Cause Marketers, Let's Really Start Hearing One Another

I’ve been writing this blog for almost seven years and have been involved with cause marketing for more than 20 years. During that time one of my enduring complaints has been that marketers from the causes and from the sponsors were talking to each other, but not really listening. It was like a modestly-happy couple communicating everything, except trust. But now there are increasing signs that they’re finally hearing and trusting each other.

Witness a label effort from 2011 that I found in the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database called Child Hunger Ends Here from ConAgra Foods on behalf of Feeding America. ConAgra owns more than a half dozen food brands including three that target children; Chef Boyardee, Peter Pan peanut butter, and the Kid Cuisine brand of quick-serve meals.

When you entered the 8-digit code from the package of any participating ConAgra item at and a donation is made to Feeding America, up to 2.5 million meals. That probably represented a cash donation of something like $360,000, since Feeding America says it gets seven meals out of each dollar.

After you entered the code, you were ushered to a page that offered up printable coupons for ConAgra items and asked for your email address.

But pay special attention to the three things that opting-in brought:
  1. "Yes, I would like to receive future emails about the Child Hunger Ends Here program."
  2. "Yes, I would like to receive emails from Feeding America."
  3. "Yes, I would like to receive emails about ConAgra Foods brands."
Imagine that. If you opted in to the ConAgra promotion, Feeding America got your email address!

For a very long time I’ve been telling cause marketers, my clients, and you, my faithful readers, to share this kind of data and more…to give onetime cause marketing promotions second life as a database. I won’t claim that ConAgra or Feeding America 'got' my message. Feeding America and ConAgra are very sophisticated organizations, after all.

But I am glad that to be able to point others to forward-thinking cause marketing partners who are really hearing one another.

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