Companies & Causes: The Official Blog of the Cause Marketing Forum is featuring great content from the 2011 conference. In a workshop on cause marketing geared for nonprofits, Stevan Miller and Clark discussed 10 non-negotiables for cause marketing partnerships. While the content is from the nonprofit perspective, it’s valuable for corporate partners looking to create thoughtful relationships and drive real impact.
The most important non-negotiable is to develop measurable goals and outcomes. After all, you won’t know if the partnership was a success unless you can measure impact – for both the business and the nonprofit partner. Below are a few tips to help partners communicate effectively, have the best mindset and set the most appropriate expectations.
Prepare for A Moving Target: have a flexible mindset to adapt to changing priorities as the campaign evolves. This may be more applicable to nonprofit partners, but any good corporate partner should take time to set the right priorities from the outset. Campaign mission creep doesn’t do anyone any good.
Be Proactive: maintain open communication among partners and don’t wait until the campaign is over to talk about what went right and what went wrong. Address issues and celebrate milestones along the way so no one is surprised at the end.
Have the Right Attitude: as Miller and Sweat advise, nonprofits should ditch the “We’re just so grateful that you’ve chosen us!” attitude and assert their rightful place in the partnership. Likewise, corporate partners shouldn’t assume that nonprofit partners will be willing to bend over backwards to meet their needs. Cause marketing is at its best when the partnerships are balanced and committed to both positive business and social impact outcomes.