If you are a college basketball fan or even if you aren’t, you probably know that March Madness is upon us. Starting with 68 teams down to the Sweet Sixteen and ultimately the Final Four before the champion is selected using bracketing; a series of competitions where the winner of each contest moves to the next round until there is just one winner. For the last several years President Obama’s bracket picks were big news. Sometimes a team dominates for years like the UConn women and other times last year’s champ gets knocked out early like the Villanova men this year. And lest we overlook it a huge amount of the hysteria around March Madness is the gambling on winners.
At this point, you are probably wondering what exactly March Madness and Cause Marketing have in common, how about raising big money for your favorite charity like Bloomberg did? Bloomberg's Brackets for a Cause invited business leaders to complete the perfect March Madness bracket. Each participant donated $10,000 and named a charity to win big if they selected the most winners. In 2015 $360,000 went to Gary Cohen of Goldman Sachs’s charity Harlem RBI of choice. Last year SAP CEO Bill McDermott won $420,000 for Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). You can follow the 2017 results to find out who takes home the big money this year. Kudo’s to Bloomberg for capitalizing on this opportunity to connect commerce leaders with a cause and have some fun doing it!
Your business may not be participating in the Bloomberg competition, but you can certainly create one of your own. Start with your leadership and Board members and ask them to participate in a similar contest for a specified donation. You can expand it to include your staff and customers if that works for you. It’s pretty much guaranteed there is a least one pool going on in your office, use it as a starting point – maybe, in this case, the winner can donate a percentage of their winnings to your cause partner.
While this may not be the usual method of connecting cause with commerce, it is a fantastic way to do something fun and a little different to support your cause partner or any nonprofit in your community. March Madness may already be underway, but you can still get something going for the Sweet Sixteen through to the Championships on April 2nd. Bringing creativity to your support program can attract new participants within your organization and your customers. If college basketball isn’t your sport – there are plenty of other ways to join in the fun and generate donations for your cause partner.