best practice: – n: the recognized methods of correctly running businesses or providing services
The key to establishing best practices in a cause marketing partnership is to infuse the concept of BALANCE. We’ve heard terms like “win-win” used over and over in our industry. While that concept is a vital component of successful cause marketing, the type of BALANCE I’m suggesting is this:
Build strong relationships
Activation is key
Norms and measurement
In our first two posts on this issue, I covered the importance of Building strong partnerships. Activation and Leveraging Assets for Cause Partnership success. This post will illustrate best practices related to Acknowledgement and Norms and measurement.
According to the 2010 IEG Survey of Sponsorship Decision Makers, 48% of respondents rank “assistance with measuring ROI/ROO” as extremely valuable. And, 42% of respondents rank a recap report as extremely valuable. Yet, in my experience most nonprofits fail to deliver this critical sponsorship element.
An effective recap report should include an array of highlights from the year’s partnership activities. First, it should summarize and demonstrate how well the activities delivered key agreed elements as outlined in the contract or memo of understanding between parties. Second, it should serve as an historical record for future reference and planning. Be sure to include statistics (impressions achieved, pieces delivered, names captures, etc) as well as a visual history. In the spirit of “a picture is worth a thousand words,” be sure to incorporate images of all promotional messaging elements-ranging from programmatic logos, to print materials, web page screen shots, applicable videos, merchandise, etc. Be sure to provide both hard and soft copy versions of the recap report. This approach serves several goals. First, it demonstrates fulfillment of contracted elements. Second, it reinforces all of the benefits received and helps lay the foundation for future planning and growth. And, this approach results in a report format that can be forwarded up the chain and out to key stakeholders, thereby enhancing understanding of the benefits and likelihood to renew.
Determining what statistics to feature in your recap report segues nicely to the next important best practice element- Norms and Measurement.
A common challenge with tracking the value of cause partnership activities is that so many of the benefits are intangible. However, relying solely on the “good will” or “halo” benefits puts partnership renewal at risk when budgets are reviewed or reduced. It is imperative to build agreed measurements of success into the planning and tracking process. If the program delivers any sort of sales bump for the corporate partner, sales reporting will likely be the key measure management will review. Note that it is highly likely that the nonprofit partner cannot track sales results – the corporate partner must commit to developing and tracking sales-related measures. Beyond sales, many other partnership benefits can be tracked including leads generated, names captured and awareness achieved. Whenever possible, try to measure employee awareness or attitudes. Employees are becoming a primary target for a company’s cause and CSR messaging.
For Momentum knows the importance and value of Acknowledgement and Norms and Measurement and emphasizes the integration of these best practice elements in our clients work. We often find that the key issue inhibiting the development of effective activity and ROI reporting is staff time shortage. To that end, we offer turn-key services for Valuation and Reporting. If you’d like to see a sample of our work, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope you’ll come back and read more in our continuing series on BALANCE for cause partnership success. My next post in Cause Partnership Best Practices, we will address how to optimally Communicate and Evolve your cause partnerships.