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Cause Marketing Success Factors: Buy-in from Your Boss

Don’t expect your boss to fully understand what cause marketing is and what it can accomplish after just one meeting. Even if he says he “gets it,” as is common with bosses that want to come across as all-knowing, assume that he doesn’t and tread carefully.

A lot of misunderstanding still exists on what cause marketing is, how it’s executed, and what it can and can’t accomplish

Without the support of your boss, you may not have access to the resources and contacts you need to make the program a success. You also may need someone to catch you if you fall.

In short, your boss needs to be your ally, not your adversary or a passive observer. Here’s how to keep your boss close when it may seem like you’re worlds apart.

  • Persuasion is incremental. Do you really expect your boss to change her mind overnight? People don’t generally change their minds quickly or easily, so you need to be realistic about what you can accomplish with each interaction. Setting goals that can move your agenda forward will keep you and your boss engaged, in sync, and motivated.

  • Keep your eye on the prize — benefits, not features. While it’s tempting to share every detail with your boss — remembering that some managers expect that level of information — if your boss is results-oriented, focus on sharing the benefits of your activities to your cause or business.

    Cause marketing helps nonprofits raise money and build awareness, while for companies it enhances their favorability with consumers and employees and may help drive sales.

  • Take baby steps. You can ramp up a cause marketing program in many ways. Many companies and causes already engage in or benefit from corporate giving and sponsorship.

    Begin your cause marketing effort with small steps. For example, if you’re a manager that runs a chain of bagel stores, you might start by making a small company gift of cash or food to a local shelter. Next, you might put coin canisters in your stores to help your chosen cause. And then only after these successes will you be ready to hear other cause marketing ideas..

  • Share the glory. Just as you have a boss, your boss has one, too — even if it’s a board of directors. It’s important that you find sincere, constructive ways to highlight your boss’s support and commitment to your efforts. Cause marketing takes a team effort. And every team member should be acknowledged and credited for his work, including your boss.

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