CauseTalk Radio Ep56: Why Cause Marketers Should Take More Risk

Today on CauseTalk Radio, Megan and I talk to Phil Haid, Co-Founder and CEO of Toronto-based Public Inc., about the need for more risk in cause marketing. We discuss the things that are holding cause marketers back: fear of failure, a misconstrued perception that being first is really worth it, and the lack of a culture of support to spark innovation.

Thursday, Phil will be delivering a presentation on risk and cause marketing at the Cause Marketing Forum Conference. If you're not attending this is a great chance to hear Phil speak on the topic.

Phil is one of the best cause marketers I know. Besides picking poorly in the recent NHL series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and my hometown Boston Bruins (guess who won), he's smart, creative, progressive and, of course, an educated risk taker!

3 Tips to Raise an Extra $300,000 with Pinups


Phillip Haid, founder and CEO of Public Inc., knows how to run a successful pinup program. Case in point: he just raised nearly a million dollars with a pinup program at Canada's Winners and HomeSense stores for the Sunshine Foundation. That's $300,000 more than they raised the year before without his help.

I asked Phillip what made this campaign so successful.

1.  "We tried to take some of the pressure off of the sales associate by prompting the opportunity to Spread a Little Sunshine throughout the store," explained Phillip. "We did stickers on the mirrors in the dressing room, announcements over the PA, buttons on the sales associates and visuals at the register."

Phillip's tactics surprised me as I generally don't recommend signage or buttons. I'd rather focus on motivating the cashier to ask the all-important question: "Would you like to donate a dollar to X?" But Phillip and I agreed that with the ask firmly in place, low-cost forms of visibility can only help the program. I'd start with register signs. But I like Phillip's suggestion of using stickers in strategic locations, such as in dressing rooms.

Screen shot 2012-09-11 at 7.00.21 PM
Screen shot 2012-09-11 at 7.00.21 PM

2.  "We drove online to offline and vice versa," said Phillip. "For every person that shared a sunshine message with a friend, posted via social media or viewed a sunshine video, T. J. Maxx [the parent company of the two chains] donated $5. The goal was to get to 25,000 shares in the month of August to fund a Sunshine Dream Lift - when 80 kids would go to Disney for the day. We then prompted people to visit stores and make a contribution. We hit the 25,000 with a week to spare."

I love the digital component of this program, and it doesn't require a lot of work or money.

3.  "We used star power to drive media buzz and get people into the stores," said Phillip. "Naya Rivera (Santana on Glee) came to Toronto to perform with the Sunshine Choir and to launch the campaign. We assembled a choir from a school of the performing arts and had them perform sunshine songs as a pop-up choir on the subway throughout the city on the day of the launch. It generated a huge amount of coverage that in turn drove people into the stores and online."

sunshine 2
sunshine 2

I loved Phillip's perspective on the celebrity connection with cause marketing. "Starpower is great, but it can be a distraction if you spend too much time chasing stars, or think a celebrity is all you need to be successful, said Phillip." He agreed with my comparison that celebrities were the cherry on the sundae. It looks great and completes the dish, but it's just one, small ingredient that people can live without.

Still, a celebrity can give a pinup program a boost, and Phillip expertly used his star power. It topped a successful and lucrative program. Congrats to Phillip and the team at Public, Inc.

Check out Phillip's guest post in HuffPost Impact: Charity Pin Ups: A Love Hate Relationship.

Learn more about pinups as a fundraising tactic in this webinar on September 17th.