Cause Marketing and the Power to Convene

On Feb 1, 2013 Bushnell announced that it had made a $145,000 donation to Folds of Honor, a cause that offers scholarships to the spouses of disabled or fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. In total, Bushnell has donated $450,000 since 2010.

Part of the donation came from Bushnell’s pledge to give $1 for each download of the song, “What Matters Most,” by country singer Craig Morgan, himself a US Army veteran. But part of the donation comes from regular folks who donated at Bushnell’s website.

Bushnell, which makes binoculars and rifle scopes, didn’t break out the dollars for the 2013 donation, but the press release did say that the donation for the song download was capped at $10,000.

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that you and I and a lot of other regular folks donated the other $135,000. If so, that seems like a pretty sweet deal for Bushnell because they get to take credit for a $145,000 donation!

But step back from your cynicism for a moment and factor this in: whatever Bushnell actually donated in cash they also gave Folds of Honor a valuable gift, namely they convened people to join in supporting a cause they deemed important. The power to convene means having the clout to ask people, groups, and companies to join together and have them say yes.

Presidents and Prime Ministers have the power to convene just by virtue of their elected office, but it can and does reside in others as well. Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum, for instance, has it.

Some ex-politicians also have the power to convene. If Tony Blair’s office called and asked me to come to some event they were organizing, I’d be there. Arguably, the power to convene is one of Bill Clinton’s most potent post-presidential powers.

In this case, Bushnell convened its marketing and promotional talents on behalf of Folds of Honor. Bushnell donated web space and advertised on its behalf. I saw this ad in the Nov. 2012 Field & Stream magazine. Earlier this month, Bushnell rallied its promotional forces to publicize the donation.

Properly utilized, the power to convene can be one of the most effective donations a sponsor could offer its cause partners.

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