This post was contributed by Network for Good's VP of Partnerships, Stacie Mann.
Gaga has partnered with New York’s Robin Hood Foundation to identify five
programs serving at-risk youth and wants you to cast your vote
to determine how her $1M contribution will be split between the five
nonprofits. Her Fans (there are 32M little monsters on Lady Gaga’s Facebook
page!) can vote for which charity most deserves Gaga’s money. The results will
be tiered, with the winner receiving $500,000, the organization in second place
receiving $250,000 and so on. It is a crowdsourced way for Gaga’s fans to tell
her where she should donate.
for Good was thrilled to talk to the campaign organizers about how to make this
a positive experience for participants and a great source of support for the
nonprofits involved. We’re also happy to see our partner Causes’ platform included in the
campaign so people can take steps beyond just voting for a cause.
you’re thinking of a campaign like this, it’s helpful to keep these principles
- Make the campaign call
to action easy and fun; “Learn more and cast your vote”.
- Work with trusted
partners to vet the recipient organizations so there is a clear promise that
every dollar will go towards the campaign's social impact goal.
- Clearly define the
rules and voting process for the campaign; it is always important to have
clearly defined rules
with a code of conduct. For large campaigns, it can help to enlist a third
party to evaluate the voting results. This can mitigate conflicts and gaming.
- Keep the timeline
short; it’s hard to sustain long periods of activism around a campaign and
taking the time to rally supporters around voting takes time away from other
core project or fundraising work (especially for a small nonprofit).
- Train the nonprofits
on social media best practices; the recipient nonprofits will be getting a huge
burst of interest in what they do over a short period of time.
real-time updates and leaderboards; people love to see who else has donated
(via status updates) and also the overall impact. Chase Community Giving does a
great job with this and so does Causes through their fundraising projects.
You can read more advice on creating a compelling cause marketing campaigns in our eGuide Cause Marketing Through Social Media: 5 Steps to Successful Online Campaigns.
In 2004, Dell and Goodwill Industries teamed up to start an
electronics recycling program in Austin, TX.
Since then, the partnership has evolved and the Dell Reconnect program now
spans multiple markets and recycles a host of electronics from computers to Xbox
consoles. The collaboration works well
because each partner provides complementary resources and expertise: Goodwill has a network of donation centers
and experience will repurposing gently-used goods, while Dell has a proven
track record in offering consumer recycling programs that “meet the highest
standards of workplace and environmental safety.” Together, the organizations provide a
free and convenient recycling program through a cause partnership that truly
benefits both entities.
There are many such examples of symbiotic corporate-cause
partnerships. There are just as many, if
not more, examples of partnerships that fall short of their potential or
completely miss the mark in terms of tangible social impact. Mashable
recently featured a post by Michele
Cuthbert, the principal of branding firm Baker
Creative, who provides some guidelines for selecting the right cause
partner and structuring a thoughtful partnership.
As a precursor to selecting a cause partner, Cuthbert advises companies
to first evaluate their values and stakeholder expectations. Knowing where a cause partnership fits within
your business mission and goals will inform what type of cause partnership you
should cultivate. Understanding what
your consumers and employees care about will ensure that your partnership has the
interest and resources to get off the ground.
With the background work done, companies can now turn to the cause
selection process. Here some tips based
on Cuthbert’s advice for picking the right partner:
selection criteria: factors to consider include: size, budget, program areas, geographic
focus, organization age, impact track record, board participation etc…
your list: use charity databases like GuideStar or Charity
Navigator to search for charities that meet your criteria.
mission statements: when you have a handful or candidates, look for ways your missions
complement or reinforce one another.
Mission compatibility will help ensure your partnership moves in the right
your due diligence: make sure the charity is registered with the IRS and/or GuideStar
and check its standing with the Better Business Bureau, Charity
Navigator, Great Nonprofits or other charity
rating groups. You should also review the
organization’s financial filings and reports on project impact. Just as in the corporate world, trustworthy
organizations are open about their finances and practices.
to your gut: if you don’t feel right about the partnership, don’t proceed. You must have confidence in the partnership
if you are going to put the weight of your brand behind it.
a pilot: relationships deepen over time.
Give your new partnership the opportunity to go through its growing
pains on a small scale before rolling it out in a national campaign. This will
also give you time to continue your due diligence as you get to know the
If you spend any time on social
networks, you’ve probably noticed that today is Earth Day. There’s been much made of this year’s Earth
Day, especially as it falls in the same week as the anniversary of the Gulf oil spill
and in the wake of rising gas prices across the country. In addition, the latest New York Times/CBS News
poll indicates that Americans are more pessimistic about the economy and the
nation’s general direction than they have been since Obama took office in the
midst of the Great Recession. Further, the
economic downturn has dampened mainstream consumer demand for green
products. For example, sales of Clorox Green Works
have fallen to about $60 million a year, from a high of over $100 million in
When attitudes and
outlooks are bleak, what’s a cause marketer to do? Make a rap video of course!
The CEOs of organic
brands Stonyfield Farm and Honest
Tea launched a video campaign to celebrate Earth
Month 2011, mixing education on organics and food politics with entertainment
and user-generated content to spur social sharing and build awareness.
Said Honest Tea CEO Seth Goldman to Marketing Daily, “We're hoping that the great message (well-timed with Earth
Month) and the fun nature of the video will encourage viewers to pass it along
to their friends and networks."
The tone of the videos may be fun, but the campaign demonstrates the
4 essentials of cause marketing:
- Suitability: As organic brands, the content
of the videos and the message to choose organic for health and environmental
reasons rings true.
- Authenticity: Who better to embody the cause
connection than the CEO? These CEOs are
passionate about their social missions and make CSR core to what they do. We may question their rapping abilities, but
not their dedication to the cause.
- Transparency: Both Stonyfield
Farm and Honest Tea
are transparent about their sustainability practices and commitment to environmental
impact. That commitment provides the
backbone of the brands.
- Selling Point: Stonyfield Farms and Honest Tea may
be social enterprises, but they are also consumer brands. The fact that their products are organic and
embody what the cause campaign is all about, gives these brands unique value
propositions: they are the solution to the social problem the cause campaign exposes.
more about the campaign at JustDrinkOrganic.com
David Neff, COO of Network for Good’s partner HelpAttack!, has co-written a new book on
nonprofit success in the digital age.
While the primary audience is nonprofits, in the spirit of cross-sector
collaborative problem solving, the lessons are applicable to any organization
trying to balance core business priorities and investment in innovation and
emerging technologies – especially any organization with a triple bottom line
The following is a guest post from Katya Andresen, Network for Good's COO
and author of Robin
Hood Marketing. You can follow her nonprofit marketing insights at NonprofitMarketingBlog.com.
David Neff and Randal Moss have
a new book out called the Future of Nonprofits: Innovate and
Thrive in the Digital Age. (You can order it here.)
Since they just wrote an entire book on how we can create a new, more
flexible, innovative organization in a digital age, I asked them what advice
they could provide us. Here’s my Q&A with David Neff.
Q: What’s the biggest way the nonprofit landscape is going to change this
A: I think the biggest change the nonprofit sector is going to see this
decade has to do with how we track, score and analyze individual people in our
organization. This could be anything from adding social media information to
the fields in your donor database to changing the way we set expectations for
our employees. Of course, nonprofits have to want to change for this to
Q: If you were ED of a typical nonprofit, what two things should you do
A: Invest money in technology. I know this is a very scary thing for most
organizations, but it needs to be done. You can’t reply on that Access Database
when the other nonprofits you are competing with have Salesforce for
nonprofits. Also you don’t have the same excuses you used to. Organizations
like NTEN and TechSoup are here to help you discover what you need and when you
need it. Use them! The second big change is that Awareness is dead. No one is
watching your PSA at 3am. You need to switch to advertising your nonprofit. And
you need to budget (even small amounts) to make that advertising happen.
Q: What’s the biggest failure you cite in the book and how can we learn
The demise of my personal sanity while writing it. : ) Just kidding! The
biggest failure is staff turnover and how the industry treats new staff. We
hire all these people in their 20’s and 30’s and then say no to all their big
ideas. In our minds we simply don’t have time or resources to let them
experiment. Even though we know those experiments could be home runs or just
singles. The book is how to say yes to those big ideas.
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