Countdown to Halloween Town: Charity Pinups to the People

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This pinup is our fifth and has been a close companion of the Halloween Town event since it began in 2005. Single handedly the charity pinup has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for my nonprofit! I've written before on the merits of pinup programs in general and Halloween Town's in particular. 

Before I give you some additional reading, I want to admit that I'm guilty of one heinous crime: not using one consistent name for charity pinup programs. I've called them point-of-sale, paper icons, mobiles, paper plaques and probably several other names. I'm trying to stick to "pinups" from now on, but you'll see these other names in the titles and posts I'll suggest to you. Forgive me.

For a primer on charity pinup programs read:

Never Heard of Paper Icons? Listen Up (Also includes a link to an excellent post on "paper icons" by Paul Jones over at the Cause-Related Marketing)

To read about the development of our Halloween Town pinup program the past few years, check out:

Countdown to Halloween Town: The Power of Pinups (2008 Program)

Countdown to Halloween Town: Mobile Madness (2007 Program)

Secrets of a Mobile Master (2006 Program)

We just don't do pinup programs in October. We do them throughout the year. Read about our most recent program here:

Phantom Gourmet Cooks-Up Cause Marketing Success

From reading these posts I think you'll agree that our Halloween Town pinup program has a lot of great advantages.

It's lucrative. This year we should top $800,000 raised since the program began in 2005 (at an expense of about 12 cents on the dollar).

Prospects can't say no to it. Because unlike other kinds of marketing they pay for, this one is free. They only need to give us access to their stores and to motivate their register clerks to ask the all-important question: "Would you like to donate a dollar to help a sick child?"

Partners love the added benefits. Our pinup programs aren't just glorified customer loyalty programs. We build them around multiple retailers--that offer valuable cross-promotion--and events, like Halloween Town that in 2008 had 15,000 guests. Retailers that sell pinups in their stores get a free sponsorship spot at Halloween Town that markets their product or service outside the "choir" to new converts.

It's powerful advertising. We've never spent much money advertising Halloween Town. We don't have to because the pinup does most of the promoting for us. Surveys collected at the event show that in some years as many as 1 in 5 attendees said they heard about Halloween Town from the pinup.

This doesn't mean that pinup programs are easy to sell and are always home runs. They're not. But over the past five years, my team and I have learned from trial and error what works and what doesn't. We've boiled down all of our experiences, expertise and insights into a program that we hope to share with you just as soon as Halloween Town is over.

We've been successful AND lucky: six figure cause marketing has been a reality for us every year since 2005. And we're convinced it's not something unique to our nonprofit. Any nonprofit can do it if they are motivated, educated and in tune to the assets around them.

You can learn more about Six Figure Cause Marketing here.