Newsletter: Cause Marketing is Getting Harder 😣; Businesses are Replanting Trees in California 🌲; The Power of a Simple Postcard 📮

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The latest data shows that big companies are employing a larger percentage of the workforce. That's not great news for local nonprofits that rely on smaller, regional businesses for cause marketing programs. Still, it doesn't have to be the end of the world either if nonprofits approach fundraising with businesses from the right perspective.

1. Relax, businesses were never going to be your bread and butter. Unless you’re City YearThe United WayProduct RED, or a handful of other special nonprofits, the money you raise from businesses isn't a big deal. I'd expect you to generate between 5% to 15% of your total revenues from businesses. That's it. As one development executive said to me, "I could cover all that money with one rich donor." Think of cause marketing as the cherry on top of the sundae - a great treat on top of everything else. But alone? Not very sweet.

2. Focus on the tree not the forest. Despite the growing dominance of large companies, there are still plenty of smaller companies out there, especially in the B2B sector. Approach each company as an individual opportunity and customize a fundraiser just for them.

3. Build an irresistible, magnetic brand. Despite raising just $4.5M in 2017, veteran service organization Team Rubicon can boast several major corporate partners, including Major League Baseball and T-Mobile. TR got a ton of promotion during the 2018 World Series. Why? Because they're an amazing organization. They do important stuff in disaster areas and get shit done. And they have a defined audience of dedicated vets that corporate America loves to support. In short, strive to have a big impact, communicate that impact and build a large, targeted audience of raving supporters that companies covet. This won't be easy. But it will be worth it.

4. Pick an approach to companies and stick with it. Most nonprofits should cultivate corporate support, but not bother assembling a team, or even hiring one person. When you have a company or two to work with, call me or another consultant to pitch in. If you're really committed, build a team. Just remember you'll need sales people, content marketing, research capabilities, and, ideally, a stable full of influencers. If you try to half-ass it it will show. Finally, if you're ready to scale your efforts to join the ranks of the "Big Girls" - St. Jude, National Park Foundation, Children's Miracle Network, etc- expect to grow old, feeble and grey in the effort - and likely only then to be denied entry into the promised land (think Moses on the banks of the river Jordan).

What kind of cause marketing program do you want to have when your nonprofit grows up? Hit reply to this email and let me know!

✍️ Partnership Notes

1. Coldwell Banker is going to the dogs - with great success - and plans to work more with Adopt-A-Pet in 2019.

2. Yay! Businesses are stepping up to reforest California. But there's a lot of work to be done. One Tree Planted is looking for 500 companies to plant 2,000 trees in California this year.

3. For the third year, Honda is using virtual or augmented reality to bring the holidays to kids who are unable to leave the hospital. As part of the effort, the automaker will donate $50,000 to CHOC Children’s and Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, Honda’s charity for more than 27 years.

🤑 Marketing Your Cause

1. You're a small nonprofit with a defined service area and you want to better connect with your audience. Have you tried postcards? See the "Send Us a Postcard" section of this newsletter for several actionable insights and examples.

2. Rand Fishkin is one of my favorite thought leaders on digital marketing. He asks, "Can you still blog your way to visibility and credibility?" I would say yes, but the riches are definitely in the niches.

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3. Move over New York Public Libary! To boost lending, the Milwaukee Public Library and creative shop BVK revamped brand logos. Then it created print work with copy touting the library’s similar offerings to the brand in question and posted the work at local restaurants and bars. The result? It worked.

😎 Cool Jobs in Cause Marketing**

1. Senior Vice President, Corporate Partnerships, First Book (Washington, DC)

2. Corporate Partnerships Officer, Joslin Diabetes Center (Boston, MA)

3. Manager, Corporate Partnerships, Essilor (Dallas, TX)

4. Corporate Development Officer, American Diabetes Association (Arlington, VA)

**Have your cause-related job featured here for FREE. Hit reply to this email and give me the details and a link.

🧠🍌 Brain Food

1. “These schemes are getting pretty sophisticated,” Hackers fooled Save the Children into sending $1 million to a phony account. Here are two resources for nonprofits seeking to increase their cybersecurity.

2. The resilience of Costco as told in 146 slides. Fascinating. They basically make no money selling products but make $3 billion in one key area.

3. Happy holidays! I'll be sitting near the tree with a KFC-scented log on the fire.

Have a question, comment or just want to say hi? Just leave a comment below. 🙏


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