I think we all recognize that larger organizations whether commercial or nonprofit have brand recognition. Sometimes the brand recognition is so strong the name of the brand has replaced the name of the product such as Kleenex® for a facial tissue or in many parts of the country Coke® means any carbonated beverage and not just cola-flavored. The larger more well-known charitable organizations also have ‘brand’ recognition perhaps the most famous being the color pink with breast cancer awareness; regardless of the specific fundraising entity pink ribbons, shoelaces, hats, shirts, etc. are immediately recognized for their alliance with breast cancer awareness.
So as a business person why would I want to align with your nonprofit? To coin the old adage “what’s in it for me?”—a lot is whats in it for you. Connecting your business and brand with a nonprofit can have a major impact on your business, creating stronger loyalty with existing customers and reaching potential new ones.
Consider increased community brand recognition. By aligning with a nonprofit that shares your values, your business will grow its recognition. As a local craft brewery, you can form a natural partnership with the Alex’s Lemonade Stands to Fight Childhood Cancer. Without any upfront investment, you offer a free pint of a specific brew for a $10 donation. The donor gets their ‘coupon’ and comes into your Brew Pub. There is a good chance on top of the one free pint; they’ll have another and maybe something to eat. Since people rarely drink or eat alone that person will also likely drink and eat. If you are really committed you have your staff offer the companion the opportunity to donate the $10 and get the same ‘free pint,’ and you have solidified your position as a caring and supportive member of your community. Right there you are growing your brand loyalty and recognition, connecting emotionally with your customers and very likely creating a brand advocate. Now that’s a true win-win, all for the cost of a draft pull.
There are plenty of other opportunities for a small business to partner up with a local nonprofit; a health-food store with a diabetes program, a bicycle shop with a heart-health organization or a pet food store with the local animal shelter. There are many organic partnerships where the business and the nonprofit have a similar focus.
There are also plenty of business that may not have a natural partner, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t work with a local non-profit – start by identifying a cause you care about and go from there. Or select a cause that impacts a member of your team or family.
People are, by nature generally charitable, but they do spend much of their lives as consumers, making them more apt to respond favorably to fundraisers that are linked to specific rewards. Offering your customers rewards in conjunction with their donations demonstrates your appreciation of their willingness to support your cause with their hard-earned funds.
A study by Cone Communications revealed that 85 percent of consumers view businesses that give to a charity more favorably. Take the time to do some market research to identify the most popular charitable causes in your area and approach them about forming a partner program. Some interesting statistics to consider:
54 percent of consumers bought a product associated with a cause during the last 12 months
89 percent of Americans are likely to switch brands to one associated with a cause, given comparable price and quality
91 percent of consumers are willing to purchase more products and services that support causes
88 percent of consumers want to learn more about companies supporting social and environmental issues
Ready to get started connecting with consumers while making a difference in your community? Drop us an email.