Partnering for a Cause
May 23, 2006
By Abny Santicola, editor, FS Advisor
Cause marketing is a win-win relationship built on the premise that there are key things that nonprofit organizations can offer to corporations and vice versa.
Kissimmee, Fla.-based Give Kids the World has long relied on corporate partnerships to support its work fulfilling the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. Previewing her session from the Cause Marketing Forum June 12-14 in New York City, GKTW President Pamela Landwirth talks about those successful partnerships.
According to Landwirth, corporations can support nonprofits in numerous ways, including:
1. Cash donations.
2. In-kind gifts.
3. Workplace giving.
5. Networking opportunities.
6. Volunteers from the workplace.
7. Mission awareness.
Networking with corporate partners, Landwirth says, has been key for GKTW in terms of helping to secure long-term relationships with corporations. For example, Holiday Inn, one of the organization's first cash partners, introduced GKTW to Procter & Gamble and the Perkins restaurant chain. All three have been long-term supporters.
GKTW calls corporate partners at the various levels of giving "corporate heroes" and compiles a matrix that lists which of the seven methods of support a corporation can provide so that it can maximize the relationship.
But the focus can't all be on what the corporation can do for the nonprofit. For their part, Landwirth says, organizations can offer corporations:
1. A compelling mission to be affiliated with.
2. Reach. For GKTW, it's a plus that the organization has international reach, helping families from 54 countries; but at the same time it can show that it gets support from the local community.
3. Demographics. The right partnership will allow a company to reach the people it needs to reach. As an organization, be clear about who you attract and be prepared to show the company how those people relate to its product or service.
4. Exclusivity. Offering corporate partners in a particular industry allegiance is very appealing. Landwirth says many of GKTW's corporate partners are so proud of the relationship they have with the organization that they like to be able to say they are the only one in their industry that supports it.
5. Building bridges to other for-profits. Or connecting the dots, as Landwirth says. GKTW has corporate partners ranging from Coca-Cola and Disney to Hasbro and Procter & Gamble, and it brings all of these companies together for a meeting once a year.
"We bring all of the marketing folks from all of the major corporations together for no other reason than to network with one another," she says.
One of the key things charities offer corporations that align with them is a ripple effect. GKTW just celebrated its 20th anniversary and in 20 years, Landwirth says, has helped 75,000 families. Multiply that by an average of five people in each family and then take into account friends, extended family, neighbors, etc., and what you have is a tremendous number of people whose lives have been touched by the work of the organization.
GKTW keeps in touch with these families through newsletters, mailings and e-mails in which it talks about the corporations that support it. This is a great selling point.
"Companies can stand up and tell their story about all the good they do, but it needs to be that third party that says,'Look what Hasbro's done for us,'" Landwirth says.
Nonprofit organizations also could do well to learn a thing or two about the business practices of their for-profit partners. Landwirth says one of the keys to GKTW's success is that it is a nonprofit organization with a huge heart and passion that's also run like a business.
Pamela Landwirth can be reached via www.gktw.org For information on the Cause Marketing Forum, go to www.causemarketingforum.com