Marketing is not PR, though the two are closely related. Public Relations (see PR best practices here) creates awareness. Marketing puts forth your case for support, builds relationships, and creates value for your donors and volunteers. Integrated marketing communications is putting it all together. A perfectly wonderful Infographic of the hundreds-year-old timeline of marketing methodologies is here.
Partnering with the Music Industry
There is hardly a greater source of energy, stamina, creativity and drive than those striving for success in the world of music. The very strengths of an Indie band or artist are what the typical charity lacks: messaging that tells a story and engages an audience; experience and/or capacity to become proficient and consistent with social media; the 24/7 drive to generate maximum notice. The appropriately linked cause and artist would do well to leverage the strengths and opportunities each partner can uniquely bring to the goal of attracting attention and participation.
While this is a refined specialty in the field of fundraising with which I am well acquainted and therefore hesitant to treat in general terms, here is one of the leaders in the field, and here is a Charity Spring Splash on all things having to do with Celebrity Philanthropy.
“Signature” Special Events
Events can also be a form of cause marketing. Here is a cautionary NYT article about the time-honored though tired practice of charity tribute events where the corporate celebrity honoree is expected to make (or cause to make happen) a big donation and invite friends, vendors and colleagues to the gala. The best special events are those that only your charity can produce, i.e., “signature.” Events in my personal experience that fit this description are here and here.
Social Media in all its ever emerging and increasingly mobile forms is where your constituencies market your cause among themselves. Word-of-Mouth is the first form of “social media” and storytelling is its greatest strength and something that needs to always inform your PR and marketing. Today, there is word-of-mouth marketing, enhanced greatly by social media tools, which is the most powerful form of promotion, inasmuch as people put their reputations on the line with nothing to gain other than the enjoyment of advancing your cause. There is even the Word of Mouth Association.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Twenty years ago, CSR (corporate social responsibility) was limited to enlightened corporate philanthropy and for some businesses the mere adherence to environmental or banking legislation. What we see today is a far more complex picture and an ever-widening stakeholder universe. CSR, including Cause Marketing, provides businesses with legitimacy, along with a partner (your cause) that has issue expertise. If done with integrity, such programs can enhance a corporation’s reputation and the viral sharing of information. According to a PRWeek/Barkely PR Cause Survey in 2010, two-thirds of brands now engage in cause marketing, up from 58% in 2009. The same survey found that 97% of corporate marketing executives believe this to be a valid business strategy.
Corporate Employee Engagement
Another key element tied to corporate involvement in your cause is Employee Engagement. A recent study by Green Research found that 80% of major corporations are planning to invest significantly in employee engagement in 2012. The Corporate Leadership Council reports that highly engaged organizations have the potential to reduce staff turnover by 87% and improve performance by 20%.
Corporate Internal Communications
As important as traditional and new media can be to your cause, corporate internal communications can achieve even more (and very likely have greater circulation than your town newspaper). A group of corporate volunteers conducts a team building project with your charity, a cause marketing program becomes successful, a grant receives publicity or you get an op-ed published praising the corporate relationship — this is perfect content for internal corporate communications where many potential major individual donors can be reached and inspired via this proprietary communications channel. This is also potential content for industry sector news outlets.
The rise in consumer activism and mobility and 24-hour accountability compels the corporate community to make Corporate Social Responsibility a priority, cause marketing a viable option, and it behooves celebrities to embrace a cause. Inasmuch as donors have peculiar relationships with corporate brands and celebrities, this page has more to do with the power these partners have to help advance awareness of and interest in your cause than looking to the cause partners themselves for major gifts.
Cause marketing is simply the productive symmetry achieved through the leveraging of relationships between a cause and a corporation, celebrity, or any other brand that seeks “to do well by doing good.” There are many definitions for cause marketing. Wikipedia does a good job of summing it up neatly. IEG defines the practice here. And here are primers on the practice. Here is a Charity Spring Splash on all things having to do with Cause Marketing. Here is a Forbes article about cause marketing on Facebook.
Direct Marketing and All the Rest
This blog is not meant to address every form of fundraising. I only gather and comment here on the facets of fundraising that lend themselves to creating a leveraging impact. Standard stand-alone fundraising methodologies such as direct mail and grant writing and the like have so many websites and businesses at your disposal, I can add little to their offerings here.