3 Things I Learned About Cause Marketing on My Vacation

I really don't unplug on vacation. I don't like to disconnect from my gadgets or my work. I like to have my two sidearms, my iPhone and cause marketing, on at all times, thank you very much. So it's not surprising that after spending time in Hyannis on Cape Cod last week I came home with a few cause marketing lessons--captured on my iPhone no less!

canisterIf you don't care why should I? I guess because we were in and out of stores and shops and restaurants all week I noticed things like this: a coin canister tucked behind a display. I even found one on its side in the bagging area of the supermarket. It was half-full of coins and bills, but no one had bothered to put it back where it belonged or to even steal it!

I felt the store was doing the nonprofit a great disservice, and sending a horrible message that the charity was unimportant, secondary and expendable. That's not the kind of business I would want to call my partner.

tjmaxxPut your efforts in to what happens between people. That's where the money is. I saw this huge window sign for a charity when I was leaving TJ Maxx in Hyannis. But I had to laugh when I read at the bottom "see register for details." No one told or asked me anything at the register. Nor did I see any "details", that is until I left the store. Opportunity lost.

TGIFCompare my experience at TJ Maxx to the one I had at TGI Friday at the Cape Cod Mall. All these stars to support Make-a-Wish didn't sell themselves. It requires a real, live human being to ask "Would you like to donate a dollar to Make-a-Wish?"

When executing your next cause marketing program, save your money on expensive grapic design and display advertising, and put it into training and perhaps incentivizing front-end employees to ask--and keep asking--customers to give.

mda-fill2Keep it simple, stupid. Driving in Hyannis I ran into a "Fill the Boot" stop to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I had almost forgotten about these it's been so long since I've seen one. But I know them well, having planned more than a few with firefighters when I worked for MDA as my first job out of college. Boot drives raise a lot of money and are easy to execute. With all the events I now do and all the work and resources involved, few match the efficiency--or lucrativeness--of a simple boot drive.

Boot drives work best when they're executed by a well known community group like fire fighters so they probably won't be part of my future anytime soon. But seeing a boot drive in action again has given me a much needed kick in the pants to adhere to Emerson's advice that "Only in our easy, simple and spontaneous actions are we strong."

The lasting memories and simple pleasures of summer vacation are the best indeed!