This is a continuation of a post on the reasons MLB's cause campaigns work.
To explore Major League Baseball's overall cause strategy and understand examples of execution, I spoke with Jacqueline Parkes—MLB’s Chief Marketing Officer—who oversees their community activities.
Here are my full 10 takeaways on why MLB's cause portfolio hits it out of the park (cheesy,I know):
1) Compassion comes from the top.
2) Causes are diverse.
3) When they commit, they put in 110%.
4) Community is paramount.
5) Everyone is involved.
6) Actions make a difference. Due to Commissioner Selig’s vision, MLB’s cause marketing, and the teams’ support of nonprofits, charities’ missions are moved forward. MLB provides metrics so nonprofits can sustain their models and grow. For example, when Stand Up To Cancer was featured during Game One of the World Series, more people went to StandUp2Cancer.org and donated, than any other day in the nonprofit’s history (with the exception of a couple of nationally hosted telethons).
7) MLB has a stake in the game. Whether it be partnering with nonprofits or creating their own foundation, MLB has a stake in thriving communities, and thinks deeply about what work they can do to increase involvement. For example, MLB created the Welcome Back Veterans foundation to “help those coming back from war, facing unbelievable challenges,” says Parkes. “We can support them by helping to provide health care and mental health support.” Consider this scary statistic: more men and women have committed suicide once they’ve returned from war than have actually died in combat. That’s not acceptable, and MLB is working to change that.
8) Challenges are acknowledged. It sounds like MLB has a carefully crafted philanthropic mission that is operating efficiently. Is it possible there are any hiccups? “The biggest challenge is there’s so much need,” Parkes explained. “It’s hard not to say yes. We’d like to address all problems, but we’re also putting on baseball games. We need to focus on tangible results that move our mission forward, and monitor and audit that charitable focus.”
9) Influenced is used for good. “Listen, we’re MLB. We’re very fortunate that we’ve had First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden help us with Welcome Back Veterans. We’ve also had celebrities donate their time (see video below) to film PSAs for Stand Up To Cancer. That’s all wonderful, but there’s so much more work to be done.”
10) Culture matters. “It’s really important to us that the vision comes from the top, because it means we’re all carrying that mission forward. It’s not just marketing. My advice to companies thinking about cause programs is this: think about how much money you can give—assets, resources, employee time, marketing—and consider how your program can be the most successful. Your company and its culture need to be bought into charitable organizations’ values. It doesn’t work any other way.”