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Five Cause Marketing Questions Sponsors Need an Answer to From Potential Nonprofit Partners

Yesterday’s post ‘Five Questions Nonprofit Marketers Need Answers to From Potential Sponsors’ was inspired by a monthly column in Smart Money. Each month the personal finance magazine publishes a feature called “10 Things X Won’t Tell You.” The intent of the feature is to show that your interests and those of your bank, say, don’t always align.

In the interest of better alignment between causes and sponsors, here are five questions that a potential sponsor better have a satisfying answer to before engaging in a cause marketing relationship with a charity.
  1. Am I Just a Paycheck to You? I had a conversation the other day with a potential cause marketing sponsor scouting for a cause. Their first goal was to generate money for their putative partner. Of course, they also had several business and marketing goals as well. Sophisticated sponsors know that most causes expect money from cause marketing. Fair enough. But if that represents most of a cause’s motivation a sponsor ought to know that. 
  2. Can We Work a Deal Where I Get a Look at Your Supporter’s List? As I’ve written in the past, while the U.S. has more than 1.5 million 501(c)(3) nonprofits, only a tiny fraction have a really good list. But for those that do, if the sponsor could come up with the right product and promotion mix, it could be a win-win for the cause and the sponsor.
  3. Can We Date Before We Marry? Eric Ries, guru and author of the best-seller the ‘Lean  Startup’ makes a mint telling new and established companies alike to figure out cheaper ways to test the market potential of products and services. He told Quicken, for instance, to put together a kind ‘sell sheet’ of a potential product with its features and benefits and see how the market reacted, rather than to build the software and hope people bought it. The Internet enables a low-risk approach like this for would-be cause marketing partners, too. 
  4. Where Will I Fit in Your Sponsor Pecking Order? The biggest, most prominent cause marketing charities have long sponsor lists. And the companies at the top of the list get more perks and bennies than the ones at the bottom of the list. This can be motivating. Or dispiriting. Sponsors need to get comfortable with where they’re likely to fit.
  5. I Know You Have Your Favorite Cause Marketing Methods. Will You Cook Up Something Special Just for Me? Savvy causes have certain schemas, or blueprints that they tend to follow depending on the sponsor. Any retailer that gets good foot traffic, for instance, is a possibility for a paper icon effort. But a wholesale distributor or a tire warehouse or a flower grower is a different can of beans. And so you’ll want to know if the cause is capable of coming up with something from outside their usual bag of tricks.


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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…

Cause-Related Marketing Meets Microfinance and Mix it Up

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Actually that first sentence is hyperbole. Because even in Ulaanbaatar… far from almost anywhere on the vast, frigid steppes of Mongolia… microfinance is thriving such that the earliest recipients of micro loans there are now complaining about taxes and government bureaucracy! And May 29-31, 2008 the Conference of Microfinance Institutions will convene in Ulaanbaatar, the eleventh such annual conference.
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Cause Marketing Beer with BOGO, Brew One Give One

On Monday’s post I touched on the topic of telling people what your cause marketing campaign accomplished when completed. I’ve recommended this approach to clients as a way to keep open the lines of communication with customers and clients and to get extra value from the campaign.

In other words, you’ll want to hold back some of the promotion’s budget to continue to activate the effort until the very end.

But what if that really cuts across the grain in your organization? What if it’s just not in your corporate DNA to do anything but to frontload your cause marketing activation? Well, then, add the report back to the activation of your next cause marketing effort.

New Belgium Brewing of Ft. Collins, Colorado, said to be the seventh largest brewery in the United States, did just that with this ad in Sunset magazine. I found this ad in the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database.

New Belgium donates $1 for every barrel it brews and sells. It’s a BOGO cause marketing effort, Buy One Give One. …