The growth of the program is impressive in light of the clinic's small cause marketing staff, which also handles sponsorships and traditional corporate giving - among other things.
The two-person team - Joe and senior director Chris McMahan - are a formidable duo (think Batman and Robin)!
Joe has been with Cleveland Clinic for nearly three years. He came from a position that's good training ground for cause marketers: sponsorship sales for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Lake Erie Monsters, Cleveland's AHL hockey team.
Joe and Chris' first order of business was to identify companies that had more to offer than traditional corporate gifts. They also focused on the most lucrative types of cause marketing programs: charity pinups, register programs and percentage-of-sales programs.
Petitti's Garden Centers Supports Cleveland Clinic's Children's Hospital
A great example of a local cause marketing program Chris and Joe launched was Cleveland Clinic's partnership with Petitti Garden Centers, which has nine store location in northeast Ohio.
Before 2013, the register program in Petitti stores raised $9,000. Two years ago, Cleveland Clinic made a point to visit each store to share with employees the story of one patient in the Children's Hospital. In 2013, the fundraiser quadrupled its results and raised $40,000!
Last year, Petitti convinced lawn and garden giant Scotts Miracle-Gro to match customer donations. The program grew like a weed and raised $100,000 in 2014.
These are impressive numbers, especially for a local garden with just nine retails locations. It reminded me of another six-figure fundraiser involving nine stores: Shake Shack's fundraiser for No Kid Hungry.
The point is clear. Cause marketing isn't just for big nonprofits and businesses. Passion, education and persistence can produce big returns for nonprofits and companies of all sizes.
Party City Gives the Gift of Hope to Cancer Patients
Last September, Cleveland Clinic Florida worked with Party City on a register fundraiser at 800+ retail locations.
Despite having facilities around the country and the world, the team at the hospital worried that shoppers would balk at supporting a Cleveland-based organization. Party City adjusted its pitch at the register by asking shoppers to donate one, three or five dollars "to support cancer patients."
It worked! The program raised $374,000. Party City was so pleased with the results they're moving the fundraiser to their busiest month, October.