Leadership and The Workplace

Nonprofit Spark

Renee McGivern

Nonprofit Spark – Avoiding pitfalls of cause-related marketing-080612

The show this week is about cause-related marketing, that unique relationship between a nonprofit and a for profit who both benefit from associating with each other and together, generate revenue for the nonprofit.

You may be familiar with the recent cause-related campaign between Coca Cola and the World Wildlife Fund. They joined forces to raise awareness and money through the Arctic Home campaign that focused on protecting the polar bear’s natural habitat. The campaign ran from November 1, 2011 through March 15, 2012.

For the campaign, Coca Cola changed 1.4 billion of of their Coke cans to white matched donations from customers who supported the World Wildlife Fund by texting the package code off of their can and a donation. The company was willing to match up to $1 million in texted donations through the period of the campaign.

Now, that’s a big example of cause-related marketing for an international organization, but you can look around your own area to find more local examples. These can be highly effective relationships that make a big financial difference for a nonprofit.

So what are the basics you need to know before you consider cause-related marketing? What pitfalls should you avoid? How is this different from company sponsorships? I have two attorneys on the show this week from the Venable law firm and it’s main office in Washington, D.C. It has a large nonprofit practice. Kristalyn Loson as an associate in the firm’s Regulatory Practice Group. She focuses primarily on nonprofits and associations, and legal issues related to charitable giving. She’s joined on the show by her colleague, Jonathan Pompan is Of Counsel at the Venable firm; he focuses on providing legal advice and regulatory advocacy for companies, nonprofits and associations. Together, they encourage due diligence before embarking on a cause-related marketing campaign.