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Cause Marketing: Taking a Cue From the Private Sector

by Kathy Klotz-Guest  |  
August 5, 2003
  |  10,741 views

Are you working for a nonprofit or promoting a social cause? Many of the for-profit rules about marketing strategy apply there, too.

Recently, I did some consulting work for a high-profile nonprofit client in Silicon Valley. A casualty of the times, the organization has suffered extreme cutbacks in funding. Because of this, the CEO felt that strategic planning and marketing development were not priorities.

This attitude is ultimately dangerous. During these tough economic times, nonprofits are under the gun to craft and articulate a strategic vision. If you cannot convey your mission and successes, be assured: some organization competing for the same funds will.

Are you evolving your market strategy with these changing times? If not, be prepared to lose your raison d'être and your funding.

Here are some important things to remember about cause-related marketing strategy:


  • Market your mission, not your services. Services may come and go, but it is your charter that you need to “sell.” You must champion your mission; programs that do not fit or advance the mission are ultimately distracting from your focus.

    Sometimes an organization needs to reinvent itself. Is the reason behind the mission no longer relevant? If the answer is yes, you may have already missed a strategic window. It is important to anticipate environmental changes that alter the viability of your mission and to adjust accordingly. Strategic planning is a must.

    Remember, these are tough times for cause marketers. To survive, many will have to consolidate as well as trim programs. Now is the time to leverage synergies, and the longevity of your mission may well depend on an organizational merger.


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Kathy Klotz-Guest, founder of Keeping It Human, helps companies turn marketing-speak into compelling human stories. A comic improviser and marketer, she also runs a marketing podcast. Reach her via kathy@keepingithuman.com.

LinkedIn: Kathy Klotz-Guest

Twitter: @kathyklotzguest

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