Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year's Resolution: Don't Forget the Blog or the Cause

New year, new resolutions. My first resolution being to get back on track blogging. Has it really been three months? And while I may have been ignoring the blog, I have not been ignoring the desire to nourish a cause. One example of strength that comes from numbers I fould just last month. I ran across the Modest Needs Foundation -- a group that uses grassroots pull to attract thousands of donations to help people meet needs in the short run. When you read about this organization, it is amazing what a few dollars pooled with other people's money can mean to those in need. We all spend $10 on eating lunch out once a week. That same $10 can go toward helping someone pay a rent shortfall, fix a car, cover unexpected medical expenses. The list goes on. When you visit the Modest Needs Foundation Web site, you can click through all of the various needs, see how much someone needs to address a crisis and make a contribution. The site appears to be well documented and verified as legit. Take a look at the site, and see what you can do to help the cause. Not a bad new year's resolution.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Getting Kids to Believe in Causes

Marketing products to and through children is a tried and true strategy. Just ask any cereal company why they advertise during cartoons, or any toy company why they target children's television programming leading up to the holidays. So it stands to reason that getting kids involved with causes and breeding passion for philanthropy early on can lead to lifetime involvement in volunteerism. It's important to set a good example for children by being active with causes you support, and explaining to children the value in helping others.

My son and some of his friends last summer created a concert to bring in local bands and raise money for the youth group at the church where the concert was held, as well as raise money for a fellow student battling cancer. The results were admirable. They sold concert t-shirts and the church sold concessions. About five groups performed to nearly 200 students. My son and his fellow organizers learned how to deliver a proposal to adults, work within the rules of a system, organize volunteer help and in the end provide funds for two worthy causes.

My hope is that these important life lessons will guide these young men in the future toward building on their philanthropic success and contributing to furthering other causes. Getting children of any age involved with such efforts can only fortify the value of volunteerism. Who says we can't market that during children's programming on Saturday morning?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Maybe "Retro" Marketing is the Way to Go

I received in the mail recently from a colleague a pitch for business on his company letterhead. At first I thought it odd that he was sending me a letter. But when I gave it more consideration, I found it to be a great idea! With all of the new social media tools available to us as marketers and communicators, the traditional ways of reaching prospective customers have been pushed to the side. While social media certainly has a place in the marketing strategy portfolio, especially with certain audiences, the "old" way of doing business has not lost its place.

I am desensitized by all the bombardment of emails and texts and Facebook entries to the point where I don't really pay attention to all of them. It is overload. But a simple letter, written well, in the shrinking pile of mail I receive got my full attention. I don't know if it was my colleague's intent to use direct mail in such a way, but it was definitely effective.

Clever marketing and communication strategies should include a variety of ways to reach potential customers. Direct mail has not lost its place. Call and find out how we can help you match traditional and newer social media tactics to your needs!

Friday, June 12, 2009

What Position Must You Have to Nourish a Cause?

My family was in Disney World recently on vacation. As Disney fanatics, we decided to do some behind the scenes activities on this trip beyond the theme parks. One of things impressed upon me as we learned more about the life of Walt Disney was his incredible rags to riches story.

What influence someone of his stature could have on the world around him. It made me wonder if you have to have such a position to lead a charge and nourish a cause. My conclusion is while it can't hurt, anyone is in a position to nourish a cause if you just open your eyes to the world around you. In our own individual spheres of influence, we can make a difference.

I keep a quote on my desk someone gave to me several years ago. It essentially says that when you pray for more influence and reponsibility to honor God, he will bring opportunities and people into your path...you can trust that God will never send someone that you cannot help without His leadership and strength.

With the summer stretched out ahead of me, I have my eyes open to new opportunities to nourish a cause. My name may not be Disney, but I hope to find fresh ways to connect for-profit and non-profit organizations to make this part of the world a better place.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Use Creativity to Successfully Nourish a Cause

In serving as a volunteer for non-profit organizations and working for non-profit clients, I have found that one of the biggest challenges is for any organization to try and be all things to all audiences on a shoestring budget. It simply cannot be done as effectively as you would like.

That's where creativity comes in. And that's where nourishing a cause can give an organization a lot of bang for the buck. By partnering with a for-profit company or another partner, you can tap into resources you may not have considered and expand your horizons into markets you may not have been able to access on your own. Tying into a cause that matches your organization's mission statement can breathe new life into your marketing efforts and extend your public relations reach. You move toward meeting "the all things to all people" challenge.

One recent example that comes to mind is Pork Power: Partnering to Fight Hunger in Illinois. Illinois pork producers are donating 100,000 pounds of pork for Second Harvest Food Banks across Illinois. Through Pork Power, up to 400,000 servings of pork are being made available to those in need of food assistance. Meat processors throughout the state accept donated hogs to process into two-pound packages of ground pork for distribution at the food banks.

Those in need are fed, food banks get access to protein they might not otherwise have been able to supply to their clients and pork producers get the satisfaction of helping meet the needs of those less fortunate with a safe, healthy product from their farms. Pork producers are giving back to their local communities and are able to reach consumers that they may not have reached in other ways. Consumers have the chance to assess the benefits of pork in their diets, and, down the road, perhaps change their opinion of pork or even become more regular customers.

Everyone wins.

I've found through my experiences that the sky is the limit in matching causes with creativity. Let's discuss ways to make it happen.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cause Marketing is Catching Fire

One of my newest passions has become reading about and getting involved with cause marketing opportunities. Cause marketing is not really new, but it is becoming a popular way for creating cooperative efforts between a for-profit business and a non-profit organization. For example, since I have supported the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure for breast cancer, I remember their partnership with a yogurt company to save lids and save lives. Yoplait donated several cents to the cause for each lid turned in by consumers. The program not only raised awareness of breast cancer, it likely encouraged consumers to purchase the yogurt and donate to the cause.

I am sure you know other examples. The documented impact they have is incredible. Research shows that 9 out of 10 Americans think companies should work with non-profits to raise money and cause awareness. And 8 out of 10 consumers would switch brands if another brand of like price and quality was involved with a good cause. The majority of people also have a better opinion of those brands that support causes they care about. Could marketing get any easier?

Non-profit groups get access to funds to help promote their cause, and companies benefit by generating positive public relations and new marketing opportunities.

Anderson & Associates can help your company or non-profit group identify opportunities and put together a cause marketing campaign that benefits both parties. Cause marketing is catching fire. What are you waiting for? Give me a call!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Get Out of the Boat to Walk on the Water

I took a class during Lent this year that focused on getting out of the boat to walk on water. I wanted to learn more about how to take a leap of faith to get things done without the fear of failure and the ability to address the challenges of being willing to get your feet wet. The lessons focused on those in Biblical history, like Peter, who stepped out of the boat and into the storm while keeping their eyes on Jesus; relying on their faith to not sink into the water.

In the book we used for the lessons, the author, John Ortberg, notes that there is something, Someone, inside of us that tells us there is more to life than sitting in the boat. Something inside of all of us wants us to leave the comfort of routine existence and abandon ourselves to the high adventure of following God. My hope is that the next time I feel called to participate in a cause that may be outside my comfort zone, that I can take the leap of faith and do it.

One cause that I believe in that many might consider to be out of their comfort zone to visit is the Christian Activity Center (CAC) in East St. Louis. The center provides recreation, education and life enhancement activities for at-risk children in one of the most depressed neighborhoods of the community, and the results of the program are incredible.

If you visit the site at http://www.cacesl.org,/ you can see these children receive care and guidance from the time they leave school until close to bedtime. Since the program began, participation in gang activity and juvenile crime in the neighborhood has dropped dramatically, 90 percent of participants graduate from high school and many have gone on to and completed college degrees. The program is having a dramatic impact. And the program has many needs that we can each help fulfill. It's a cause to nourish. Check it out! It's worth stepping out of the boat.