Cause Marketing "Meal Deals" Program Raises $87k

The numbers are in from our new "Meal Deals" cause marketing program with iParty, Ocean State Job Lots & Phantom Gourmet and it was a big success. The program raised $87,000.

Proceeds will benefit my hospital's Food Pantry, which last year fed 75,000 people.

You can read all about the details behind the "Meal Deals" program here.

We're excited this program had a great finish, and we're already planning our fall pinup program.

Check out the preliminary design, which includes a QR Code. When shoppers pass their smartphone over the code it will link them to our new Halloween web site. This will give shoppers easy and instant access to online content about the event and our cause.

Would you like to learn how to raise an additional $50,000, $70,000 or more for your nonprofit through cause marketing? The Six Figure Cause Marketing Program returns September 14th.

This three-hour course is a tell-all program on the best practices for ordinary nonprofits to raise real money from cause marketing. Hope to see you there.

Cause Marketing 'Meal Deals' Feed Sick Kids

Our newest cause marketing program is Phantom Gourmet Meal Deals. It teams up a popular Boston TV and radio show with two of our best cause marketing partners, iParty and Ocean State Job Lots.

Here are the highlights.

The program starts this week! At least at iParty stores. It will begin at OSJL stores in July. Both programs will run for two to four weeks. Proceeds support our Food Pantry, which last year fed 75,000 people.

This is our first coupon book. It was surprisingly economical, especially compared to a die-cut pinup with coupons. The coupon book will sell for a buck and includes lots of valuable coupons from area restaurants and businesses.

We broke an old rule. We produced register signs. If you've been through the Six Figure Cause Marketing program you know that signs, posters, pins--not to mention belt buckles, hats and temporary tattoos--are just props for cashiers to hide behind so they don't have to ask the all important question: "Would you like to donate a dollar to help _________?" However, we printed register signs at the request of Phantom Gourmet, who was confident they would further promote the campaign. We felt the signs presented little risk of undermining the program as these two seasoned partners wouldn't use them as a crutch.

Phantom Gourmet added some great value to the program. Phantom Gourmet is a hit TV and radio franchise here in Boston. They will promote the "Meal Deals" program and our partners on their various media properties. This keeps our partners happy and PG welcomes the added exposure they get in iParty and Ocean State Job Lot stores.

If you live in New England be on the lookout for "Meal Deals" at iParty and Ocean State Job Lot stores!

Cause Marketing Limits Raise More Money

Seth Godin wrote last week on the importance of setting a ceiling of support for donors less they opt out all together.

As [marketers of causes] approach people with $10,000 or $100,000 in the bank, this fear of not seeing a limit is very real, and if it's not confronted, they will fail at both raising the money and generating satisfaction for the donor.

If donors don't feel like their support will make a difference or make them feel good, they will "avert their eyes."

Seth contends that fewer people will turn away and a new class of significant donors could rise if they had a ceiling set for them.

And what better way to accomplish this than through cause marketing (as I define it, not as Seth discusses it, which is more the "marketing of causes.")

  • Cause marketing isn't blue-blooded philanthropy. It's red-blooded. It's fundraising for the masses that either asks shoppers for a small donation when they checkout, or makes a donation to their favorite causes when they purchase a product.
  • Cause marketing asks always have a ceiling. Donate a buck, two bucks. That's it. Buy a coffee a dime goes to Haiti. People generally know what they're getting and it's an easy gift that can add up and make a real difference.
  • And speaking of adding up, how great would it be if consumers who really wanted to use cause marketing as their primary way of giving, had a way of tracking their support from store to store. Perhaps through their credit card and the UPC codes on the back of pinups and cause items.

The power of limits is just one of the reasons you should have a set dollar amount for your cause marketing programs. You should be clear on how much you want the consumer to contribute, whether that be a $1, $2 or even $5. Having a set ask amount makes it easier for them to give. If you let them choose they'll either give you pocket change and lint or balk because they'll think you want too much.

The only retailer I've worked with that didn't always ask for a specific dollar amount is Ocean State Job Lots. They like to ask their customers to give what they can in hopes they'll give more than a buck. But I think their shoppers gravitate to the buck they give at most stores. I also think Ocean State cashiers end up directing shoppers to the standard dollar donation. "Most people give a buck."

For Seth, it's all about telling people where the end lies and how much is enough. He goes on to say that that this is true whether you're trying to persuade people to join a gym or go on a diet, among other things.

Consider that a city like Boston went from having a handful of health clubs 15 years ago to 20 or more today. And some of these clubs get a $130 and up a month in dues. Through the years the industry convinced people that having a gym membership and paying a hefty monthly fee was the standard, especially for young professionals. Rent, food, phone, and, yeah, health club.

A similar standard for giving is within our grasps with cause marketing if we look beyond its impulsive, transactional nature and treat it as a real way to grow consumer support for causes. Critics worry that donor support for cause marketing will drain other forms of giving. But perhaps cause marketing is the vast gold mine buried beneath our feet that will enrich us all.

AMA Presentation: Cause Marketing During Challenging Times

Thanks to everyone who came out to the AMA Boston event on Cause Marketing During Challenging Economic Times. It was a great event. As promised, below are links to some of the topics I discussed.

What is cause marketing. One thing that was clear from everyone on the panel is that Bonnie, Erica Vogelei from Cone and I all had a different understanding of what cause marketing is. Here's my perspective. If you're a cause marketing skeptic you may want to check out my post on Defending Cause Marketing. Be sure to read the comments under both posts as they are very helpful.

The Power of Pinups. My cause marketing efforts revolve around two key areas, point-of-sale and percentage-of-sale, especially the former. For a primer on point-of-sale, or pinups as I like to call them, check out this post, which has lots of links. My last pinup program was with Ocean State Job Lots. But I've also posted on other programs by Hannaford Supermarkets and New Balance.

If you're interested in learning more about percentage-of-sale programs, read this post about Starbucks & Product (RED).

Cause marketing and social media. One of my favorite topics. Be sure to connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc. on the right sidebar! Here's a good sampling of my posts on the subject. Also, check out my post on Foursquare and Harvard and how the latter can school cause marketers on how to raise money with location-based social media.

This presentation didn't have any slides, but if you're a PowerPoint-aholic check out these slides from an event I spoke at just a couple weeks ago.

Three final things.

First, if you have a question, leave a comment and I'll reply to you. I might even write a post on your question! And you can make sure you never miss a post by subscribing to my email newsletter, which goes out twice a month.

Second, I've posted a whole series on Selling Local Sponsorships for Nonprofits that explores the selling process and how to prospect, pitch and close. It's helpful if you work in nonprofit sales.

Finally, speaking of pitching, let me leave you with one. The team at BMC is available for hire.

Thanks again for listening. I hope my accent wasn't too thick (a problem sometimes even for a Boston crowd!).

Minus the Mighty Bat of Cause Marketing, “Run to Home Base” is Stranded on First

Massachusetts General Hospital and the Red Sox Foundation are doing a great thing: they’ve teamed up to put on a road race to help soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with combat stress disorders and/or traumatic brain injury.

But this isn't just any road race. The finish line of this 9K is one of the most hallowed places after the Tombs of the Unknown (at least for a New Englander): home plate at Fenway Park.

This event will be a huge success, flawlessly executed (Dave McGillvray is the race director. He organizes another little run in town called the Boston Marathon.), be a ton of fun and raise lots of money (runners have to raise a minimum of $1,000 to participate).

But it’s missing one glaring thing: yep, you guessed it, cause marketing.

There's a section on the Run for Home Base web site on becoming a corporate sponsor of the run. But really, could you find an event with better bones for a cause marketing pitch than this one?

  • Last time I checked it was still popular to wave the flag. And what better way for a company to share its patriotic values than supporting the mentally scarred troops that are fighting to protect us.
  • The event involves Boston’s beloved home town team and a hallowed shrine, Fenway Park.
  • Mass General is one of the greatest hospitals on the planet. If we’re judged by the company we keep, you couldn’t do better than hanging out with MGH.

So where are the cause marketing partnerships for Run to Home Base? I’m not sure, but this is what they’re missing out on.

Money. A simple point-of-sale or percentage-of-sale program with a retailer--like the one we just finished with Ocean State Job Lots--could bring in hundreds of thousand of additional dollars to support the cause.

Promotion. A popular run like this will probably sellout early anyway, but it's still a first year event and the recruitment of top fundraisers might have benefited from some in-store promotion. Pinups are a great way to promote a run, walk or ride. Our surveys for Halloween Town show that year after year many attendees learned about the event from a pinup they bought at iParty stores.

Education. This may be the real lost opportunity. Regardless of whether shoppers buy a pinup or sign-up for the race, in-store visibility of the Home Base Program increases the chances that someone who either needs its services or knows someone who does, will get the information he or she needs.

Virtual Success. A growing area of focus for run, walk, ride fundraisers is recruiting people who can't run, walk or ride the event but still want to participate beyond just making a donation. Cause marketing is a great way to recruit and activate these participants. Not to mention the crossover with location-based social media that could further enhance a program or inaugurate a "retail race."

Professional Sports Team Foundations & Cause Marketing

A good question I often get about cause marketing is that when dealing with the nonprofits arms of professional sports teams can causes expect to benefit from a sports team's many corporate sponsors.

Don't count on it.

In my experience, the sports teams won't go for it. (This might explain why Run to Home Base organizers don't have any cause marketing partners, or any corporate sponsors for that matter, despite having some easy targets in the Red Sox outfield.)

The reason is probably simple: sports teams don’t want nonprofits mucking up their lucrative corporate deals. Although I’ve argued--to deaf ears up to this point--that asking an existing corporate sponsor of the team to do a cause marketing program is something that's totally different from a corporate sponsorship.

No interference. Selling a cause marketing package doesn’t interfere with the corporate sponsorship because it doesn't supplant any existing benefits from the team. Cause marketing has different assets, benefits and outcomes.

Cause marketing offers something unique. I'm not a sports marketing expert but its seems like team sponsorships, among others things, deliver great visibility for a corporate sponsor. And while consumers undoubtedly feel positively about a company’s connection with a team like the Boston Celtics, sports sponsorships don't build the social capital cause marketing does. Again, cause marketing doesn't threaten a team's pact with a company. And it just might deepen a company's relationship with a sports team. That's what cause marketing does.

Cause marketing taps a separate pool of money. A company purchases a sports sponsorship with their checkbook, but cause marketing is executed at the register and ultimately comes from the generosity of customers. The company just handles the money. Moreover, cause marketing can only be executed in support of a cause, not for personal profit. In short, it’s not like the sports team could have used cause marketing to underwrite a company sponsorship of the jumbotron.

The Run for Home Base will almost certainly be a winner for those struggling with combat stress disorder. The event has lots of good hitters to ensure its success. But organizers have left a star hitter, cause marketing, sitting on the bench. And for that no will know how many more runs could have been scored for U. S. soldiers.

AFP Presentation: Cause Marketing for Nonprofits

cause marketing presentation

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Association of Fundraising Professionals Brown Bag today to hear me, Joanna MacDonald and Dan Curtin, General Manager of Zipcar Boston, talk about cause marketing.

As promised, here are my slides from the presentation (at least the most relevant ones). I've linked them to several posts that might be helpful to you.

What is Cause Marketing? Read my post of the same name, and be sure to check out the comments.

Point-of-Sale. You can read about several great examples of pinup programs that support Komen, Jake's Ride and BMC. Not familiar with pinup programs? Here's a primer.

Percentage-of-Sale. Check out this post I wrote on Absolut Boston and the Charles River Conservancy.

Sponsorships. As I explained today, cause marketing isn't sponsorship, but I know selling sponsorships are still a big part of what nonprofits do. That's why I've written a whole series on it called Selling Local Sponsorships for Nonprofits.

iParty and Ocean State Job Lots. You heard a lot about iParty and Ocean State today. These links share some more background about them and our partnerships with them.

Zipcar. As you heard today, this car-sharing company has been a good friend of the hospital. Here are some more details about the email pinup they did for us.

Cause Marketing Forum. Their annual conference shouldn't be missed! You can also follow CMF's founder on Twitter. Visit CMF for loads of case studies on cause marketing and info on the conference.

The future is free. I talked about this in my "prophecies" for cause marketing. Read about it here.