Cause marketing techniques and advice from Zintro experts

by Maureen Aylward

Not-for-profits depend on fundraising for much of their funding. Cause marketing is gaining traction in the not-for-profit space as a way to connect with potential contributors and to generate exposure about a service, event, or social cause. Our Zintro experts weighed in on the topic of cause marketing.

More than one expert mentioned the importance of social media as one of the most successful and effective tools for cause marketing. Priyashmita Guha, a marketing and tactical business planning expert in India, says that social media marketing acts like a huge focus group that promotes a cause more easily. “We have seen it used for breast cancer awareness, and here in India, anti-corruption awareness is getting greater recognition because of Facebook and Twitter,” she says.

Lynn Sarkany, principal at Marketfinders and an adjunct professor of marketing and public relations at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA, says that she advises clients to get prospects personally interested through refer-a-friend programs in which a prospect sponsors another person’s membership or participation. “Adoption campaigns work well too. This is when individuals or groups adopt someone or something that is being helped by the not-for-profit,” Sarkany says. She says not-for-profits should take advantage of matching campaigns, which involve finding a major donor or donors to put up a specific amount of money and then asking others the match the donation.

Jose Linares Fontela, a marketing consultant in Spain that specializes in market research and customer relations, points out that not-for-profits must understand how to develop a marketing plan, conduct market research, and have a precise target market profiles of the people it is trying to reach. “The objective of the marketing program must be defined, either to raise funds or to motivate people,” he says. “I have done successful marketing for credit unions and microfinance institutions, and the non-profit and for profit marketing strategies are the same. The difference is the objectives, the products being sold, and the market being targeted.”

Fontela says that not-for-profits engage people on a different level and this is critical: “You have to address the needs that motivate the sponsors. They buy a sense of supportiveness and the satisfaction of helping other people,” he says.

Cause marketing is no different from for profit marketing, and the same techniques and tools can be used to ensure that a successful campaign happens.

Corporate Strategy, an expert that focuses on strategic market research agrees with Fontela. He notes that “every time a not-for-profit organization embraces commercial marketing methods, it can take a quantum leap forward. By far, the singe most powerful and overwhelmingly significant cause marketing technique for not-for-profits is the alignment with mission, vision, and purpose statements.”

By Maureen Aylward

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