19 Sep 2011

Cause Marketing: Putting Ethics Back In Business.

How can non-profit organizations and small business owners benefit each other in the current economic climate? How can they mutually increase awareness, web presence, and community involvement? Well actions speak louder than words. Whether mutual benefit is measured in dollars or donors, it doesn’t matter. When thinking cause marketing, think positive change. It doesn’t necessarily have to be politically or religiously motivated … it could be social, environmental, technological, artistic, you name it … but it should truly be about putting ethics back in business.

Businesses, take heed …

Think about the potential to increase volunteerism, donations, and support for the many non-profit organizations that deserve them in your area. Whether you’re a start-up, or an aging business in need of revitalization, the benefits quickly become obvious. An entrepreneurial gesture towards social involvement can, in fact, open doors wide open to a channel of fresh, emotionally connected customers…and what better way to increase your visibility … by doing some good!

In the age of social media, research now shows the most successful of entrepreneurs are those who champion local and social involvement. Bringing people together is a snap via modern technology and our ‘shrinking’ global network, despite the national and international issues at large. So how would a business go about getting such attention and fresh reputation? Here’s one idea to chew on.

Town Hall Events.

Take a topic affecting your local community and bring people together physically by using typical local promotional avenues. To complement the idea, you could get them to sign up successfully for a webinar and/or live stream event directly from the promotion … an event that can be easily hosted on sites like ustream.tv or go2meeting.com to maximize participation. Alternately, you could just host the streaming web event itself.

Taking it a step further, envision these events as viral reputation builders. Carefully consider your initial invite format and how to pitch it. Create the ‘in’ vs. ‘out’ factor so that people do NOT want to be left out!

Webinars and live streams are great. They give folks the time, date, and place to be, even if they can’t be physically present; they could be at home or watching and participating straight from their phones:) This gives them a voice if you were to have a QnA session at the end … focus on empowering the collective! The invitation announcement should also include an estimated number of attendees, maybe local businesses or non-profits (think about any high profile names the community might already be familiar with) who ‘could’ attend and use that to your advantage.

Webinars and live streams might be marketed as ‘online town hall meetings’ and can furthermore be promoted and connected across social networks in advance of it. A wind-up technique would serve the outcome well. A webinar or live stream capture which can create replays of the event could even continue to work for your cause 24/7.

Non-profits, take heed …

It is these same successful entrepreneurs who wish to work with local non-profits and personally involve themselves that may take your non-profit seriously, and to immediate credibility. Being open to  joint ventures may will likewise build reputation, organization authority, and accelerated public trust. You’ll want to find the right partner of course.

Questions to consider for both sides of the cause marketing joint venture:

How will you structure the details of a working business plan … like planned event(s) and follow-ups?

Will there be a necessary buy-in to work with an organization?

Will your partner positively represent the nonprofit’s value system and/or interests, or do they conflict?

Do you think the audience base will accept or care about the partner or the related cause?

What are the primary motivations for joint venturing to begin with?

How will you ensure that both sides are satisfied with the outcome?

Inquire within to learn more about socially responsible marketing programs.