe charity Soles4Souls. Soles4Souls is always looking for gently-used shoes. So let’s suppose that when you buy a Sole footbed that Sole donates $1. But if you buy a Sole footbed plus donate a pair of shoes then Sole donates, perhaps, $3. Would that increase in-kind donations for Soles4Souls? Would it increase sales for Sole?

You can probably imagine other variable donation scenarios as well involving Tweets or Facebook ‘likes’ or repins on Pinterest.

What I’m talking about is frequently used by experimental economists in laboratory settings. In experimental economics you’re given a number of choices to make using real money and given ce…

End Malaria Day Book Does its Cause Marketing Job

April 25. 2012 is End Malaria Day and to help purchase insecticide-treated nets more than 60 (mainly) A-list business and personal development writers are publishing a book by the same name, ‘End Malaria Day.’ Buy it on Kindle for $20 and all $20 goes to purchase anti-malarial nets that will drape over someone’s bed, probably in Africa where malaria is endemic. The paperback version is $25 and in that case net profits go to buy nets like the one at the left. It’s a terrific cause and a cool roster of business thinkers. I hope you’ll join me in buying the book/download.

But as I was mousing around the site I came across a comment from “Tkharris” who asks, “Can we just contribute without buying the book?” I don’t know whether or not the site allows direct donations, but it certainly ought to.

But TK’s comment set me to thinking. What he or she seems to be doing is repudiating one of the small handful of a cause marketing campaigns I’ve even seen wherein every single penn…

Cause Marketing Your Customer Satisfaction Warranty

Orthotic insole maker Sole offers a cause marketing approach that addresses a different side of business than I’ve ever seen before. Although details are sketchy, when you return one of their insoles within 90 days of purchase (their standard return timeframe) a donation of some amount comes to the shoe charity Soles4Souls.

In addition to insoles (the company prefers the word ‘footbeds’) Sole sells shoes, flip flops, and socks. Sole, which is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, supports other causes via more standard transactional cause marketing, including efforts for ReCork, Karno Kids, Big City Mountaineers, and SoleUK. Transactional cause marketing is when a donation to a cause is triggered by a purchase.

But triggering a donation based on a product return is a really novel concept. Sole also encourages its patrons to send in their gently-used shoes directly to Soles4Souls.

But with this product warranty approach to cause marketing Sole is making three bets; the first is you’ll be …

Cause Marketing to Moms? Engage Them Via Social Media.

If moms are the market for your cause marketing a new study shows that social media may be the way to their hearts.

The study, called ‘Social Media Moms’ finds them more engaged in social media than other woman, more likely to own a smart phone and a tablet, more frequent visitors to Facebook and Google+, and more likely to read a company post in their newsfeed.

The sample size for the phone-based study was nearly 3,000 women. It was sponsored by Performics and conducted in December 2011 by ROIResearch.

There were numerous other findings, which I think make this well worth your time to review in its entirety. But I’ll concentrate just on the corporate questions. Namely the questions that address how moms think and wish to engage with companies and brands.
“Believe that consumers can influence companies by voicing opinions on social networks: 63% (vs. 56% for non-moms)”
“Desire more frequent communications with brands via Facebook 38% (vs. 28%) want to receive communications more than once …

You Can Learn a Lot About What Reporters Think of Cause Marketing By the Questions They Ask

Yogi Berra, the former Yankee player and manager was famed for his fractured English, or Yogi-isms. For instance, Berra once said, "a nickel ain't worth a dime anymore." And, "it's like deju vu all over again." (The drawing at the left of Berra is by the talented caricaturist Jerry Breen).

He also said, "you can observe a lot just by watching." To that I'd add, you can learn a lot about what reporters think about cause marketing by the questions they ask.

I get calls from reporters wanting quotes about the practice of cause marketing. I know David Hessekiel at the Cause Marketing Forum and Joe Waters, author of Cause Marketing for Dummies take plenty of calls as well. The reporter I spoke few weeks back asked the questions in bold and my responses follow. I won't reveal her name or publication until her piece is published.

Until then, get a sense about what's on reporter's minds about cause marketing by reading the questions she asked…

Press Here For Cause Marketing Drama

I’ve written in the past about using a ‘MacGuffin in your cause marketing campaigns. When I tell live audiences about it often as not I got a shrug from marketers. “What do you mean by a MacGuffin,” they'd ask?

Alfred Hitchcock, the legendary filmmaker, used to speak of a movie's “MacGuffin” or plot device. “In crook stories it is always the necklace and in spy stories it is always the papers,” he said. In short, a MacGuffin is a mechanical device that impels action.

But even that explanation didn’t seem to satisfy everyone.

So, I’ve found the perfect illustration for the idea of a MacGuffin, on YouTube of course.

At left is a promotional video from one of the cable networks that relies on a MacGuffin to get things started. Hanging above a button in the square of a quiet Flemish burg is a sign that says “Push to Add Drama.” The sign, which all but shouts mystery, is the MacGuffin.

In time someone does push the button and what follows is a pretty fun ad.

For Hitchcock, the MacGuffin …

Some Sweet Payback for Your Good Deeds

The Generous Store was a pop-up store in Denmark, open for just one day, that didn’t take your money for its products. Instead, Anthon Berg the European chocolatier which operated The Generous Store, asked you to pledge to perform some specific good deed for a friend or loved one in return for which you got some of Berg’s chocolates.

The promotion plays on Anthon Berg’s tagline which is “You Can Never Be Too Generous.”

There were no cash registers in the store. Instead, Anthon Berg clerks wandered the store with iPads. You’d log onto your Facebook account, friend Anthon Berg and pledge to your friend/loved one whatever the required good deed was for the specific item. In the following days and weeks Facebook filled with the photos and accounts of good deeds done by those keeping their pledges.

It’s a lovely idea.

Ben and Jerry’s Scoop Shops do a free cone day every year, so they could certainly adopt something like this.

It would be great to see a cause element added whereby you pledge to …

Using Colored Ribbons to Symbolize Your Cause

How powerful is the colored ribbon as a visual awareness symbol? Can causes and nonprofits continue to adopt existing colored ribbons and yet still have meaning invested in all the rest? What’s the potential for confusion when two or more different charities/causes claim the same color of ribbon? When another cause adopts a colored ribbon already in use, does it undermine meaning or expand it? Could another iconic image beside a ribbon come to mean as much? Isn’t there a ‘me-to’ aspect to ribbons nowadays? Could ribbons be overused to the point where there’s a colored ribbon backlash?

These and other questions came back to me when I heard from a reporter in Columbus, Ohio yesterday asking about a blue ribbon campaign the state is doing in support of child abuse prevention. It reminded me of ‘thank you to our sponsors’ ad I found in the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database from WalkAmerica, the fundraiser for the March of Dimes.

In the bottom right corner of the March of Dimes ad was a b…

Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Still an Active Cause Marketer

In the immediate aftermath of Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s silly public missteps with Planned Parenthood (and KFC before that), a lot of pundits read the tea leaves and foresaw corporate defections from Komen’s sponsor list and public excoriation.

So much for all that.

On April 5, 2012 Komen and Caribou Coffee announced a deal whereby Komen would be the beneficiary of Amy’s Blend, a coffee blend names for former Caribou roastmaster Amy Erickson, who succumbed to breast cancer after a lengthy battle. Komen is also the partner in Amy’s Gardens, three gardens that celebrate Erickson’s valiant fight.

With 450 stores, Caribou is the second-largest coffee house chain in the United States, after the much, much larger Starbucks.

Caribou inked the deal despite the fact that there are anti-Komen websites, scholars whose careers hinge on being anti-Komen, an anti-Komen documentary movie, and a half-dozen of so direct competitors.

Komen absorbs the blows from all these brickbats and more and keeps on…

Results from Cinnabon’s Cause-Powered Location-Based Social-Media Campaign

Last year Cinnabon wanted to straighten out the mess of location venues listed on Foursquare and Facebook Places, and cause marketing helped the company achieve excellent results.

Cinnabon was active on both Foursquare and Facebook Places, but the venue listings were something of a mess. Cinnabon makes cinnamon rolls and other sweet-smelling treats meant to tempt as you walk through the mall, airport concourse, or other high-traffic locales. That's one of their pecan-caramel tempters at the left.

Because of duplicates or bad GPS coordinates many Cinnabon locations showed poorly in Foursquare search results. To correct that, the company determined to undertake ‘venue optimization.’

“Venue optimization creates one location that would be checked into most often, and that increases your visibility on Foursquare,” Cinnabon’s corporate communications manager Rachel Hadley told the Nation’s Restaurant News earlier this month. “If there are 10 other venues for that location with a few check-…

Using Cause Marketing to Reward Volunteers

Quick post today without any editorializing. I hope you’ll express your opinion in the comments below. is a mobile app that let’s businesses reward charitable behavior from charity volunteers with discounts and coupons.

Here’s how it works: volunteers grab the app and sign up in either ‘say cause’ or ‘do cause’ categories. 'Say' volunteers might Tweet or post in support of a cause. 'Do' volunteers offer something more hands-on and real-world.

Volunteers earn points for their activities which can be redeemed at local businesses. Local businesses reward people from their existing stock of discounts and promotions. For a fee they get a report that tells them what offers, causes, and people actually move the sales needle.

“At long last,” the explanatory video above says, “cause-related marketing has metrics.” appears to be limited right now to Indianapolis.

What do you think? Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Cause Marketing Puts Eyeglass-Maker Warby Parker in the Big Time

Warby Parker, which uses buy one-give one (BOGO) cause marketing as a key element of its positioning and marketing has officially hit the big time. Investors and the business press are taking note of the company’s 500 percent growth in 2011.

Since its founding in 2010 Warby Parker has sold stylish spectacles for $95. For every pair you buy the company gives a second pair to someone who needs them.

Since Warby Parker’s BOGO appeal emerged on the heels of TOMS Shoes BOGO, it’s easy to conclude that its BOGO was a case of me-to. But there’s more to the story than that.

Eyeglasses were invented in 1286 by Friar Giordano da Pisa. Ben Franklin added the bifocals in the 1780s. But aside from little things like adding gradient lenses or different coatings, there hasn’t been that much innovation in eyeglasses in the years since. (Although that may be changing with "Google glasses").

Eyeglasses seem exactly like the kind of product that would be commoditized. And, yet, strangely, they ha…

Entrepreneurs: In Cause Marketing You’re the Pretty Girl

Yesterday’s post hinted at a way nonprofits might identify entrepreneurs open to the idea of cause marketing. Today I want to suggest what a entrepreneur might look for in a cause partner.

There are at least 1.5 million 501(c)(3)s nonprofits in the United States. The term 501(c)(3) means that they can offer tax deductibility to their donors. Of those, less than 160,000 take in $1 million or more in revenue. A little more than half of that 1.5 million take in $100,000 or less.

Yesterday I mentioned that according to Census figures there are some 6 million firms in the United States with employees. In other words, there are a couple of businesses for every nonprofit charity.

Yet, despite that fact, to a cause looking for money businesses are like the pretty girl at the party. And if you’re a business with a charitable inclination you’re like Sofia Vergara pretty!

So how do you decide from among the suitors?

One option, of course, is that you don’t decide. That is, that you have relationships…

Finding the Entrepreneur That Wants to Support Your Cause Marketing

The latest numbers show that causes are still being squeezed on two sides: by increasing demands for services; and by donation rates that trail the increase in demand. Cause marketing can help fill part of the shortfall. But, as ever, causes face the challenge of knowing just who to approach.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was some way for charities to know which business people are most likely to be open to their appeals?

A survey published in Inc Magazine has some broad answers for charity fundraisers looking to partner with businesspeople.

The survey results, published in the March 2012 issue of Inc, draw on the work of Professor Noam Wasserman, who teaches the popular course ‘Founders’ Dilemmas’ at Harvard Business School. Wasserman has a new book out called The Founder’s Dilemmas.

Wasserman asked ‘roughly 2,000’ business founders what motivates them to start and operate businesses. The answers, not surprisingly, are different for women than men and change over time for both sexes.

In …

Some Unsolicited Cause Marketing Advice to a Growing Race Series

Run Like a Mother is women’s-only 5K race that takes place on Mother’s Day in 12 cities across the United States. It sounds like a cause, but it’s not. Instead, each of the dozen races benefit their own causes. However, a couple of small cause marketing twists would give the race a huge advantage over its countless competitors.

Run Like a Mother (RLM) was founded by mother-of-three and fitness trainer Megan Searfoss. Megan started the race in Ridgefield, Connecticut in 2008 and, with the sponsorship of Redbook Magazine (see at the Redbook ad left), has expanded to 12 cities in 2012. The race has a kids’ component and a party after the race.

“The mission of Run Like a Mother,” the website says, “is to fuel a woman’s journey toward health and wellness. Empower with education and training programs. Inspire with communities, events and races. Enable through programs and partnerships.”

It strikes me as a fun race and a cool idea.

But I’d suggest that they make a couple of changes that would se…