Cause Marketing for Dummies
Cause Marketing For Dummies by Joe Waters & Joanna MacDonald As a development director and long time major gifts guy, cause marketing has always seemed to dilute philanthropic giving. Moreover, it always seemed reserved for the “big boys” in cancer like the Jimmy Fund shorts that were played before the feature film at the theater I worked at in high school. I really didn’t see how such an initiative could fit into my already over crowded schedule.

Cause Marketing for Dummies addresses both and has changed my perspective.

For starters, Waters and MacDonald state that cause marketing isn’t philanthropy. It’s marketing. Cause marketing was never meant to replace a fundraising program, only augment it. In fact, they state that cause marketing will generally only boost revenue by 5-15%. (But I’m sure we’d all be glad for such a boost!)

What’s refreshing about Cause Marketing for Dummies is the level of detail. The authors thoroughly explain

  • different types of cause marketing,
  • show examples of forms and signs
  • how to focus your marketing message for maximum impact,
  • a detailed approach to finding partners,
  • how to make persuasive pitches both to your leadership and to your partners, and
  • how to learn from other campaigns successes and mistakes.

Small cause and small business focus

What’s really great, is that the book was written with small nonprofits and small businesses in mind. This is great news for development directors. With this book, they don’t need to spend another year trying to figure out how to get a deal with a national chain like Wal-Mart’s with the Children’s Miracle Network. Instead, they can start a far more productive conversation with the business owners in their community. Can you imagine how easy it would be to contact current donors, board members, or community leaders to explore ways you can help increase their sales while benefitting your cause?

Cause Marketing For Dummies walks you through setting up and executing an entire campaign--whether a traditional “pin up” that’s sold at the cash register or a more sophisticated approach using an social media like Twitter and Facebook or tools like FourSquare. The authors even say that not being a cancer related cause might be a benefit since there is a sense of “pink fatigue” among consumers!

Should you buy the book?

If you work in or with a cause that’s looking to boost revenue, this book is a great investment. And if you own a business looking to partner with a cause, there are even special notes throughout the book geared to you. (Studies show that cause marketing could increase sales.)

Anyone who’s been in development for a few years will agree with the authors’ assertion that corporate philanthropy is going away. Fewer companies simply cut checks. Those that do, while giving less, are increasingly measuring the results of their donations. Now is a great time to explore creating a cause marketing initiative. Cause marketing could serve as a sort of “funding bridge” to walk over before the corporate donations dry up.

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