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Building Your Cause Marketing Program with Existing Events

Special events for fundraising can be very effective and lucrative for a nonprofit. They can also be expensive and labor intensive and can come up short on return-on-investment considering all the time, effort, and money that you put into them. Perhaps this sounds like your events.

To maximize your events — and to tap an existing resource — try a cause marketing twist. In addition to trying to secure sponsors— the backbone — of every event fundraiser, you also seek out cause marketing partners that would get sponsorship benefits in exchange for hosting a cause marketing program in its stores.

Here’s how it works: Say that you have a fabulous walk every year for your cause. Thousands of people show up, you get great sponsors, and you raise good money. The event is a big success.

To kick off your cause marketing program, you leverage this successful event by approaching the local supermarket chain that has taken a pass on supporting the event every year because of the hefty price tag for walk sponsorships. You offer them a title sponsorship for free, with the requirement that they sell pinups in their stores the month before the walk and raise a minimum of $50,000.

You may be wondering what happens if your partner doesn’t reach the $50,000. You can generally stipulate that if the business doesn’t reach the agreed upon amount, it has to do additional pinup programs to make up the shortfall.

It’s important to find good partners and set realistic goals so that no one is surprised or disappointed.

The upside for the cause is you now have another promotional vehicle, the pinup, to promote the event and its sponsors, which makes partners even happier. The other benefit is that with the supermarket committed, you may be able to recruit more cause marketing partners for the program that are interested in the comarketing opportunity.

Events are existing assets you can put to work to build your cause marketing program. Events and cause marketing open the door to more partners and to more opportunities.

After you engage new retail partners in your cause marketing program, these companies can add value in several ways, such as TV, radio, in-store promotion, vendor relationships, or a much sought-after customer base that you can dangle in front of prospective retail partners. You can use their assets to build your own inventory of assets and recruit even more partners.

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