What Your Cause Can Learn from (RED)

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“How many organizations have a ‘war room’ where they are building crazy, outlandish, and doable ideas to bring to their corporate partners?”

Source: Fast Company

Friday was World Aids Day. I heard about it because I saw on Twitter that 25 cents of every holiday drink sold at Starbucks was going to Red. This was great news for me as I didn't feel guilty about splurging on a second drink.

I've been a big admirer of Red since it's founding in 2006. And while it's a unique brand in many ways there are few things that causes of all sizes can learn from Red.

It's all about your brand. In 11 short years Red has built a brand that rivals or surpasses other cause brands that took decades to build. The stronger your brand the more money you'll raise. The number one focus of nonprofits should be on building a brand that resonates with a key demographic. As Phil Haid at Toronto-based Public Inc. points out: "Organizations need to invest in their brand–early and throughout–with a bold, differentiated idea built on courage and conviction if they want to stand out and scale."

Key influencers can give your cause a huge boost. Look no further than what U2's Bono has done for Red. Nothing short of incredible, right? Still, influencers at all levels - and not just celebrities - can have a huge impact on your cause. 

You should definitely listen to our CauseTalk Radio interview with Allison + Partners on their new study on how digital Influencers can drive donations and engagement with causes. Also, if you eager to target micro-influencers on Instagram, you should check out PurPics.

There's a lot of untapped money in businesses. Red has raised a whopping $475 million since 2006. Nearly all of that money has come from its win-win partnerships with businesses. But I've found that most causes are raising less than five percent of their revenue from businesses.

While your cause will probably never raise as much money as Red does from businesses, you could certainly be raising more. But you need to build your brand, focus on big ideas that will have a significant impact and think creatively about partnerships. You should be seeing red that your cause doesn't do more with businesses! 


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