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3 Ways to Promote Your Nonprofit Cause Marketing Program


Meet and Greet, Create a Signature Program, and Go Social
The American Heart Association's Go Red for Women is example of a signature cause marketing program.

The American Heart Association's Go Red for Women is an example of a signature cause marketing program.

The American Heart Association

Finding a partner and picking a program for cause marketing is just part of the challenge for your nonprofit. You'll also have to promote it, which is important for two reasons.

  1. It will increase the chances of success for your current programs.
  2. It will help you recruit new partners for future cause marketing programs.

Here are three ways, both offline and online, you can promote your cause marketing program.


Meet and Greet

The best person to promote your cause marketing program is you. Talk to everyone about it. Find forums that cater to businesses (Rotary Clubs, Chambers of Commerce, etc.) and offer to speak.  Develop an elevator pitch to give people what they need to hear as quickly and powerfully as possible. Add a line to your email signature that never lets readers forget what your latest cause marketing program is.

The key is to never to give in and think just because you're a nonprofit, promoting cause marketing is someone else's job. If you don't get your hands dirty you won't get much else done either.

Design a Signature Program

The program is the promotion. Too often when nonprofits create cause marketing programs they think in silos. One partner for this program. Another partner for a different program. But this is where we can learn from the bigger charities that have signature programs, such as St. Jude Children's Research Hospital's Thanks and Giving or the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women.

These nonprofits sell many companies into one program that they own (Remember, "signature" means you own it). Not only does this heighten awareness of the program as energy is put into a single, focused effort, but now you have numerous partners promoting the same program.

I saw this firsthand with my own work on a signature Halloween event in Boston. We sold many different companies into the two day event and the three weeks of cause marketing promotion that led up to it. The result was a successful program that raised more money, produced happier partners and made the program a great model to share with prospective partners.

Part of the key in promoting your cause marketing program is optimizing every aspect of it. Start with the program itself.

Go Social

I'm confused why more nonprofits don't use free social media tools to promote their cause marketing programs. Here are some key platforms:

  • Blogging

    Use your nonprofit's blog to talk about cause marketing and share success stories. This is instant content for your email newsletter for non-blog readers. An added bonus is that it lives forever in the search engines whenever someone wants it or stumbles across it because your content aligns with her needs.

  • Facebook

    The primary platform for social media users, Facebook can promote your cause marketing as you put it to work with a Facebook Likes promotion. For instance a promotion between Massage Envy and Second Harvest Food Bank raised thousands of dollars and added hundreds of fans to its Facebook page. The enthusiasm for Facebook Like cause marketing continues unabated. Check out this new partnership between P&G and Children's Safe Water Drinking Program.

  • Twitter:

    This microblogging platform isn't the behemoth Facebook is, but Twitter has a devoted following and its users are engaged and searching for new and interesting ideas. What I love about Twitter is that it cuts through the clutter and gatekeepers. The CEO's and marketing directors that do tweet are approachable and direct. 

  • Foursquare:

    Location-based services such as Foursquare allow you to bring your cause marketing promotion to smartphone users whenever they check in to businesses. People are always looking at their phones. When they do, they should be learning about cause marketing opportunities that are either under their feet or just a few feet away.

Above all else, promoting your cause marketing program is about making it discoverable: in person, in everything you do that's connected to the program and online with blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare.

The responsibility is yours. The tools are available and free to use. And now you know how to use them. Let the promotion begin.

Read More:

  1. About.com
  2. Industry
  3. Nonprofit Charitable Orgs
  4. Marketing/Promotion
  5. Marketing
  6. Cause Marketing and Sponsorships
  7. Cause Marketing (3 Ways to Promote Your Campaign)

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