Conference Roundup: Reaching Out to Corporations
Companies and nonprofits find themselves in win-win situations when they team up, Koon said. When cause marketing originated a few decades ago, she said, the major draw for companies was simply image enhancement. But not so much anymore.
Cause marketing provides a long list of unique benefits for companies, such as expanding their markets, developing communities, increasing employee retention and strengthening the workforce, increasing customer loyalty, and helping manage exposure.
“For compliance/managing exposure, this is helpful,” Koon said. “If a company does something and then reaches out to a community and fixes a problem … if a retailer learns there is unfair labor practices at one of their factories and then starts a fund to better train all factory workers … [it is] helping a community and managing the exposure to your company.”
Nonprofits benefit, too, and the advantages are more than just extra cash in their coffers. Nonprofits get corporate expertise; access to information, products and services; and a strengthened brand, which Koon said enhances an organization’s visibility and credibility.
She cautioned that most of these partnerships begin with the company reaching out to the nonprofit. But nonprofits can start a relationship with a company by doing their homework and approaching companies that have partnered with similar causes in the past. If a company has a history of donating to educational causes, then a school might have a good chance of building a relationship, for example.
“If you find a company that is right for you, then think about what you have to offer,” Koon said. “Identify your needs, and then reach out. The goal is to find a hook — what is unique about your organization — and then how you can benefit that company.”