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The Social Strategist – June 2012

The Life-Cycle of a Successful Cause Campaign: Key Takeaways from the 2012 Cause Marketing Forum

Changing Our World recently attended the 10th annual Cause Marketing Forum, which took place May 30-31st in Chicago, bringing together cross-sector thought leaders to discuss the current and future state of cause marketing. With its largest attendance to date, the conference showcased some of the most interesting cases the field has seen this year, providing participants with insight into best practices and common pitfalls throughout all stages of a cause marketing program. As you think through the lifecycle of your campaign, here are our key takeaways:

  • Partner Selection:  This initial stage is critical to both the short-term and long-term success of a campaign. Finding a partner with shared values, a common goal and target audience, and a brand with aligned attributes (e.g. Office Max and Adopt-A-Classroom through their A Day Made Better program) will convey a natural fit to your employees and consumers. Additionally, when building a campaign, transparency is key, especially between the nonprofit organization and the corporation. A clear understanding of expectations, responsibilities and resources from the out-set of a partnership helps to mitigate potential hurdles.  This is a constant issue in the field and something our clients frequently tackle as they make strategic partnership decisions.  Slides from Changing Our World’s recent webinar on Strategic Partnerships are available for download here.
  • Framing and Messaging:  The framing of a campaign can truly make or break it. Katya Anderson of Network for Good shared some fascinating examples of how marketers can leverage psychology to increase participation in cause campaigns. For instance, an examination of the identifiable victim effect, as discussed by Dr. Paul Slovic, concludes that when presented with the option to donate to one or two children, people will donate more to one child. Therefore, showcasing an individual’s story with colorful language and moving imagery creates a confluence of factors which play on our human nature and makes us more likely to engage.
  • Program Design:  One of the most exciting trends within cause marketing today is the number of mediums through which companies can choose to execute their programs. Mobile platforms have been established as one of the most popular ways to engage consumers, and the potential of this platform has been clearly demonstrated through various disaster-response campaigns. There was a lot of buzz this year around an innovative new application of technology – the “gamification” of cause marketing. Campaigns such as those led by Zynga and Save the Children engage the hundreds of millions of consumers who play games such as FarmVille and CityVille and give them a turnkey way to support a critical cause (e.g. the opportunity to purchase a virtual crop whose proceeds are donated to a nonprofit organization).  
  • Employee Testing:  One effective way to test a cause marketing program before taking it to full implementation is to draw on one of your most important and trusted audiences – your employees. Casey Brennan of VolunteerMatch touted the importance of engaging your employees early on in the partnership and program design phases as they can help you work through any kinks. Additionally, employees can serve as an army of ambassadors for your program, and their word of mouth recommendations to their networks can be an invaluable endorsement and reputational benefit to your company, which interestingly we’ve also found to be the case across a variety of corporate philanthropy programs.  As our upcoming webinar on The Intersection of Social Media and Corporate Citizenship will address, leveraging internal champions expands the reach and potential impact of citizenship initiatives.
  • Promotion:  Building a promotion strategy that employs multi-channel integration can help grow awareness, maintain consistency and engage diverse audiences for your campaign. A shining example of integration was the multi-award-winning “Arctic Home” campaign by Coca-Cola and World Wildlife Fund. Coca-Cola leveraged nearly every form of promotion with a cohesive look and feel for their campaign across digital, print, packaging, mobile, vending fleet, retail and celebrity endorsed public relations opportunities.
  • Loyalty and Incentive Programs:  Another exciting emerging concept is the idea of offering rewards or incentives to consumers as a veritable “carrot” to engage in your cause marketing program. By positioning charitable giving as “discounted,” as the Living Social and the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation has done, organizations can incentivize consumers to give by making donation opportunities seemingly impossible to pass up. This tactic is ripe for innovation over the coming years.
  • Measurement and Evaluation:  Establishing social impact goals for your cause marketing program can help articulate the value to internal audiences, and encourage consumers to become part of a solution. There are many dimensions through which a company can measure success, including marketing, sales and social impact. Because of a strong emphasis on measurement, Pampers proudly showcases that through their partnership with UNICEF on the 1 pack = 1 vaccine campaign that they have been able to eliminate Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus in eight countries so far.

These are our key takeaways from this year’s Cause Marketing Forum, but we want to hear yours!  Share them with us on Facebook!

The Harry Winston Hope Foundation Helps Bring Life-Skills Program to Chinese Youth

The Harry Winston Hope Foundation has announced its support of the International Youth Foundation (IYF) and the China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF), through which the globally acclaimed Passport to Success life skills curriculum has been introduced to at-risk youth in China.  Together, the Harry Winston Hope Foundation, IYF and CYDF are working to help meet a crucial need within the education system by providing young people in China with academic and life skills that are critical to their future success.

Translated into Mandarin and adapted to reflect China's unique culture, the Passport to Success curriculum was launched in two schools in Beijing and Nanjing in February 2012.  Teachers have been trained to effectively use the curriculum to teach life and employability skills such as goal setting, cooperation and team work.  As part of the program, students also complete a service learning project where they will identify a social need within their community and work to create a solution.

At the recent opening of the new Harry Winston Salon in Shanghai, Frederic de Narp, President and CEO of Harry Winston Inc., joined board members of IYF and CYDF to celebrate this exciting partnership. The program will expand to reach additional schools in September.

To learn more, contact Maeve Miccio, Director of Corporate Social Engagement at Changing Our World, at

From the Desk Of...

In this edition of From the Desk Of…, Changing Our World connected with Julie Coleman, Executive Director of the Arizona Public Service (APS) Foundation and Manager, Corporate Giving (APS), where she spearheads the Foundation’s commitment to advancing STEM education in Arizona and leads community initiatives across the state through the company’s Corporate Giving Program. 

This year the APS Foundation formally launched a new commitment to STEM education in Arizona.  The Foundation now supports a range of STEM education initiatives targeting both students and teachers, to ultimately keep the state strong and competitive by better equipping the next generation of Arizona’s workforce.  And in an effort to deepen this commitment, the Foundation has also launched a signature initiative, focused on enhancing support to STEM teachers. 

Congratulations on your recent launch of the Foundation’s focus on STEM education! We know STEM is a hot topic right now, how does APS hope to distinguish itself as a funder? And how are you communicating the shift internally and externally?

Thank you!  While STEM is very top-of-mind currently for many corporations and foundations, at APS our commitment to this issue area demonstrates the APS Foundation’s intent to strengthen and support Arizona’s students and teachers, and ultimately position the state as a competitive leader that will result in the attraction of new businesses.

The APS Foundation is distinguishing itself as a funder through its proactive approach in identifying and cultivating nonprofit partnerships.  As we embark on our first funding cycle, we have already received much positive feedback on our approach. 

A comprehensive communications plan is essential when making a funding shift of this magnitude.  We are employing a grassroots approach in communicating both internally and externally the funding distinction between the APS Foundation and the company’s Corporate Giving Program.  In addition, we are looking to identify quality employee volunteer opportunities with our Foundation partners that we anticipate will allow us to identify internal “ambassadors” who can continue to help us maximize awareness and understanding of our programs.

Can you tell us more about the Foundation’s signature initiative? How did you come to the decision to create a signature initiative and why did you decide to focus specifically on supporting teachers?

As STEM can be a broad focus, the APS Foundation wanted to identify and create a signature initiative within the STEM “umbrella” that creates a significant impact within the space, increases the visibility of the company’s commitment to STEM and tells a powerful story.  Changing Our World conducted extensive research on possible signature areas and the focus of supporting teachers was selected.  Research overwhelmingly showed that Arizona teachers are not equipped with the pedagogical skills or content knowledge needed to teach the STEM subjects.  The Foundation’s approach through the signature initiative is to award larger grants to fewer partners to make a greater impact that will ultimately grow into multi-year partnerships that support sustainable and effective programs.  The intent with each signature partner is that our relationship helps build the nonprofit’s capacity and attracts additional funders.   

Now that you have launched, what are your priorities moving forward?

The Foundation has several priorities moving forward, including:  developing deep, long-term and transparent partnerships with our nonprofit partners; further enhancing internal and external awareness of the new funding focus; staying informed of best practices and trends in STEM education; and establishing the measurement and evaluation metrics for each partnership.

Save the Date for Our Next Webinar!

Be sure to mark your calendar for July 25th at 1:00 p.m. EDT and join Changing Our World’s Corporate Social Engagement and Digital teams for a new webinar: The Intersection of Social Media and Corporate Citizenship.  We are delighted to have Barbara McAllister, Director of Global Strategic Initiatives at the Intel Foundation and Nicole Guerrieri, Digital Media Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility at NBCUniversal join us as our special guest presenters, sharing their valuable, practical insights.  To pre-register, click here; otherwise, invitations will be sent out via email next week.

Social media has become a powerful force to support the communication of philanthropic activities and create an avenue for engaging internal and external audiences.  These ever-evolving tools help to mobilize communities to impact social change, educate employees on the importance of a company’s commitment to a social cause, and serve as a gateway for corporations to broadcast accomplishments and success stories. In this webinar, we will explore the various drivers that shape a social media strategy and how companies are effectively using different platforms to engage stakeholders.  Join us to learn why and how companies choose to employ differing social media tactics to achieve their corporate citizenship goals.

Our last webinar, held on March 29th and focused on the topic of strategic partnerships between corporations and nonprofit organizations, was attended by over 250 guests.  Many thanks to those of you who attended!  In case you missed the event, slides from that webinar are available online here.

We hope you’ll join us on July 25th!

Come See Us at the 2012 Corporate Community Involvement Conference in July & Save Money on Conference Registration!

Changing Our World is excited to again present alongside other industry thought leaders at the 2012 Conference Board’s Corporate Community Involvement Conference.  This year’s event, themed The Future is Today: Strategies for Accelerating Business and Social Impact, is taking place July 18th-20th at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston, MA.

Our own Lynn Stekas will be hosting a day long workshop on Designing and Managing a Corporate Contributions Program, also featuring Julie Coleman of client Arizona Public Service (APS).  Additionally, DeShele Dorsey will be presenting alongside Kori Reed, of ConAgra Foods Foundation, and Nancy Withbroe, of Share Our Strength on Building A Strong Nonprofit Partnership.  Many other clients and friends will also be in attendance; and we hope to see you there!

As a treat to friends of Changing Our World, if you enter promotion code CW1 at check-out, you’ll receive a $300 discount on conference registration!

A Warm Welcome to Our 2012 Corporate Social Investment Fellow!

Nicolas P - Corporate Social Investment Fellow

We are delighted to welcome Nicolas Picard to Changing Our World as this year's Corporate Social Investment Fellow.  For the next ten weeks, Nick will work closely with the firm's Corporate Social Engagement and Research and Analytics departments out of our New York headquarters.

Changing Our World’s Fellowship Program aims to contribute to the development of future leaders in the public, philanthropic, and nonprofit sectors, and advance the capacity of nonprofit and social enterprise organizations globally.  As we all know, corporate philanthropy is evolving in ground-breaking ways.  Instead of pure philanthropy – whereby companies gift time and grants to partner organizations – corporate leaders are now interested in how social and environmental involvement can also contribute to their bottom lines.  This major shift commands deeper integration of business and community activities and a stronger focus on business profits within the philanthropic space.  But, the world is changing as well.  Economic challenges of the last four years, as well as global industrial integration, promise a corporate future that may be very different from the past.  Changing Our World sponsors the Corporate Social Investment Fellowship to better understand this future landscape and help plot a course of action for both corporations and nonprofits to accommodate changes and seize opportunities.

Nick is currently a master’s candidate at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Public Policy and Management, and co-director of a student-led international consulting nonprofit.  Prior to graduate studies, Nick was a research intern for a London-based philanthropy and fundraising consultancy and a junior fellow at the United Nations University.  He was also awarded a fellowship at a social enterprise in Singapore, where he developed a management training program and financial education modules for foreign domestic workers.  Nick is a citizen of France and holds a B.A. in International Development from McGill University in Canada.

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