This month marks my third anniversary writing for the Mightycause Foundation. After writing for my own blog, Selfish Giving, I’ve written for no other blog more than Mightycause’s Inspiring Generosity. Over the past three years, I’ve written over 150 posts!
These are my favorite posts and my “money quotes” from them. I hope readers will be clicking on these links for years to come.
The Prestige of cause marketing (my area of interest but it could easily apply to fundraising as well) occurs after we take an ordinary nonprofit and for-profit partnership and turn it into something special, a cause marketing program. But executing a cause marketing program isn’t enough. You have to bring it back again and again.
Charity Pinups are just one name for these register programs. People call them paper plaques, mobiles, paper icons, and scannables, to name a few. I prefer pinups because my friend Noland Hoshino likes to call me The Pinup King. And let’s face it, The Scannable King just wouldn’t sound right.
Does the downside outweigh the upside? If anyone can get away with this it will be a charity. Adding a donation is very different than slipping in an extra fee, which really makes people angry when they find it.
Is it okay to take without asking when it’s for charity? Is this a good or bad example of cause marketing? (Lots of good comments on this post!)
The bigger lesson for nonprofits is clear. We all have assets–sometimes physical assets–from which we can raise money. But we don’t always realize what our assets are. Sometimes we need people like Peter Brown who can point them out to us. Even then, we need to be open-minded enough to accept and act on them.
The future of nonprofit and for-profit partnerships is a move away from kitschy pinups and pink-ribbon toasters to deeper connections that drive brand loyalty. Technology is accelerating the evolution of these partnerships and making them omnipresent and – thanks to mobile devices—portable. Nonprofits that aren’t building and cultivating strong, emotional brands are more endangered than drive-ins – and less likely to be saved.
While you may not share my love for the semi-dead, you may agree with this: most of us are surrounded by these mute, will-less, dumb, sometimes evil, and dangerous brutes everyday. The zombies stalking nonprofits are the people and situations they face daily that threaten their success or even their survival.
I love ambush marketing almost as much as I love cause marketing. Ambush marketing is when you take a free ride on someone else’s coattails. Ambush marketing isn’t for the faint of heart. But if your nonprofit is the go-getter I hope it is, here are a few suggestions.
There’s isn’t a more endangered business than independent bookstores. Margins are low and competition from Amazon—never mind everyone else—is fierce. Still, some bookstores are doing more than just surviving. They’re thriving, thanks to marketing smarts and a lot of hard work. The success of these stores is a real page-turner, and nonprofits would be smart to bookmark these three chapters.
Where, when, why and how to inject cause into a business is a bit of a mystery. I don’t think anyone knows when the timing is right, or how much is needed to goose sales or to change the world. But I do know one thing, the first ingredient of a successful business isn’t cause. Of that, I’m sure.
Cause marketing has a lot of buzz in the nonprofit world right now. And with good reason. It’s a new source of revenue for most organizations, and it’s a heck of a lot more interesting than writing grants and running the annual fund. The number one question I get from nonprofits about cause marketing is how to get started. Fortunately, it’s as easy as 1-2-3.