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Win a $100,000 Cause-Marketing Grant

May 12, 2006

(May 12, 2006) BBMG, a New York-based marketing agency focusing on nonprofits, is offering one charity and its for-profit partner $100,000 worth of in-kind marketing services to create and launch a cause-related marketing campaign.

To ensure the campaign is comprehensive and reaches its goals, BBMG has partnered with seven other organizations to provide a wide variety of marketing and campaign services for the winning application. The partners include:

  • Global Strategy Group (research)
  • Medialink (broadcast/broadband media services)
  • Network for Good (online donations, email and database management)
  • Peppercom (public relations)
  • Quality Letter Service (printing and direct marketing)
  • Slam! Media Group (audio/video production)
  • U.S. Newswire (newswire distribution)

The “It’s How We Live” contest requires that a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and a U.S. company partner together on the application. The two organizations need not have worked together in the past, but both must be committed to the partnership for the life of the campaign.

Applications will be judged by BBMG and a panel of industry experts based on the following criteria:

  • Potential for impact on the targeted cause and business goals
  • Commitment level of applicant team
  • Availability of existing (no-cost) applicant resources and communications tactics
  • Cultural relevance of cause
  • Overall alignment with BBMG values and experience

Application forms are available on the BBMG website, and more information can be obtained by calling (212) 473-4902, ext. 206, or emailing Forms must be postmarked by July 31, 2006. The grant winner will be selected by Aug. 31, 2006.

Cause-Related Marketing

According to IEG, a Chicago-based market research firm, U.S. companies will spend $1.3 billion on cause-marketing initiatives in 2006, up 20 percent from 2005. Consumers are also responding to cause-centered campaigns. Eight in 10 Americans say that corporate support of causes wins their trust, and 86 percent say they are likely to switch to brands associated with good causes, if products are the same price and quality, according to the Cone Corporate Citizenship Study (2004).

In the application form for the “It’s How We Live” contest, BBMG provides a few tips to interested charities about identifying the right partner for a cause-related campaign:

Approach the Right Partner: A good cause-marketing campaign begins with finding the right partner. Increase your chances of success by doing advance research to find a company that’s predisposed toward your organization’s mission because you share a common audience or related industry.

Inventory Existing Relationships: Finding the right entry point into a company can be a challenge. Look closely at how you can leverage existing relationships to help open doors (board members, strong supporters, volunteers, personal friends and family). If you have to go in cold, begin with the senior marketing officer.

Know Your Unique Value Proposition: Corporate marketers don’t have the luxury of working with your organization simply because they support your mission. They need to know what makes your brand, your audience and your work stand out. Be prepared to explain what makes you special and different.

Put Yourself in Their Position: Frame your presentation to best suit those in your audience by telling them how you’ll meet their needs. Companies look for specific things in a nonprofit partnership:

  • Good return on investment
  • Compatible social missions
  • Access to a desirable audience
  • Positive brand association

Prepare Your Elevator Pitch: Corporate marketers are busy and stressed just like everyone else, so develop a succinct and exciting appeal. Tell them who you are, what you do and the strongest asset you bring to the partnership—and do it in 30 seconds.

Break Though the Clutter: Get creative to stand out among the many requests corporate marketers receive. Instead of just a standard business letter, introduce yourself with a package that’s exciting to receive and speaks to what makes your organization unique. Inspiration far outweighs expense here—a shiny red apple from an educational organization, a framed client painting from art therapy advocates, a sapling from a forest protection group, etc. Keep it simple and professional. And don’t forget that the package is just a start, so be sure to include a concise cover letter and follow up with a phone call.

Be Flexible: A good partnership is all about being flexible and accommodating. Don’t restrict yourself to one specific idea of how your partnership should work. Go in with an open mind.

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