Thinking Pink: Things to Consider When Considering Cause-Related Marketing
The role of marketing is to invest dollars where they will result in more sales. So, if they invest in a cause-related marketing agreement with your organization, how is that going to boost their sales? Do you have a core of donors who match a demographic that the company wants to penetrate? Can you offer access to your mailing list in exchange for its advertising investment? What about any agreements with your donors about sharing their data?
Whatever you think you have to offer, consider it carefully. There are many restrictions on what you can mail using your nonprofit permit, so don't be too quick to offer to include a company's advertisement in your newsletter that is mailed at the reduced postage rate. Will the long-term fallout be too great to move ahead with a cause-related marketing agreement?
National chains often have official charities they support, and their local franchises can't add any others without risking the wrath of "corporate." So begin with local companies that don't have these kinds of restrictions.
Even these smaller companies expect a return on their investment. Do they have suggestions of what would make the arrangement favorable to them? Don't agree to anything immediately, but ask for their ideas and then go back to the office and discuss if this is something you are prepared to offer.
If nothing else, use the "open door" to encourage future support. If these companies aren't interested in a cause-related marketing opportunity, suggest that they consider donating gifts-in-kind (a gift card, for example) as auction items or door prizes for your next event.
Yes, my corner of the world has gone pink for the month of October. But when seeing so much of it makes your nonprofits see another color — green (as in dollars) — don't forget to think through your half of the equation in a cause-related marketing opportunity before you try to woo a partner.