Concluding our blog series about The Four Corporate purses (budgets) that changemakers can tap into. Check out the previous blogs exploring purses 1, 2 & 3.
Let’s dive into my favourite purse – MARKETING.
Why is it my fave? Because I’m a former corporate marketer (and therefore it speaks my language); it’s the largest purse, holding the greatest potential for untied funding (hooray, untied funding!) and it can make a quiet achiever into a household name!
Marketing is fundamental to the survival of a company, yet it can be bamboozling for non-profits. It’s at the practical, pointy end of the spectrum, where a commercial return on investment is required. Projects like sponsorship (funding a charity event or program), brand-aligned partnerships and Cause Related Marketing are funded from this purse.
Using the wrong language with this purse-holder will result in it snapping shut. A marketing or brand manager is not interested in ‘supporting’ a charity for feel good fuzzies, and they won’t understand language like ‘ask’ or ‘case for support’. So many non-profits fail to open this purse because they use traditional fundraising language that simply doesn’t resonate. The only way a company will align its reputation, brand, product or service with yours is if there is synergy - even if you’ve cracked open their other purses.
When I worked in corporate marketing in the 80’s & 90’s, Marketing covered the 4 Ps (Product, Packaging, Place and Pricing) but today it must include another P – Purpose. The conscious consumer movement is now mainstream and consumers are switching to brands that make them feel good. Anticipate a resurgence of Cause Related Marketing, but with more sophisticated messaging, beyond ‘buy this product and 10c goes to charity x’. Marketing purse-holders are tasked with differentiating the brand, winning new customers, getting on the customer consideration list, launching new products or enhanced features, and are responsible for advertising and communications (including PR and digital). Sometimes that includes communicating the company’s CSR activity.
Jargon includes leverage, brand equity/attributes/character/essence, demand generation, awareness, inbound & outbound, buyer persona, net promoter score, and frequency. Job titles include Manager or Director of; Marketing, PR Sales, Sponsorship or Brand. Occasionally this is outsourced to their creative/advertising or PR agency but beware – often they just want you to do all the work for their pitch to a company or brand they’re trying to win.
This purse is perfect for non-profits that want untied funding, mass market exposure for your cause and behaviour change messaging to a targeted or mass market audience. Being a large or well-known charity isn’t as important as you may think – it’s more about the fit. However, if a nationwide stocked and well-known brand is seeking a partner for a Cause Related Marketing campaign, your cause needs to have broad, national appeal. There is NO ‘gift’ or ‘donation’ in this purse – it’s business not philanthropy. So, you’d invoice the company, adding GST.
A brilliant example of this purse in action is ME Bank, whose ‘Buck it Forward’ campaign offers a card that contributes 1c every time it’s used. The card has generated over $1M for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. ME’s staff also participate in – and fundraise for – the NBCF Mother’s Day Classic. The Pink Buck card has been ME Bank’s most popular card ever.
What makes this exceptional is ME Bank’s excellent communication. Research shows that consumers resonate with causes and outcomes, not dollars, and yet too many CRM campaigns focus on that. ME’s approach makes the customer the hero plus showcases the ground-breaking research of Associate Professor Alexander Dobrovic.
Hopefully this blog series has provided some valuable insight. Keeping the ‘Four Purses’ top of mind will help you to determine WHY corporates want to partner with you, WHAT language to use from the outset, WHAT they’ll want in return and HOW they’ll measure success. This knowledge will prevent frustrating, time-wasting discussions and get you to a ‘YES’ much quicker than you’ve ever thought possible.
Download this infographic that provides clear details for each of the 4 purses and how to approach them.
 Conscious Consumer Report, 2021 (free download here)