Joe waters

Guest blogger Joe Waters writes on cause marketing and social media at, and is the co-author of Cause Marketing For Dummies

I’m all about the food truck right now. We have a number of food trucks here in Boston, and I just finished watching The Great Food Truck Race on The Food Network. I’m fascinated by the phenomenon and impressed by how food trucks market themselves via social media and other creative approaches.

Nonprofits can learn a lot from these mobile eateries that have a nose for where the business is and know how to keep fans coming back. I challenge you to try these relationship-building strategies to up your fundraising and marketing results:

Guest Blogger in Strategy | 1 comment
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Choosing a for-profit partner for your nonprofit has tremendous potential to help your organization and drive your mission forward, if you do it right. And today, when traditional funding sources are smaller than ever, corporate partnership is a strategy you can’t afford to ignore. And there are many great examples where such partnerships are a genuine win-win.

Cause marketing, the most popular type of nonprofit/for-profit partnership, was a strategy used initially by national high-profile organizations like American Express and  The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. But today’s options for effective cause marketing are much broader than that, reaching to the local level. But the key question remains: How do you assess whether cause marketing is the right strategy to pursue and, if so, how to start? READ MORE

Nancy Schwartz in Cause Marketing | 0 comments
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Joe-WatersYou know that cause marketing is a partnership between a for-profit and a nonprofit. Each partner has something to offer the other.

Cause marketing is certainly a potentially significant strategy in your overall nonprofit marketing plan. And some of you have a cause marketing program in place already. But for those of you who don’t (and that’s most nonprofits), how do you know when cause marketing is right for your nonprofit? Can it ever work for small or medium nonprofits, or is it just for the big guys? And if you decide to go forward, how do you bring the program to life?

Here’s expert guidance on these core cause marketing issues by cause marketer Joe Waters, Director, Cause & Event Marketing at Boston Medical Center.  Please add your suggestions and questions to the discussion.

P.S. Vote now to build your messaging skills and learn how to strengthen your own organization’s taglines by selecting the best in class in the 2010 Taggies — the third annual Nonprofit Tagline Award Competition. It’s a fun project that will help nonprofits in all fields discover what works, and why. Voting closes in a week so do it now!

Nancy Schwartz in Case Studies, Cause Marketing | 0 comments
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Update: April 30, 2010 — Learn more in this just-posted, in-depth case study on the Komen-KFC deal.  To follow the story as it develops, subscribe to the Getting Attention e-update.

komenI’m blown away by the news — blogged by cause marketer Joe Waters — that Komen has made a huge nonprofit marketing mistake. The famed Race for Cure has undermined its own brand by partnering with KFC to cause market one of the most unhealthy foods there is — fried chicken in a pink bucket.

Pink buckets for the cure? You must be kidding me. That was my reaction to this gaffe and it’s going to be widespread. Because we’ve accepted what Komen’s told us is their brand (women’s health) and this partnership flies in the face of that persona. We all know what the F stands for.

My disappointment is a shadow of what you’d feel on discovering your spouse has been having a long-term affair, while you and the rest of the family carried on based on the assumption that s/he was in. The person you thought you knew is really someone different, which kills your trust of him/her across the board.

It works the same way — on a smaller scale — with organizations we believe in. Your nonprofit brand is the essence of your organization, your promise to your base. It represents the intersection of your organization’s wants and interests, and those of your target audience.

Once that “brand promise” is defined, branding is the art of creating a consistent, recognizable and distinct unified voice or personality that conveys your org’s focus, credibility and unique contributions via positioning, message platform, graphic identity and partnerships.

Authenticity is a prerequisite for successful branding. Komen has been trusted as a force for improving women’s health and, on its website, touts its #1 spot in the Harris poll for most-valued brand.

But this deal shows that is it can’t be trusted as such (or else it just made a huge mistake, and better rethink its decision making). Either way, it’ll be a long time before a lot of us will believe in Komen again. Brand gone bust!

Beware! It’s what you do, not what you say. Or as Momma Schwartz used to say, actions speak louder than words. Stick to mission if your brand is to be believed. Otherwise, credibility is lost.

What’s your take on Komen’s fried chicken deal? What should be the standards for partnerships? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below (bottom of page) or via email. Thanks.

P. S. Here’s how the Girl Scout brand is undermined by selling cookies.

Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages | 32 comments
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