Cause Marketers: Seize the Day

Beth Kanter ( @kanter) shared this Performance Research study with me that shows that American consumers are in favor of more corporate sponsorship dollars flowing to causes and nonprofits. 

A few key points for cause marketers:

  • 41% of those surveyed believed that sponsorships of nonprofits and causes should increase to raise opinions of corporate America. Compare that to the 13% that felt sponsorships of sporting events should increase.
  • For companies that are stable and profitable, consumers would like to see more spending on sports (77%), cultural programs (79%) and causes or nonprofits (84%).

Note to cause marketers: now is the time to make your case to corporate sponsors. And with the slip in support for sports sponsorships the time may be right to approach your local professional sports teams as well.

Let me explain.

Because sports sponsorships are under fire from consumers, the halo causes and nonprofits bring to sponsorship pacts is even more valuable. If Bank of America, for example, decided to drop their sponsorship with the Boston Red Sox because of the public's backlash over corporate spending, BofA and the Red Sox might instead partner with a charity (e.g. The Salvation Army) around which they could brand and execute the BofA sponsorship.

In addition to the traditional trappings of sponsorships found at Red Sox games, BofA may, among other things, co-brand red and blue kettles throughout Fenway Park so fans can support the Army and BofA will match whatever is raised.

Involving The Salvation Army sanitizes the sponsorship for BofA, makes it a more worthwhile investment for the community and meets consumer demand for corporate atonement and responsibility. It also keeps the Red Sox in the red so they can continue to invest in talent to beat the snot out of the Yankees this summer.

The recent program we executed with the Boston Bruins is an example of how such a program might take shape at the retail level.

While it's easy to look at the current economy and conclude there is little to cheer for, cause marketers may have cause to start a fan wave. We have public opinion on our side, a good pool of corporate prospects and a competitive pitch that beats radio, tv and print.

There is an old saying death is bad for the person, but good for the undertaker. It's time that cause marketers started talking and acting as winners in an economy that's pushing up daisies.