In A Perfect World, Charities and Causes Wouldn’t Have To Become Marketers

In a perfect world, charities and causes wouldn’t have to become marketers. People would magically learn about all the needy causes out there and clamor to give their money and time. Donors and sponsors wouldn’t be influenced by high-powered glitz and glamor, but would — simply out of the goodness of their hearts — want to contribute, never expecting a “thank you” or benefit in return.

Get real.

Marketing Humanitarian Crises, an article appearing in Yale Global (via Citizen Brand), warns:

“Every cursory observation shows that many of the world’s worst problems remain off the international agenda…. Gaining attention is far from easy. At any one time, numerous wars, massacres, famines, and diseases vie for notice.”

And a recent article in BusinessWeek (“Selling A Cause? Better Make it Pop,” registration required) notes, “with competition fierce, charities are finding that savvy marketing is a must.”

So what is the answer? Could one solution be as simple as connecting deep pockets with a suitable cause?

Mike Swenson’s firm, Barkley Evergreen & Partners, recently wrote a white paper titled Cause Branding and Its Impact on Corporate Reputation (available on the firm’s site). Here are some key excerpts:

“Companies need new marketing strategies to connect with customers like never before. Cause branding is a strategy to unite a brand’s core value(s) with a consumer passion and the right cause partner to raise awareness and funds to positively impact a societal need…

As stewards of consumer brands, marketing professionals are in a tough spot. Shareholders want value and return, while customers want you to help make the world a better place. The solution is a marketing strategy to forge an emotional connection between a brand and its customers — cause branding….

Cause branding [is] a continuous, 365-day-a-year association with a cause via internal and external programs… “

Sounds like the right way to go.

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