This post was originally published on Iris7 Marketing and is being shared, here, with their permission.
THE CONNECTOR: JENNIFER RICHEY DISCUSSES HER UPCOMING CAUSE MARKETING SUMMIT
February 5, 2016
Jenn Richey, Cause Marketing Summit
Corporate sponsorships can help non-profits diversify their revenue streams while elevating brand profiles. But where do you start? This May 24 hundreds of non-profit professionals and businesspeople will convene at the second annual Cause Marketing Summit to learn about these win-win partnerships. Recently, Iris7 sat down with Jennifer Richey, founder of the summit as well as the Associate Director of Corporate Partnerships at Young Survival Coalition, to find out what’s on tap for this year’s event and to discuss current cause marketing trends.
IRIS7: WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO LAUNCH THE CAUSE MARKETING SUMMIT?
Cause Marketing Summit
JR: Simple answer: I wanted to attend! To be honest, I always wanted to attend an event that spoke to cause related marketing and corporate social responsibility. I spent so much time reading articles and research on the topic, but I really wanted to connect with a community of cause marketers to learn and spark creative campaigns for good. I found that the existing events on the topic were out of reach for the mid-sized non-profits I worked for, so I decided to curate my own. I also had the experience of becoming what I call ‘non-profit roadkill.’ I worked for a non-profit fully funded by a federal grant. Our funding was cut two years prematurely in 2014 and I suddenly found myself unemployed. I know the importance of diversifying funding from day one and I want to spread the message about how to do it.
IRIS7: WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF THE CAUSE MARKETING SUMMIT?
JR: The main goals are to: Spark ideas and creativity for developing cause marketing campaigns, connect non-profit executives with business leaders to shape social change, and to increase knowledge across the board around purpose-driven promotions.
IRIS7: WHAT WERE THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FIRST SUMMIT?
JR: We had so many incredible speakers, so it’s tough to choose one highlight. Laura Goodman from Share Our Strength really nailed it when she said, ‘Invest in storytelling, people, talent, marketing, and social media. If you invest, the cause marketing partners will come.’ We also had an awesome speaker from Levi’s, Erik Wolsky. He emphasized the importance of connecting your campaign to actual impact in the real world.
IRIS7: WHAT HAVE YOU GOT IN STORE FOR THIS YEAR?
JR: This year we are really focusing on risk, results, and impact. It is an election year, so we will spend some time focusing on the political landscape and things to consider when partnering. We will also take a look at impact investing and ‘The Founders,’ or the generation of people born after 2000, who now make up 20% of the population. MTV’s Jane Gould, SVP of Research and Insights, will present the information we need to engage the next generation.
IRIS7: WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
JR: Any professional interested in the intersection between business and non-profit. I recommend the event to development professionals looking to increase their funding and spend less money to make a dollar. I also recommend it to business leaders charged with improving their brand image, reach, and results.
IRIS7: WHAT ARE THE CURRENT TRENDS IN CAUSE MARKETING?
JR: There are so many fun trends emerging. For one, brands are recognizing that we must respond collectively to crisis to make an impact, so you see things like the Global Citizen Festival, DoSomething.org, and B-corps gaining popularity. Many companies, like Warby Parker and Toms, that donate one item for every one purchased are taking their share of the market. We are also seeing companies literally changing the look of their packaging to make it clear on first glance that they give back.
IRIS7: WHAT TYPES OF ORGANIZATIONS ARE RIPE FOR CORPORATE AFFILIATIONS?
JR: All organizations could benefit from the right corporate partners. That said, organizations must have the bandwidth to deliver on all the campaign promises. I suggest having at least one staff member in charge of corporate partnership or making it a priority for a staff member who wears many hats. Companies are showing an interest in smaller non-profits because they are able to see major growth as a result of their partnership.
IRIS7: WHAT ARE THE THREE THINGS THAT NONPROFITS LOOKING TO CREATE A CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP AFFILIATION SHOULD DO?
JR: 1. Invest in people and/or agencies to help identify, execute, and amplify campaigns. 2. Find ways that your organization can engage employees around your cause. 3. Find the ‘right’ partner: A company that is on-brand and the public recognizes why they chose to partner with your cause.
IRIS7: WHAT CRITERIA SHOULD NONPROFITS USE TO IDENTIFY POTENTIAL PARTNERS?
JR: That really depends on the non-profit. I have a scoring system to determine if the partner/campaign will be successful. You really just need to decide what is important to you as an organization and make sure to avoid any partners who could be counter-intuitive to your mission.
IRIS7: WHAT DO COMPANIES LOOK FOR IN THEIR NONPROFIT PARTNERS?
JR: First and foremost, they are looking for synergy. They want to make sure their consumers understand why they are supporting a particular cause. Some companies are looking to use your logo and just speak about how they are helping via press releases and their e-communications. Some companies are looking for a deeper partnership and require social media shout outs, employee engagement, and cross-promotion.
IRIS7: HOW MUCH EFFORT DOES IT TAKE FOR A NONPROFIT TO CREATE A CORPORATE PARTNERSHIP?
JR: If you’re doing great work, the right marketing people will find you. If you’re approaching a larger corporate partner, it could take a year, or more, to cultivate the relationship. However, it is always a good rule of thumb to avoid partners just looking to tap into your audience. They sometimes need to be reminded that YOU are the non-profit and their best bet is to use your stories to spread the word about their brand. It is also vital to require a minimum donation. If they aren’t willing to commit to a sum larger than what an individual typically gives, chances are, you should move on.
For more information on the Cause Marketing Summit, click here to visit their site.