Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fundraising: Cause Marketing Part 2

So, as promised, here's round 2 of my fundraising series. In this post I want to talk about one way in which we're starting to utilize cause marketing concepts and professionals to benefit our organization. I want to start with the person who introduced me to the term "cause marketing" in the first place, Alla Ioffe, recent DePaul University graduate and founder of the socially conscious Chicago-based events company Pallandrome. We connected through Meagan, our Media Outreach intern who recommended that I chat with Alla about getting Cabrini Connections onboard a potential fundraising event, which has now materialized into a Sunday Funday Party that will take place on Sunday, Sept 20th from 11am to 2pm.

The event, which is completely organized by Alla's firm, will take place at the Windy City Fieldhouse (2367 W Logan Blvd) and will bring together approximately 500 children and their parents for a day of fun, games, snacks and marketing opportunities for companies looking to showcase their back-to-school related goods and services in front of affluent parents and their kids. Like past events, such as her Just Be Cause green business showcase, which took place at the Funky Buddah Lounge not too long ago, her fundraising model is ingenious. She comes up with an idea of an event that will be attractive enough to people to pay to attend and then charges sponsors for tables at the event so that they can promote their products in front of this large, engaged pool of potential customers. Then she donates a chunk of the proceeds to a good cause, like Cabrini Connections.

So at this upcoming event, young families will be lured by the prospect of relay races, food, bounce houses, games and prizes and will pay to come to the Windy City Field House. At the same time, sponsors eager to market their products to parents whose children are running, bouncing, eating, playing...etc will pay for tables in the Field House, providing an additional income stream, plus some added draw for the parents since there will be informative presentations about how to pack healthy lunches, sustainable living, how to encourage kids to live healthily...etc. Plus we, as the showcase organization, will have an opportunity to tell our story and connect with all the attendees, not just the affluent parents who might support our cause, but the socially conscious businesses who may be interested in partnering with us to provide volunteers, publicity, dollars or other types of support.

Therefore Alla, as a cause-based marketer/events planner, serves as the lliason between our non-profit, and the corporate world, connecting us in a mutually beneficial way that provides us with both dollars and positive public relations opportunties while providing the same for the sponsoring organizations, who pay for the opportunity. Since in this current economic climate many nonprofits like ours are trying to sustain our programming with contracting donor bases, dwindling foundation funding and cutbacks in government grants, we should be looking out for opportunities like these to provide much needed general operating funds. For this reason it's particularly important to understand the growing trend of cause marketing which is not only supplementing traditional corporate philanthropy but in increasing cases, replacing it. Stay tuned for part 3.

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