Thu, February 20 2014
We’re pleased to announce the release of our new guide, Engaging Millennial Employees. While the guide focuses on helping companies understand how social good can help them win over young talent, this ebook is packed with facts that nonprofits use to better engage Gen Y supporters, staff, and volunteers—as well as strengthen their value proposition to corporate sponsors.
Here’s a tip from the guide that can help your nonprofit effectively integrate Millennial employees into your culture and fundraising goals.
Myth: Millenials don’t care about communities
A recent American Psychological Association (APA) study purports that Millennials are selfish, close-minded, and greedy. Somewhat unsurprisingly, MTV—arguably a Millennial-made network—came to their defense by rebutting some of these claims about “Generation Me.”
In the APA study, only 36% of Millennials supported “participating in a community action program.” MTV posed the same question in different words. When asked the importance of “helping those who are less fortunate in your community,” 66% of Millennials responded affirmatively. This, of course, is great news for your cause.
Fact: transparency rules
The “MTV Generation” (Gen X and Gen Y) believes in companies that are aligned with charity. A full 83% of Millennials trust socially responsible companies, and 74% are more likely to pay attention to that company’s message because of its deep cause commitment.
What to do:
Help your corporate partners demonstrate a meaningful alignment with your cause by co-branding campaign communications. Showcase their financial support via impact metrics (think: donation thermometer, images of who you’re helping, testimonials, seals of approval) on your website. In turn, ask the company to display your nonprofit’s logo on their corporate social responsibility and/or community pages with a link back to your site.
Why this helps your cause:
Millennials searching for jobs look to the company’s nonprofit partnerships to guide their decision as to whether or not the work is authentic. By building a meaningful corporate partnership, you lend credibility to the company’s portfolio and attract Millennials who are passionate about working for a cause.
For more facts and myths about Millennials, download the free guide: Engaging Millennial Employees: Recruit and Retain Top Talent with Cause.
Wed, January 29 2014
Have you ever wondered how your nonprofit could further expand its reach, win over new donors, and raise more money? One way is to explore cause marketing and collaborate with businesses to get new exposure for your cause. Partnering with businesses is not just for large organizations and nonprofits no longer have to rely on a sponsorship model to see results. Joe Waters, author of Cause Marketing for Dummies and writer of the blog Selfish Giving, recently released a new book that serves as a practical, how-to manual for creating successful fundraising programs with businesses. In Fundraising with Businesses, Joe offers 40 doable ideas, complete with examples and tips for getting started. I had the chance to ask Joe a few questions about the new book, and his outlook on the future of cause marketing.
Joe Waters: I wrote Cause Marketing for Dummies to give people an overview of cause marketing. The challenge is that most people don’t know what cause marketing is and they define it in different ways. I tried to clarify this in my latest book by replacing cause marketing with fundraising with businesses. Compared to CM4D, FWB gives the reader a much deeper dive on the strategies for fundraising with businesses. So many nonprofits only think of two things: cash and sponsorship. I don’t even talk about sponsorship in this book. Nonprofits need to know that there are many creative ways to raise money with businesses—to be exact, there are 40!
Beyond the additional revenue a successful business fundraising program might bring in, what are some of the other benefits of doing a fundraiser with a business?
JW: A good business fundraiser gives you access to the largest group of givers: individuals. Think of your work with businesses as a conduit to the largest piece of the philanthropic pie. Of the dollars nonprofits raise, only 6 percent—on average—comes directly from businesses. 72 percent of monies come from individuals. Traditional corporate giving (e. g. grants) is like playing the slots in Vegas—long odds and small payouts. The 40 strategies I outline in FWB bring in consumers, employees and shoppers. That’s the real jackpot.
What is the biggest mistake (or missed opportunity) that nonprofits make when it comes to partnering and fundraising with businesses?
JW: A lot of nonprofits miss all the great things that are right under their feet! Many have existing sponsorships that can be converted into more lucrative fundraisers. If you’re working with a business that boasts lots of locations and foot traffic, sponsorship is just the tip of the iceberg for fundraising. You could be doing so much more. However, the biggest mistake is when nonprofits don’t even realize the potential businesses have for their organization. So often, effective business fundraising isn’t about finding the opportunity. It’s about detecting and acting on the partnerships you already have.
Of the ideas you highlight in the book, which type of fundraiser is your favorite to participate in as a donor? As a fundraiser?
JW: As a former fundraiser, it’s hard not to focus on the “money” strategies. These are point of sale strategies like pinups, register programs, donation boxes and roundup fundraisers. These programs raise hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Even local programs can raise five or six figures.
As a donor, I love any program where there is sincerity and engagement from the business. I want to know that the business really cares about causes. For example, last year after the Boston Marathon bombing the businesses on Newbury Street, a high-end shopping district just one street over from the marathon finish line, pulled together for a one-day shopping event. Their aim was to help a fellow stylist who lost both her legs in the bombing. They raised over $100K. It was great to see so many businesses coming together to support someone in so many ways. While I call my blog Selfish Giving, I love examples of unselfish giving best.
Look into the Selfish Giving crystal ball: What’s the next big thing for cause marketing/fundraising with businesses?
JW: Mobile, mobile, mobile. I’m bullish on how much mobile will impact fundraising with businesses. It already has from an engagement perspective since mobile is where most people are getting their cause news and information via email, the mobile web, and social networks. I have to remind nonprofits that people are now carrying their causes around with them in their pockets and bags. The future of nonprofit marketing and fundraising is engaging people where they are and where they care.
One technology that is making this future a reality is iBeacon. iBeacon is “micro-location” because it’s designed to work in a physical location (like a store) with your phone - specifically your retail apps. With an iBeacon transmitter businesses can better interact with smartphone-toting consumers in and near their stores. Sure, they can push coupons to them when they walk in the door, but they can also give them one when they linger in a particular aisle or over a specific product.
Companies can even push reminders to consumers. “Last time you were on our website you were searching for a blend of coffee that we now have in stock.”
Think about the possibilities for cause marketing. Companies can let customers know when they are supporting a cause, which products are eligible for a donation, and even ask you while you stand in line at checkout if you want to donate to a cause. iBeacon could also process that donation right from your mobile device.
I warn people that if people and their addiction to their phones drive them crazy, they may want to plan for a long nap. It’s only going to increase the next few years. But thanks to generous companies and nonprofits it won’t just be Snapchat, Facebook, and Angry Birds. People will also be using their phones for good.
Thanks to Joe for giving us the inside scoop on the book and what’s next for fundraising with businesses. For more of Joe’s thoughts on cause marketing and nonprofit trends, follow him on Twitter.
Thu, May 16 2013
Filed under: Cause-related marketing •
image via the Sparkologist
As I’ve often written on this blog, human beings are inherently empathetic. Our brains are hardwired to relate to other people’s experiences. When we witness or imagine someone acting, our neurons fire the same way they would if we were undertaking the same action. That’s why your heart races when your favorite athlete soars toward the basket or why the sight of a mother struggling to save her child from floodwaters causes you pain.
When we translate this empathy into helping another person, our brains have another reaction: We’re rewarded with happy feelings, thanks to a dopamine dose to our brain’s pleasure center.
That’s powerful stuff for nonprofit marketers.
You can read about how the science of giving relates to nonprofit marketing in Network for Good’s eBooks Homer Simpson for Nonprofits and Lisa Simpson for Nonprofits. And now I’ve translated these same learnings for companies looking to engage their customers through cause marketing programs. This new eGuide – The Brainiac’s Guide to Cause Marketing: How People’s Minds Really Work, and What That Means for Your Next Campaign – shows that if we get how people think, we can get them to do.
While the findings are geared toward a corporate audience, the lessons still apply to those of us who work in nonprofit marketing. Plus this is a great resource to share with your corporate partners. You can demonstrate true value as a partner in helping companies deepen their engagement with customers through cause initiatives with your organization.
The Brainiac’s Guide to Cause Marketing has lots of ideas to do just that.
Wed, April 17 2013
Filed under: Cause-related marketing •
A new study conducted by Good.Must.Grow has found consumers are apt to like and buy products from socially responsible companies - but they also question the claims of corporations who say they are committed to the greater good.
In the poll of 1,015 Americans, nearly a third of respondents claimed to have sought out socially responsible companies and a quarter said they avoided buying products from a company specifically because it wasn’t socially responsible. A majority (60%) of the study participants said buying goods from socially responsible companies was important to them, though a good deal tended to trump that consideration.
That’s good news for those of us pitching cause partnerships to companies. But it’s important to bear in mind another finding: Consumers are skeptical too, and 63% only sometimes trust a company’s claims that it is socially responsible.
It’s important for nonprofits and companies to build trust with the right partnerships. Here’s my advice:
1. Find the fit. Consumers are more likely to believe and embrace a company’s cause-related efforts if they’re reasonably aligned with their brand. For example, an athletic footwear brand is a better fit for anti-obesity sports programs than a fast food company. Seek out companies with values aligned with your nonprofit.
2. Show the money. Make sure your corporate partner practices complete and total transparency about the cause-related efforts. How many dollars went where, to what end? Help consumers see the resulting impact on real world problems.
3. Walk the talk. Choose a company that shows it’s a good corporate citizen in how it treats its employees, customers, suppliers, etc. Cause-related efforts that are strictly advertising ploys will spark skepticism. Consumers can smell crass corporate self-interest a mile away.
The bottom line? Find the right partner so consumers will embrace the partnership.
Tue, February 05 2013
Filed under: Cause-related marketing •
Cause marketing grew again in 2012. Why are more and more companies embracing good causes? Because it works to drive sales - and do good in the process.
According to Edelman and emarketer, customers are consistently more inclined to buy products from companies aligned with causes.
That said, there is still plenty of research showing consumers are increasingly shrewd about discerning just how caring a company truly is. And they punish those that are not.
If you are doing any cause-related marketing - or working with companies who are - remember these three golden rules.
Does the partnership pass the sniff test for suitability? For example, even if the company donated all of its profits, Hummer would never be a good partner for Greenpeace. Sounds obvious, right? But I’ve seen some partners that seemed poorly suited. You want a fit that makes sense to the consumer. You also want a fit that makes sense to the corporation and the cause, who should look for a deeper win-win. An ideal partnership is one where the cause and company’s objectives reinforce each other.
A close cousin of suitability, authenticity is about the company walking the talk of the cause. Does the company advance the principles of the cause in its own work and products? Or is it a way of countering problems? The latter won’t work. That’s writewashing, greenwashing, or pinkwashing, depending on the cause.
It’s not enough to say, we’re partners and a portion of proceeds benefits xyz charity. Both the company and the charity need to say what amount of money is going where to do what. Very, very clearly - on everything. Put it on price tags, marketing materials, everywhere. Err on the side of openness. The backlash is bitter - especially on social media - if you are not.
If you’re a company, by all means partner with a cause. It will be good for your brand - and your sales. But only if you do it right. And if you’re a nonprofit, make sure your partners are genuine. When they are, you get a healthy bottom line - and a better world in the process.