One of the best things I read this past week was how the California Symphony adopted a "long-haul" audience development model to increase attendance, attract younger supporters and land more donors. And it worked spectacularly! I thought, "Heck, what nonprofit doesn't want that!"
I really suggest you read the article in full. But here are a few highlights and the implications for corporate partnerships.
1. They made audience development the #1 priority. Notice I said audience DEVELOPMENT, not GROWTH. The symphony is focused on cultivating quality leads and not just filling their database with contacts. "We’re not pursuing empty corporate sponsor leads with the board...instead [we're] building the list and file notes for board members to call and personally thank donors who gave less-than-major-gift donations because calls to this group have made a dramatic impact on renewals..." The best corporate partnership programs flow from an audience development strategy focused on building an engaged audience of individuals FIRST.
2. They really broke down the audience journey. Regardless of who you are or what your level of support was for the organization, the symphony had a specific plan for you and a specific next step in mind. Everything they pointed you to (with content marketing, no doubt!) was to take that next step...and nothing else! Think about how you could use this same disciplined, step-by-step process to recruit corporate partners.
3. They dissolved the silos between fundraising and marketing. Now, marketing and fundraising work together at the symphony to promote a customer-focused culture. Quoting Patty McCord, who served for many years as chief talent officer at Netflix, the symphony said, “Silos are just gonna slow you down…Companies that are really, truly successful are collaborative and solving for the customer, and you can’t solve for the customer in silos." Think about what YOU could accomplish with corporate partnerships if you tore down the silos between your marketing and partnership teams!
1. This week on CauseTalk Radio, Megan and I talk to to Dashel Schueler, Associate Director of Development and External Relations, at Seattle public radio station KEXP, about International Clash Day. 🎸🤘 The day celebrates the music of the English punk rock band The Clash and others as enablers of social consciousness.
1. Walmart raised $921,000 for Children's of Alabama through a Children's Miracle Network (CMN) fundraiser. The funds were generated by more than 115 Walmart stores and Sam's Clubs in Alabama late last year through customer and member donations. Listen to how CMN keeps its partners engaged and coming back for years (sometimes decades!)
In other checkout charity news, customers and associates throughout Kroger’s Atlanta division, which incorporates Georgia, Eastern Alabama and South Carolina, donated more than $185,000 to the American Heart Association ❤️ with an in-store campaign.
2. To support the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), polo shirt maker Lacoste 👕did away with its grinning crocodile on a new line of polos. The campaign featured 10 endangered species 🐬🐢🐅🦌🦎🐒🦅🕊🦏🦍that appeared on a series of limited-edition polo shirts. The number of shirts available for sale corresponded to the number of animals of each species that remain in the wild. Sadly, that number was just 1,775 shirts for all 10 species.😭
3. To promote its 10th anniversary, Chobani Greek Yogurt installed a digital fruit tree 🌴in the center of Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall, where consumers were invited to interact with the installation by “planting” virtual seeds. For each virtual seed planted, Chobani donated a case of yogurt to No Kid Hungry. BTW, this is called action-triggered cause marketing. See 80+ examples on this Pinterest board!
4. Love Your Melon🍈, a knit hat and apparel maker, is opening its first permanent store in Minneapolis on June 1. The hat maker gives half of its profits to charity and has so far donated more than $4.3 million and 133,000 hats. Bonus: Listen to our CauseTalk Radio interview with LYM's event director in January 2017.
1. To recognize the start of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8th, Brawny 💪🏽 has launched a celebratory campaign called #StrengthHasNoGender to highlight strong and resilient women past and present who have overcome adversity and broken down barriers. As part of the third year of its #StrengthHasNoGender campaign, Brawny will donate $100,000 nonprofit organization, Girls Inc.
2. Salesforce.org and United Way are teaming up to change corporate giving. Their new app called Philanthropy Cloud lets corporate employees have a record of all their matched giving - and will help guide them to other organizations, information, and ways to help in person.
3. Dick's Sporting Goods 🏒🥅is showing businesses how it's done. New research shows that corporate leaders have extraordinary power to sway public opinion on important issues. Still, brands need to be prepared for the consequences of their decisions.
1. Manager, CSR, Wakefern Food Corp. (Edison, NJ)
2. Officer, Corporate & Foundation Relations, Appalachian Mountain Club (Boston, MA)
3. Specialist, Corporate Development, USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore (Fort Myer, VA)
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Resources to help you to improve or just learn something new and different
1. What nonprofits need to know about bitcoin and how it might give your fundraising a competitive advantage. Has your nonprofit accepted bitcoin donations? I'd love to here about your experiences with crypto-philanthropy.
2. The important link between trust and email success. Learn from Oxfam UK, when your trust goes down so does your email performance.