Cause Marketing: Is Bigger Necessarily Better?

I know I’ve been slacking – it’s been a busy three months.  I went to a few amazing events, we rang in a new year, I went to Sundance, and I have a million other things to share.  For now, here’s a post I wrote for my company’s blog:

Cause Marketing: Is Bigger Necessarily Better?

So, I kind of lead a double life. By day, I do PR for one of the largest brands in the world. By night, I run the New York board of a small charity that came into existence a few short years ago.
You’ve probably heard of Tide. You probably do your laundry with it. What you might not know is that Tide has an amazing program called Loads of Hope, which provides clean clothes to families who have been affected by disaster.
About four years ago, I found out about a nonprofit organization called Nest that provides loans to women artisans in developing countries. I loved the idea, and about one year and a trip to Guatemala later; I had taken on the role as president of the NYC board.
What’s most interesting is that even though these programs are so drastically different, a lot of the principles in how to create a successful cause marketing campaign are the same. Here are a few of the things I’ve learned by working simultaneously on cause marketing efforts for projects big and small:
Make the Most of the Resources You Have:
With Tide, we are backed by a large company that invests wisely in its marketing efforts. There are dedicated teams of people at top creative agencies whose full time jobs are to come up with ideas and ways to turn those ideas into actual programs.
With a small nonprofit, you are most likely dealing with a minimal to nonexistent budget. If a nonprofit is fortunate enough to have one or more full time staff members, they most likely have to spend their time courting big donors and thinking of new ways to fundraise before they can turn their focus to marketing. Nest, with only two full time staffers, has to rely on their network of hundreds of volunteers across the country, most with demanding full time jobs who can only help with Nest in their limited free time.
Get Creative:
With a well known program like Loads of Hope, trying to come up with new ideas and to make such an established program feel fresh can be difficult at times. Yes, we are always going to different disasters and it’ll always be local news to the residents of the affected area, but in terms of the bigger picture, what can we do to engage more people around the country in our cause?
On the contrary, with the rapidly growing nature of Nest, new news is constantly pouring in. Between new partnerships with retailers, new loan recipients and events happening in each city, we’re flooded with information. The challenge here is how to choose what people outside the organization will find interesting. We’re often sifting through the clutter and determining what the most important news is and how to use it in a way that will get our target consumers involved.
Keep the Focus on the Mission:
The one thing that remains constant in my work on both Tide and with Nest is the bottom line. Both programs have a very clear mission-to help people. Whether sitting in a woman’s home with her children in Morocco or standing in the freezing cold by the Tide Loads of Hope truck in Fargo, North Dakota with a man whose home was destroyed, it’s the people who keep us all inspired to continue doing what we do.

Originally posted at: