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VOL. 126 | NO. 14 | Friday, January 21, 2011

Pearl and Mel Shaw

Marketing for a Cause


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Part two of a two-part series

Cause marketing is one way that businesses and corporations support and promote nonprofit organizations. A cause marketing program allows a business to engage with nonprofits over and above their community relations program. As the name suggests, the emphasis is on marketing, and that means that a business will draw on its sales and marketing resources to make the program successful.

This can be a great benefit to nonprofits who often have more limited marketing budgets and who tend to have less reach than many businesses.

Last week, we highlighted Chuck Hutton Toyota Scion’s current cause marketing promotion, We Care We Share. Adrienne Bailey, the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Memphis, had called our attention to the promotion after meeting with people from the dealership. “This campaign holds the promise of funding and exposes us to a broader market in a new way,” she said.

This week, we talked with other organizations who are potential beneficiaries. Angela Bledsoe, director of development at the Exchange Club Family Center, said, “We work with our clients very closely and every donation is important. We are glad that Chuck Hutton thought of us and included us in the process. We got our volunteers, board members and staff involved. This provides us with an opportunity for people to read about the center and learn more about us.”

In case you didn’t read last week’s column, people go online and vote to determine which local nonprofits will share $20,000 in funding. Six organizations are nominated, but only four will receive funding. You make the decision!

Tim Sampson, director of communications for Soulsville Foundation, said, “We were really happy to be nominated – and surprised to learn they knew about our charter school. If selected, funding would be used for current programming and possibly new programming. We are trying to get word out about the promotion using social media. I hope it is having an impact on Chuck Hutton. We have at least one e-mail every day around here inviting people to vote.”

Our experience has shown that cause marketing programs can be an ideal way to engage a business with your organization. You don’t have to wait for a business to approach you about an idea they have. You can take the lead by working with your board and volunteers to look at how you could create business partnerships.

Many of the most successful cause marketing programs we have witnessed began with ideas that were developed within a nonprofit and presented to select businesses. When accepted the ideas were jointly developed. The sky is the limit. Joint benefit is mandatory.

Participate in We Care We Share by visiting www.chuckhuttontoyota.org.

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the owners of Saad & Shaw. They help nonprofit organizations and institutions rethink revenue sources. They are the authors of “How to Solicit a Gift: Turning Prospects into Donors.” Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com or call 522-8727.

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