Budlight Combines Superbowl Ad with Likes to Help Rescue Dogs

Nice Superbowl ad for rescue dogs. It ties into a Facebook Like promotion at Budlight's page that rewards each like with a one dollar donation to the Tony LaRussa's Animal Rescue Foundation, up to $250,000. I also think it was probably the best ad of the game, admitting that the other ads were pretty lackluster.

You can watch the commercial here.

It's great that Budlight chose to support a local organization! Maybe we should get Weego to play for the Patriots next year.


Wrap-Up: Philanthropy Midwest Conference

midwest conf
midwest conf

Thanks to everyone who came out to my workshop at the Philanthropy Midwest Conference yesterday. As promised, here are my slides and some links to some key posts that will enhance your learning.

My Presentation: Cause Marketing 101

What is Cause Marketing?

A Primer on Pinups

The Power of Free (and why you should give away your cause marketing)

I talked a lot about Ocean State Job Lot and iParty. I thought you might enjoy reading about them. Remember, focus on small and mid-size businesses in your area.

Lots of great examples of purchase and action triggered donations in my latest post on "pinktober" promotions. Here's a recent example of action-triggered cause marketing for Halloween!

Here's the link to that great program by the Ellie Fund, which I discussed in my section on "Shopping Days."

Cause marketing with Facebook Likes.

How to use Prospecting Circles to recruit partners.

Cause Marketing Guru Bob Thacker is Ready for the Day After 'A Day Made Better'

Bob Thacker & Stacy Keibler Surprise Teacher with $1000 in school supplies

Bob Thacker & Stacy Keibler Surprise Teacher with $1000 in school supplies

Today, A Day Made Better is celebrating its fifth anniversary by surprising 1,000 teachers across the country with $1,000 in school supplies. The cause marketing program has been a big hit for teachers and office supply chain OfficeMax.

The program is working to address a serious issue: teacher-funded classrooms. It's estimated that on average teachers spend $1,000 out of their own pockets to offset school budget shortfalls and classroom shortages to secure much-needed classroom supplies.

But the man who created this ambitious cause marketing program - and many other unique marketing initiatives such as Elf Yourself - will have a different perspective on the event this year. Bob Thacker is the new executive director of Miami-based Adopt-A-Classroom, the nonprofit OfficeMax partnered with to create A Day Made Better.

Bob is charged with focusing on elevating the organization’s profile, attracting partners and celebrity support and expanding its ability to fund teachers and their classrooms nationwide. The nonprofit has raised $16 million since 1998.

I caught up with Bob recently as he was in route to a conference in Berlin. Moving to a relatively small nonprofit is a big change for Bob, a man who has spent 40 years with big brands such as OfficeMax, Target and Sears. How did he view the move and the challenges ahead for Adopt-A-Classroom?

How did you feel moving from a big company to a small nonprofit?

"I'm at a point in my life where I really wanted to give back, and Adopt-A-Classroom is a great organization. Moving from the for-profit world to the nonprofit world is easier than you might think. Regardless of where I worked in the corporate world, I always had to make something out of nothing. And I feel like I have a leg-up at Adopt-A-Classroom because it's been around since the late 90's and has a long-standing partnership with OfficeMax, Jones New York and The Coach Foundation."

Bob, you've worked with so many nonprofits through the years, what sticks in your mind as something every nonprofit has to do." 

"It's so important for nonprofits to have clarity on what they do and what their mission is. If a funder asks "What do you do? What do you need?" every nonprofit should have a clear and compelling answer. I was amazed that some nonprofits were not able to answer such simple questions."

Cause marketing is often described as win-win-win. A win for the consumer, the company and the cause. Are nonprofits getting this message?

"They're learning, but the lesson isn't over. Nonprofits expect charity from companies. And that's reasonable of them, but nonprofits also need to extend charitability to companies. Nonprofits need to recognize and understand that for-profits need to see a return, a benefit from some of their work with nonprofits."

What do you think is one of the most important ingredients for cause marketing success?

"The relationship is key. A partnership will never flourish with a transactional relationship of a company just giving a cause money. OfficeMax and Adopt-A-Classroom have a relationship that transcends the simple exchange of money, promotion and school supplies every year. That's what makes it special. That's what makes the relationship last."

Now that your Executive Director at Adopt-A-Classroom, is there an area you plan to focus on?

"We could definitely use a better presence online. Social media will also be key. That said, we don't plan to be active on these platforms so we can collect subscribers, likes and followers. We plan to build a community. Adopt-A-Classroom seeks to be a leader in improving education in America. But we can't do that alone. We need a community of supporters that talk to us and to each other. That's where social media can be helpful."


It was great speaking with Bob. He's been a leader and mentor in the cause marketing field for many years. I'm looking forward to watching and learning from what he accomplishes at Adopt-A-Classroom. A Day Made Better is behind him. But Bob has many better days ahead.

Cause Marketing for Dummies is Here!

316 pages of lessons, advice, inspiration and examples that will guide your cause marketing success. That's the best way my co-author, Joanna MacDonald, and I can describe Cause Marketing for Dummies, a new addition to the For Dummies series.

Joanna and I were clear on why we wanted to write this book. We wanted to share what we had learned developing a successful cause marketing program for a nonprofit that wasn't a Komen or St. Jude or Product Red, and that didn't work with the likes of Walmart, Coca Cola and Nike.

We worked at a local nonprofit and partnered with ordinary companies that were nonetheless committed to giving back to their communities - and looking for creative ways to do so.

That's what Cause Marketing for Dummies is all about.

To bring small companies and nonprofits together for win-win partnerships, we focused on three key themes in the book.

  1. Traditional cause marketing. Coin canisters, pinups, percentage of sales, shopping days, etc. These are the tactics that will develop, build and sustain your cause marketing program. We cover them in detail and give you lots of examples of how we grew our program with them and developed our best practices for nonprofits and businesses. We made all the mistakes, learned from them and raised millions of dollars for our organization. Come learn from us!
  2. Cause marketing 2.0. In addition to traditional tactics, we investigated and experimented with all sorts of new digital programs that causes and companies could use. Facebook likes, Twitter hashtags, group-buying sites, Quora and online contests are just some of the tactics we used. We share our advice and experience with each of them and chart a course for your success.
  3. The future of cause marketing. The future of cause marketing is inextricably bound to an emerging technology: smartphones and mobile technology, which promise to change cause marketing forever. Location-based services like Foursqure, QR codes and even text messaging will lead the way in nonprofit and company partnerships. Our book brings you up to speed and prepares you for the upcoming mobile revolution in cause marketing.

Are you ready? Good! Here's how to get your copy of Cause Marketing for Dummies AND some free stuff too.

  • Visit our book page. There you'll learn how to get access to (1) two cause marketing recordings with me direct from the leading organization for cause marketers, Cause Marketing Forum, (2) a great tips sheet on 7 Copywriting Mistakes Cause Marketers Make (3) a special invitation to an October webinar with Joanna and me: 10 More Cause Marketing Tricks, Tools & Tactics. You get all these for FREE when you buy the book and send your receipt to book@selfishgiving.com.
  • Visit Amazon and review the book. The first 20 reviewers will get a coupon code for $83 off (83 to commemorate the year of the first cause marketing promotion between American Express and the nonprofit restoring the Statue of Liberty!) You'll save more than 50 percent off the $149 price tag for the next session of Six Figure Cause Marketing. This is the ultimate cause marketing experience! You'll combine the lessons of the book with hands-on training and access to Joanna and me. Just drop us an email at book@selfishgiving.com after you post your review on Amazon and we'll send you the code!
  • Come back tomorrow! I'll have details on a special promotion that will have you doing well and good thanks to two Boston organizations!

Live Blogging from Cause Marketing Forum - Day 2


What a great Cause Marketing Forum Conference this year. Day two featured an excellent lineup with lots of good and interesting speakers. My favorite speaker of the day was Kami Watson Huyse, President of Zoetica, who presented on best practices in cause-related social media. You can find her slides here. Among other things, if you’re looking for solid information and direction on how to best compete in online contests, Kami is the woman to talk to. Great job, Kami!

Other notable presentations were Nancy Lublin from DoSomething.org who talked about the good, bad and ugly of cause marketing. Nancy had some strong opinions—such as how some agencies are misleading and overcharging their nonprofit clients—that didn’t sit well with some of the people I spoke to during the break. But her cutting criticisms of industry practices confirmed what I’ve always said about public speaking: the world isn’t black and white, but the best speeches are.

Charles Best from DonorsChoose.org, a Cause Marketing Forum Golden Halo Award Winner, also impressed me. I know little about the organization, but Charles’ speech inspired me to learn more. Expect a post on DC’s cause marketing work soon.

I taught two “powerful discussions” on location-based cause marketing that were a lot of fun. A big thanks to Chris Noble and Joey Leslie who attended the first session and added much to the discussion—including interpreting my Boston accent for attendees.

I thought this 9th Annual Cause Marketing Forum Conference was excellent – the best yet for me. Here’s why.

  • Arriving at the hotel on the last day of the International Mister Leather Conference was a real feast for the eyes. Leathermen, the scent of leather is with me still, and I will never look the same way at a man wearing black leather short-shorts with matching suspenders and hat ever again.
  • The hotel was great. See my post on the pre-conference for more details. It’s the people who make a stay nice and I was impressed with the staff at the Hyatt. There was lots of space in this hotel—the largest Hyatt in the world, I was told. So whether it was listening to presenters in the main ballroom or networking in the lobby, we had some much needed elbow room. Oh, and I thought the food was great!
  • I really enjoyed many of the presentations this year. I made an extra effort to stay in the main ballroom and listen instead of drifting out to the lobby area to chat. But I also thought we had plenty of breaks for networking.
  • The very best addition this year was a clock to keep speakers on time. The folks at CMF are genius! I never felt stuck in a so-so presentation because I knew it would soon end and not go on forever, a hallmark of bad speeches. Note to speakers: it’s quality, not quantity. Stand up. Speak powerfully. Sit down!
  • The addition of “powerful discussions” was excellent and offered something for everyone. Mine had around a dozen people. A great size for talking and Q&A.

I’m sure the CMF team already has lots of ideas on how to improve the event next year, which will be the 10th anniversary of the conference. But they made great strides this year, and not just with the conference. The CMF website has been upgraded, it has an interesting blog and active Twitter handle.

I like that CMF is deeply committed to improving the conference. When they see problems, they fix them. When they see opportunities they pursue them.

My only wish is that more people would attend the Cause Marketing Forum Conference to see what a great event it is and to take advantage of the wonderful resources it offers for cause marketers in both the nonprofit and for-profit world.

I hope to see you there in 2012!

Live Blogging from the Cause Marketing Forum Conference - Day 1

It was a busy day here at the first full day of the Cause Marketing Forum Conference here in sunny Chicago. I joined Phil McCarty and Maureen Carlson in teaching the Hospital Corporate Development Summit. We had a great group of students and some great guest speakers.

One was Chicago's own Alice Archabal from Children’s Memorial Hospital. She runs a great local corporate partnerships program and had some invaluable insights. This didn't surprise me, however, since Alice cut her cause marketing teeth at powerhouses such as St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Feeding America. But just as I thought I found a kindred spirit in Alice, tragedy struck. She's not active on my favorite social network, Twitter! Fortunately, Alice and I agreed to work together to correct that. (First order of business is to replace her old Blackberry!)

Another great speaker (who is on Twitter!) was Jeff Weness from Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. He had lots of good, practical advice for starting and sustaining a regional cause marketing program.

My part of the presentation was a talk on the importance of social media, mobile technology and location-based services to cause marketing programs. My slides are attached.

The plan for the rest of today is a cocktail reception and dinner here at the hotel. Dinner includes a talk from one of my favorite people, Michael Hoffman of See3 Communications who will be doing a review in video of the past year in cause marketing