NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL:5 CAUSE MARKETING BEST PRACTICES

By James D’Ambrosio

JamesProfile1TwitterResearching nonprofit news, I recently came across cause marketing guidelines put forth by the Charities Bureau of New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. Titled “Five Best Practices For Transparent Cause Marketing,” the focus is ensuring consumers are well-informed and agencies receive what they’re promised. Agencies involved in cause marketing might want to review these guidelines, given increased scrutiny many agencies now face. Even if you operate outside New York, the information could be helpful in your campaigns.

BEST PRACTICES: SUMMARY OF KEY RECOMMENDATIONS

♦ CLEARLY DESCRIBE THE PROMOTION: Before purchasing a product or service, consumers should know how a charity benefits. Ads, Web sites and product packaging should clearly indicate: a) name of charity receiving a donation and it’s mission (if not obvious by name); b) the benefit charity will receive; c) any flat donation or minimum amount guaranteed to charity, or cap on donation; d) consumer action required for donation to be made and any restrictions on the donation; and e) start and end dates of campaign.

♦ CONSUMERS SHOULD EASILY UNDERSTAND DONATION AMOUNT: Specify a fixed dollar amount — i.e., 50 cents per purchase — in ads, marketing and product packaging or a fixed percentage of purchase price. This is preferable to vague terms such as “profits” or “proceeds.”

♦ DISCLOSE WHAT MAY NOT BE APPARENT: To ensure transparency and maintain reputation: a) If all or part of a donation is in-kind (non-monetary) explain its nature and amount; b) if a flat donation is promised or paid to a charity — regardless of a purchase or use of a product or service — state that action by consumer does not result in a contribution to the charity; and c) if a logo, color or other branding commonly associated with a charitable cause is used, clearly indicate whether a product purchase or use of a service results in a charitable donation.

♦ SOCIAL MEDIA TRANSPARENCY: Clearly and prominently state the terms of a social media campaign as part of online marketing — amount donated to charity per action, name of charity receiving funds, dates of campaign, and if there’s a minimum/maximum amount to be donated. Track donations in real-time during the campaign to show progress. When a campaign concludes, completely discontinue it or clearly state further actions won’t result in a charitable donation.

♦ DISCLOSE AMOUNT RAISED: After each campaign, indicate on Web site the amount of charitable donations generated,  helping companies highlight generosity and showing accountability to the public. To increase transparency, charities and companies should provide information on their Web sites about active and recently closed campaigns.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL REPORT

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QUESTIONS TO READERS:

A) Any other tips/best practices you’d like to share? B) Did you find this information helpful?

     

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INCREASE ORGANIZATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS WITH CAUSE MARKETING. A READER PROVIDES A BLUEPRINT.

By James D’Ambrosio

Recently I received an e-mail from a subscriber to this blog who shared an article I believe would be useful to readers. Ashley Halligan, an analyst at Software Advice, an Austin, Texas-based company  helping organizations select the best software for their business needs, recently penned “4 STEPS NONPROFITS CAN TAKE TO ESTABLISH A LASTING BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP,” providing a blueprint for developing effective cause marketing relationships. Complete with insightful comments from nonprofit and for-profit professionals, I found it instructive.

CAUSE MARKETING — DEFINITION & BENEFITS

Broadly speaking, cause marketing is a mutually beneficial relationship between a nonprofit and a for-profit business designed to further both organization’s goals beyond what otherwise might have been achieved alone. When successful, it’s a win-win: Nonprofits realize an enhanced ability to champion a cause through the greater financial resources of a business and reach more potential supporters through their customer base. Likewise, private business realizes good public relations and more marketing opportunities, leading to increased business. Case in point: The article cites a 2010 Cone Inc. study indicating that 80 percent of people in the U.S. are likely to switch brands — of equal quality and nature — if it supports a good cause.

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

Published earlier this month and referenced by The New York Times, the article guides the reader through four steps to establishing lasting cause marketing relationships: 1) Assess your goals | 2) Develop a short list of potential business partners | 3) Start some conversations | and 4) Initiate and nurture the relationship.

It’s noted that building these relationships takes time. Bruce Burtch, author of “Glowing Your Business,” is quoted as saying: “The most successful cross-sector partnerships and cause marketing campaigns do not hit their stride until the second or third year.”

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE 

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QUESTIONS TO READERS:

A) What did you learn from the article?

B) Did you find it helpful to your cause marketing efforts?

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