Earlier this month we shared Joe Water’s new cause marketing matrix and some of the most popular ways to activate both consumers and employees. Today, we will tackle the left side of the matrix, which includes some of the more challenging ways to fundraise through a cause alliance. It is important to think carefully about how these activations will benefit your partnership before taking on these initiatives, but when it’s the right fit – you can achieve great success.
The first cause marketing promotion I worked on was with BRG Communications supporting the first Filene’s Basement store in Cleveland. Buzz building and media coverage were key goals for this effort so we partnered with the local Dress for Success chapter to host a shop-for-charity preview day. The day before the grand opening shoppers could donate $5 at the door to get a first look at the new store and receive an additional 20% off their purchase. The shopping day was solely promoted through local media and Dress for Success’ communications channels. Joe’s matrix is exactly right… the campaign took a lot of effort and coordination from both partners, but fundraising and media goals were exceeded. Filene’s Basement was thrilled with extensive local television coverage and a large front page photo in the city’s major daily paper on opening day. Dress for Success benefited not only financially but also from the media coverage and stakeholder engagement opportunity.
WHAT WORKED: First, we chose the right activation to create success for both parties and we were clear that there were multiple measures of success in addition to dollars raised. Second, we had the right partner whose mission perfectly aligned with the Filene’s Basement brand. Dress for Success’ efforts were crucial to the day’s success and their communications drove a number of shoppers to the event. And of course, hundreds of shoppers got a great deal! Win win win.
The last quadrant houses a few tried and true cause marketing tactics we see in the marketplace every day. Percentage of sales and signature products can certainly raise a lot of funds over time – but the key word is time. Planning for products will take many months and possibly a year or more before the product even gets to consumers. When I worked at Boys & Girls Clubs of America I was part of a multi-disciplinary team that collaborated with Buffalo Wild Wings to develop an integrated national partnership that supports Club sports teams. The group determined that donating a percentage of sales from Buffalo Wild Wing’s line of sauces and seasonings would provide consistent year-round funding while additional campaigns such as an in-store pinup and other local and employee efforts would occur during the year. We worked together to determine the promotion details including packaging and transparency language and a few months later the program launched. Last year, the effort raised more than $1.5 million and the company is working to raise $5 million to support Clubs by 2016.
WHAT WORKS: Buffalo Wild Wings spent a lot of time internally developing a strong vision for their giving platform. They were prepared to bring a number of assets to the table to make the partnership successful for our Clubs and kids as well as their restaurants, consumers and employees. The product sales are one part of what is now a fully integrated partnership impacting thousands of youth. If you want to learn more about what makes their partnership work, you should consider participating in Cause Marketing Forum’s Nonprofit Leadership Summit next month. Mollye is facilitating the closed door session for senior nonprofit executives and Buffalo Wild Wings will be part of a panel discussing what companies really want in a partnership. It should be a great session!
So as you can see there are a number of ways to build a successful cause activation and one size does not fit all. Keep these tips in mind as you determine where your partnership may fall within this matrix.
- Define what success looks like. In addition to fundraising, what other goals are important?
- Understand and agree on your target audience. You will need different tactics for consumers, employees and other stakeholders.
- Know your timeline. Do you need results quickly or do you have time to invest in some of the longer term opportunities.
- Mix and match. You don’t have to stick to one idea! The right combination of tactics can help build momentum (and dollars) and make your campaign more memorable.
Thanks Joe for the great resource!