More than 140 characters are needed to share key info and insights from the 2011 Cause Marketing Forum Conference. To that point, here is an expanded version of Amanda Nicewander’s @Formomentum #CMF11 posts. Check out Mollye’s, Kim’s, and Michele’s posts too!
@ForMomentum #CMF11 Tweets by Amanda Nicewander (^AN)
We had the pleasure of getting to know Joe Waters better at CMF11, after a couple of years admiring his work via his popular blog, Selfish Giving. This year he led one of CMF’s Powerful Discussions, focusing on the increased, successful use in cause marketing of location-based apps like Gowalla, Foursquare, and Facebook Places. Up to this point, the main cause marketing activity utilizing these apps has been the “Check-in and Give Back” model, where consumers are invited to check-in on their mobile phones when they enter certain brick and mortar stores or restaurants, which in turn generates a donation, usually $1, to a benefiting nonprofit organization. It was interesting to note that besides the expected Millennials, the next largest demographic of location-based app users were women, who we know are most apt to embrace cause marketing initiatives and also make the majority of family purchasing decisions. This indicates that there is good opportunity to capitalize on the location-based cause marketing tactic for fundraising and awareness.
What was also interesting about this session was the notion Joe raised that within 18-24 months we could have the technology to “Pay Now” or “Donate Now” and instantly purchase merchandise or donate to our favorite charities on our smart phones. As someone who uses an older model Blackberry and balks at the idea of spending hundreds of dollars on the latest gadgets, I doubt this will impact me for several more years. Still, the notion that I could one day be able to donate on-the-go is kind of exciting, and I look forward to seeing how this impacts the cause marketing world. Another interesting factoid from Joe’s session: the Text-to-Give programs that skyrocketed in popularity in early 2010 after the Haiti earthquake could be just a flash-in-the-pan, soon to be replaced by this new mobile giving option (and, one hopes, the new technology will reduce or eliminate the unpopular fees charged by the third-party vendors who process the Text-to-Give donations).
As the Golden Halo Nonprofit winner, DonorsChoose got a lot of exposure at CMF11. Founder Charles Best gave a great talk about the history of the organization, its impact and its mission, as well as details on its cause alliance evolution. For those who don’t know, partner Crate and Barrel has for several years run a campaign offering DonorsChoose gift cards to their shoppers, who could donate the funding to the school project of their choice. It was a great campaign that funded a lot of projects for DonorsChoose. The part I found most interesting was the statistic Charles shared that Crate and Barrel shoppers who did receive DonorsChoose gift cards spent 16% more in stores than a control group of customers who didn’t receive cards. This was solid ROI for the corporate partner – which I think we don’t always hear enough about. With most cause marketing campaigns, we can rattle off statistics all day about how much was raised for the charity, the number of volunteers who were activated, new donors added to the database, how many new Facebook fans they picked up, etc. We don’t hear as often about the increased sales, employee satisfaction, or customer loyalty that most corporations enter a partnership hoping to achieve. I added this request for a little more focus on corporate ROI to my CMF11 Conference evaluation, so hopefully by this time next year, we’ll have a more solid supply of statistics that will help us benchmark our own campaigns.