Ep110: How Causes Can Inject Themselves Into Breaking News and Get Noticed

Today on CauseTalk Radio, Megan and I talk to Ken Ungar, Founder & President of U/S Sports Advisors. Ken is a "newsjacking" expert and author of the book Ahead of the Game: What Every Athlete Needs to Know About Sports Business.

Newsjacking, which Ken defines as "When a brand takes advantage of a popular story or topic and inserts itself in the news cycle," is becoming an increasingly popular tactic for companies that want to ride the wave of someone else's popularity.

But can newsjacking work for nonprofits and causes?

In this podcast and post, you'll learn:

  1. How causes can plan to respond to a breaking story
  2. Why your cause needs to think and operate like a newsroom
  3. What cautions you should take to avoid a negative backlash
  4. Good and bad examples of newsjacking
  5. The difference between newsjacking, causejacking and charity-jacking - and how they can all mean more awareness and money for your organization!

The Art of Newjacking via Media Cause

Infographic via Media Cause

Infographic via Media Cause

How Causejacking Can Raise Money & Awareness

Causejacking is when you ride the wave of a cause's popularity to support their efforts AND/OR to further your own prospects for success.

Two great examples of causejacking are Boston Strong and the Ice Bucket Challenge.

After the 2013 explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, causes and companies rushed to help the victims with cause marketing campaigns that raised money for the victims and awareness and favorability for the supporting organizations. Many of the campaigns included the iconic Boston Strong battle cry!

boston strong fundraiser

Another example of causejacking is the Ice Bucket Challenge. At the height of the challenge-mania last summer, New England convenience store chain Cumberland Farms jumped at the chance to support the fight against ALS and earn karma points with customers and employees.

Cumberland Farms donated 20 cents from every bag of ice sold in its 600 stores to the ALS Association. I chose the promotion as one of the best cause marketing promotions of 2014.

cumberland farms

Cumberland Farms wasn't the only organization to causejack the challenge. The Ice Bucket Challenge wasn't linked to any one nonprofit - although most dollars flowed to the ALS Association. This encouraged other ALS-related nonprofits to scramble to have challenge dollars directed to them.

Charities outside the ALS community responded with their own challenge events, which Beth Kanter calls Charity Jacking.

Good fundraising ideas are borrowed. Great fundraising ideas are stolen!

Mentioned in This Podcast

Blizzard, You Say? These 5 Companies Used the Social-Media Hype to Their Advantage

Charities and the Royal Baby

How Oreo Culture-Jacked The Super Bowl

JCPenney Isn't Drunk Tweeting the Super Bowl—It's Wearing Mittens

DiGiorno feels heat for using Ray Rice-inspired domestic violence hashtag to promote pizza

10 Best Cause Marketing Promotions of 2014 [Includes Cumberland Farms]

Embrace Your Inner Grinch and Steal Business from Other Causes