Charitable Marketing: Which Charities Make Good Partners?

Charitable Marketing: Which Charities Make Good Partners?

Most businesses, both large and small, want to generate the most profit possible. But in order to gain, sometimes you have to give. Partnering with a charity or non-profit organization is a smart marketing strategy to grow your business. Even if your marketing campaign involves donating a portion of sales to the partner charity, your business will surely benefit.

Charitable marketing not only builds goodwill for your business and establishes positive associations for your brand, it’s also a great way to gain exposure for your business. By leveraging the audience and trading on the recognition of the charity, you’ll broaden your reach. You’ll also increase traffic to your website and place of business as your promote the charitable activities on social media, and through email marketing and press releases.

When people know certain businesses share their values and support a cause that means something to them, they will often choose to support those companies. According to the 2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study, 89% of U.S. consumers are likely to switch brands to one associated with a cause, given comparable price and quality.

Some people will even pay more for products and services that support a cause they care about. According to the Nielsen 2013 Consumers Who Care Study, 50% of global consumers said they would be willing to reward companies that give back to society by paying more for their goods and services (44% in the U.S. and 38% in Canada).

Lifestyle brand Alex and Ani has established a great charitable campaign, Charity By Design, to sell charm bangles supporting different causes. They work with non-profit organizations on an international, national, and local level to support causes by building brand awareness. Charity By Design supports philanthropy in many ways, from donations and in-store events to the creation of symbolic, creative designs. On their website you can either shop by charity or bracelet. Twenty percent of each charm bangle’s purchase price goes directly to whatever charity it’s associated with.

After four years of giving back through Charity By Design, Alex and Ani has donated 20 million dollars to the thousands of charities. The considerable amount of money they’ve been able to raise proves just how much people care about giving to the charities they care about.

Now that we’ve encouraged you to partner with a charity that supports a meaningful cause, how do you know which one would make good partner? From a business standpoint, here are five qualities good partner charities possess:

1. THEY ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS AND VICE VERSA

Similar to a marriage or friendship, if your business and your partner charity don’t value each other’s work, then the relationship just isn’t right. It’s important that your business supports the charity’s mission, and also that the charity cares about your product/services and employees.

Our client Purr’n Pooch Pet Resorts and the non-profit United States War Dogs Association have an outstanding partnership because they both value each other’s work tremendously. Purr’n Pooch chose to partner with this organization because they support their mission to educate the public on the history of military war dogs, honor the memory of those who sacrificed their lives, and assist the military dogs and handlers in need today. The United States War Dogs Association appreciates all the work the business does through the Purr’n Pooch Foundation for Animals.

Throughout the holiday season, Purr’n Pooch Pet Resorts collects donations for U.S. Military Working Dog Teams who have been deployed to the Middle East. They also host a volunteer day to write letters to the military dog handlers overseas and prepare packages for shipment. Former and current U.S. military dog handlers join them for the day to give presentations and assist the volunteers. The event is covered by many media and attracts all ages from around New Jersey, bringing attention to both Purr’n Pooch and the United States War Dogs Association.

2. THEY ARE FINANCIALLY STABLE

Trust is key with any kind of partnership. With a partner charity, you want to be able to trust that it is financially stable, meaning that it is able to stay out of debt and fund its current programs. You also want to make sure the organization isn’t hoarding money. A charity that hoards rather than spends the donations it receives is not operating in line with the goals of most donors.

Rather than just taking their word for it, refer to the charity’s IRS tax Form 990 to see financial statements. If you aren’t comfortable reviewing financial statements, there is an alternative way to find out if a charity is in financial trouble. Check the “Independent Auditor’s Report” (IAR) to see if the charity has a “Going Concern” audit. If so, this means the outside accountants who audited the charity believe the organization may not be able to continue its operations for more than one year due to the charity’s debts and other factors.

3. THEY ARE INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY

When your partner charity is involved with the local community or multiple communities, your business will be able to directly reach those community members, broadening your exposure.

inBLOOM works with the non-profit EarthShare New Jersey (ESNJ), which is greatly involved with communities and environmental causes throughout New Jersey. ESNJ supports the work of both statewide and national non-profit organizations as well, and many businesses partner with the charity because they appreciate the organization’s community involvement.

4. THEY HAVE A STRONG ONLINE PRESENCE

A strong online presence will allow you and your partner charity organization to both further broadcast your relationship. Check to see if they maintain a well-designed website, blog and social media accounts.

Just like with a business, having a good website is extremely important for any non-profit or charitable organization. The organization’s website should be informational, updated frequently and include a portal for online giving that is supported on mobile devices. The organization should also be blogging often.

Social networks provide a central place for charitable organizations to connect with donors and the media. Frequently posting, conversing, maintaining relationships and building new ones on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+ are all signs that the organization values lasting connections.

5. THEY ARE MEDIA SAVVY

It’s a great sign if you see a lot of news about an organization in newspapers, magazines on the radio and TV because it means they have a good relationship with the media. There are many things a charity might like to inform the media about, including major donations, new projects, and partnerships.

Keeping the media up-to-date with what’s going on is essential to the charity because it can help promote its work, which in turn brings in donations and ultimately allows the charity to continue its mission. Your business will also benefit if the news is about your partnership and goodwill.

If you need advice on whether or not a certain charity would make a good partner for your business, or you need guidance on how to go about searching for a partner charity, feel free to comment on this post or contact us. We’d be glad to help set you on the right track.

Resources:

Don’t Judge a Not-For-Profit by Its Profits, Charity Watch

Statistics Every Cause Marketer Should Know, Cause Marketing Forum

photo by gfpeck

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TEDx Inspires 3 Lessons in Self-Promotion 

TEDx Inspires 3 Lessons in Self-Promotion

Looking to jump-start your career? Attend or organize a TEDx event in your community.

Started 26 years ago as a conference in California, TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It has grown to support world-changing ideas with many initiatives. At a TED conference, the world’s leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less. Three major TED events are held each year: in Los Angeles, California; in Vancouver and Whistler, Canada; and in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Today, TED’s TEDx initiative grants free licenses to people around the world to organize TED-style events in their communities. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual events are self-organized. At these events, live speakers combined with TEDTalks video spark deep discussion and connection.

Since 2013, community members from across Monmouth County, N.J. have come together to organize the TEDxNavesink conference. Each year, a different theme is chosen to build the day of non-fiction theater. In 2015, speakers and attendees will explore how accelerators are shaping our emerging and upcoming future. TEDxNavesink: Accelerators will be held on Saturday, April 11, 2015, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J.

For the past three years, inBLOOM has assisted TEDxNavesink with its public relations and co-marketing efforts. We love everything involved with promoting a TEDx event – the passionate conversations on and offline, meeting new and exciting entrepreneurs, sharing talk topics with media, and co-marketing with local organizations and thought leaders. Most importantly, it’s an energized event that motivates entrepreneurs and innovators of all ages to jump start their careers.

Here are inBLOOM’s three TEDx inspired lessons in self-promotion to inspire you to attend the conference of ideas worth spreading:

1. LEVERAGE A BUILT-IN SOCIAL NETWORK

TEDx presents a wonderful opportunity to leverage the social networks of others in order to bring awareness to your personal brand. Take a look through the speakers list and do some digging to see which people are social influencers and part of large networks. Get on Twitter and follow the speakers. Tweet before and during the event, mention speakers and use hashtags to initiate conversation with a broader audience.

Read our tips for tweeting.

2. GIVE THE TALK OF YOUR LIFE

Something you must know before getting involved with a TEDx event is that it’s not a typical conference. It’s a known fact that every speaker giving a TED Talk gives the talk of their life, which is why the audience always has high expectations. Not everyone can captivate an audience; it’s a skill that takes time to develop. However, there are ways to instantly improve your speaking and presentation skills, which you will learn by watching the TEDx Talks.

TED and TEDx speakers make a good impression through body language –something extremely important during any presentation. The way you stand, move on the stage and interact with the audience are all factors that determine whether or not you will give a successful talk.  Even your level of mental alertness and preparedness are key to keeping the audience’s interest.

Not only are TED speakers in tune with their body language, they also wear their heart on their sleeve. There’s no need to worry about listening to an emotionless monotone voice – the speakers let their emotions show. By doing this, they create a meaningful and lasting connection with the audience.

3. MAINTAIN AND STRENGTHEN RELATIONSHIPS 

One of the most rewarding things you get out of participating in a TEDx event are the connections you make with everyone involved: organizers, volunteers, speakers, and sponsors. Make time to establish relationships by conversing and connecting both on and offline.

Many of the people involved in TEDx events consistently blog, host podcasts, and communicate on social media. Stay in touch on social channels and comment and share their content regularly. This is an excellent way to stay top-of-mind and can open doors for potential work and collaborations. Most importantly, meet up every few months for coffee and conversation. These in-person meetings hold much value in a hurried, digital world.

 TEDx Inspires 3 Lessons in Self-Promotion

Make sure to reserve your spot at 2015 TEDxNavesink: Accelerators. Learn more about TEDxNavesink and purchase tickets here.

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5 Ways to be #unselfie on #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday and the True Holiday Spirit

Among the holiday rush to shop and celebrate is an observance that rings in the month of December with a big heart and a special opportunity to get into the true spirit of giving. #GivingTuesday will be held on December 2 and has become a tradition among millions of people from charities, businesses and schools around the globe. On this day, donors come together to celebrate generosity and to give via the #GivingTuesday conversation.

Last year on #GivingTuesday, online donations increased 90% for 3,800 nonprofits–more than $19.2 million–compared to 2012, according to Blackbaud, a nonprofit technology provider. In 2013 there were 320,000 tweets using #GiftGiving and that number is sure to double with all the new interest and activity. Bill and Melinda Gates, The United Nations Foundation, PayPal, Facebook and LinkedIn are just a few participating partners.

But you don’t need to be an entrepreneur, international peacekeeper or startup to participate on #GivingTuesday. All you need is the creativity, motivation and ability to take to the social networks to raise awareness.

Although only a week away, there is still time to get involved and inspire others to give to your charity of choice. Let’s review five steps to get started:

1. Choose a nonprofit organization that is meaningful to you. 

During the holidays, many nonprofits are in desperate need of volunteer hours as well as in-kind and cash donations. You could inspire others to give non-perishable goods to a food pantry or pet shelter, contribute to a coat drive, or fund the building of a school overseas with one tweet or post.

You can also use sites like Charity Navigator and GuideStar to measure the effectiveness and financial stability of your chosen organization.

When getting the word out on social media, keep your post short and sweet for the best chances of engagement. Use the hashtag #GivingTuesday, #unselfie, include a link to your charity, and add your own personal message.

Here’s what Melinda Gates is sharing on Facebook:

#GivingTuesday and the True Holiday Spirit

2. Get giving with CrowdRise.

An exciting addition to #GivingTuesday is the crowdsourcing site CrowdRise. The company has created an App called the Giving Tower, which will help individuals setup a fundraising page and choose a charity to fundraise for the day. Each brick on the Giving Tower represents a donation to a great cause. It looks like it’s going to be a fun mobile tool to use on #GivingTuesday! According to CrowdRise, the Giving Tower App allows you to see the world’s charitable efforts grow in real time in the form of a tower made in augmented reality. They want you to think of it as a really cool hologram.

#GivingTuesday and the True Holiday Spirit

3. Match those gifts.

If you’re a business owner or an employee your company may want in on the giving action as well. Inquire about matching your donations on #GivingTuesday. They could match your time donated to helping a charity that day by giving you time off or they may even double your dollars.

4. Inspire others with your story.

Consider writing an op-ed piece for your local paper about your cause and experience on #GivingTuesday. You could also submit your story as a guest blogger. By keeping the story going, you may extend the giving beyond just the one-day experience and may even recruit givers for December 2, 2015.

5. Amplify your reach. Share your cause-related or company news with #GivingTuesday.

It seems they really want to hear from their partners around the globe and encourage you to use their branded materials. They offer many tools and resources on their website to get you started including videos, graphics, volunteer forms and case studies. In fact, people donate 38% more on branded donation pages than compared to generic ones.

On Facebook, GivingTuesday asks,What are you plans for the big day? Twitter Chat? GoogleHangout? Giving Party? Share your #GivingTuesday plans with us and we will promote and participate. Email us at Givingtuesday@gmail.com with the subject “Plans”.” You can also attend their upcoming free events to help you plan and promote your giving campaigns.

#GivingTuesday Inspired by a Special Friend

#GivingTuesday and the True Holiday Spirit

This #GivingTuesday inBLOOM is raising a paw and donations for the Grey Muzzle Organization and their efforts to give homeless senior dogs the love and dignity they deserve in their final days. The choice was inspired by the passing of Little Girl, a sweet senior pup who lived with my family for two very special years. Here’s a bit about her that I shared with friends when she died in September at the golden age of maybe 16:

#GivingTuesday and the True Holiday Spirit

♥ Little Girl 

We picked up Little Girl in Brooklyn after seeing her on an Urgent Death Row Dogs post on Facebook in Sept. 2012. She left her big, beautiful world this evening. We learned so much from her and enjoyed getting to know her. She was a little fighter. I nicknamed her Lazarus because she always rose up no matter how creaky her bones. No animal should ever leave this world feeling afraid and unloved. Consider adopting a senior. They give back so much even if for only a few years. We now have an eternity of love thanks to our Little Girl.

All of us at inBLOOM hope you’ll consider making a donation to honor Little Girl or a senior pup in your life by supporting the inspirational work of the Grey Muzzle Organization.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @inbloombuzz, Instagram @inBLOOMlife and inBLOOM Communications on Facebook to help share our message of support for homeless senior pups on #GivingTuesday. We’ll share back!

Learn more about the Grey Muzzle Organization here.

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Tips & Tools for Using Constant Contact to Promote Your Events

Tips & Tools for Using Constant Contact to Promote Your Event

Open for business and eager to get a crowd through your doors? You may use social media, email and your website to get the word out but there is now a tool that can combine all of your efforts.

Constant Contact’s new Toolkit can help you maintain sanity in this fast-paced world of online marketing. The product organizes your email contacts, registers guests for events, runs offers and promotions, surveys your customers, and shares your updates on social media. It does all this in one simple dashboard that you can easily access from your phone, tablet or computer.

Whether you’re hosting an open house, product launch, seminar, workshop, class, conference, fundraiser, or networking event, the Constant Contact Toolkit is a great tool for both event promotion and registration. You can send a save-the-date, create an event announcement email that includes online registration and a questionnaire, analyze data, and so much more.

Here are inBLOOM’s ten tips and tools for using the Constant Contact Toolkit for events and registration:

1. Event announcements commit people early. 

Before you send out an email with online registration, you can send an event announcement / save-the-date  to let people know the who, what, where and when so they can plan on attending. Constant Contact offers several templates to choose from, so based on the type of event you’re holding you might want to choose one over the other.  Sending an event announcement to your contacts is the most important way to promote your event, along with social media promotions, print and online event calendars and advertisements.

2. Online registration is convenient for you and your guests.

Through Constant Contact’s online registration, all responses are organized automatically, so you don’t need to manually keep track of the attendees. What’s great about the online registration is that it’s available 24/7 so if someone decides they want to register at midnight, they can do so. And it also means that you can log in and manage the event at any time. All the information you need is collected in one central location so you can stay organized, which is key to planning any successful event.

3. Build event buzz among friends by social proofing.

With the online registration tool, registrants have the option to share and inform other registrants that they’re attending. Allowing people to see who else is attending will increase the likelihood they will attend as well. There is also an option to allow the registrants to share the event on their social networks. This is a convenient way for them to spread the word. All of this creates social proofing – the perfect way to build buzz for an event!

4. Avoid embarrassing situations by limiting the number of registrants.

Have you ever held an event and too many people attended? When this happens, it can be exciting because you know you’re event is a hit, but at the same time it can create problems. Situations like this occur for a few reasons. For example, your venue may have capacity constraints; a workshop instructor may only be able teach a certain amount of people; and your budget may only allow for catering for a certain head count. With the online registration tool, you can close an event automatically after the set maximum amount of people have registered. The number will even include both registrants and their guests (if guests are allowed). Or, if you have a deadline registration date, you have the option to close on that date.

5. Charge people to attend your event for better results. 

Believe it or not, the cost of your event actually has little influence on your audience’s decision to attend your event. In a study of over 200,000 event declines, Constant Contact set out to find the reasons why the invitees didn’t attend. For 50% it was a date/time conflict, 29% it was some other reason, 10% it was the location, and for just 0.01% it was the cost. What this shows is that you shouldn’t be afraid to charge for your event. Those who pay in advance are less likely to be no shows come the day of the event, so it’s better to collect payment ahead of time. With the Constant Contact Toolkit you can give your registrants the option to pay when they register online. Payment methods include credit card and PayPal. You can also offer a discount code.

6. Connect your social network with an event hashtag.

When creating your event campaign, you can create a hashtag which will help you connect live tweets to the event. Registrants will see the hashtag in their confirmation email and if they tweet about the event, they can include the hashtag. When you tweet the event from within Constant Contact, the hashtag will auto-populate in the box. Don’t forget to use the hashtag on Instagram as well to build the buzz with fun pics that excite people about the event.

7. Track event interest with Google Analytics. 

When you link Google Analytics to your event campaign, you can see where the traffic to your event landing page is coming from, learn if and where prospects are falling out of your registration process, and collect geographical data on where your registrants are coming from. Simply input your Google Analytics Web Property ID and it will track all registration pages.

8. Brand your event with a custom registration form.

When you customize the registration form, you can edit the logo and design, and select the information you want to collect from your registrants. You can even decide what’s required for them to answer.  You can create badges within Constant Contact, so if you’ve decided you’re going to do that you can ask them to fill out the badge information, too. Want to know more about your registrants other than personal and business information? You can create custom questions that are either required or not required to answer.

9. Send a post-event thank you and survey. 

After the event is over, it’s important to send out a thank you email to those who attended. In Constant Contact, you can include a survey to get feedback on key insights such as the event venue, timing, food, entertainment, interests and demographics. You can also include a newsletter sign-up so those who aren’t already subscribed have the chance to do so.

10. Review event statistics and data. 

Now that your event is over and everyone is raving about what a success it was, you can analyze reports through the Constant Contact event management tool. You can identify shows and no-shows, review revenue or funds raised, and segment follow-up lists based on registration questions, activities participated in or behaviors. If you created an event hashtag, you can check out the social media activity that’s been tracked, and you’ll see the amount of tweets over time and at what time they were tweeted. Maybe a certain speaker stole the show or a specific moment had people excited. You’ll be able to identify the most popular portions of the event and see who your top participants were so you can start following and interacting with them on social media.

As a Constant Contact Solution Provider, inBLOOM is offering a 60 day trial so you’ll be able to get  hands-on experience using Toolkit to develop an event and registration campaign. Register for the Toolkit here.

You’re going to love it! Let us know what you think and leave a comment on this post.

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What’s Your (Business) Story? Enter Our Services Giveaway Contest

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I’m a writer, so I have a love for a good story that goes deep down to my toes. I’ve spent my life crafting and reading stories with a hunger that can’t be satiated. Because a great story makes you crave the next line. It gives you a taste for words and images, a carnal urge to let them coat your tongue like the tannins of a good, strong red wine. When the last drop is drunk, you still want more.

I’ll take a story from anywhere, the news, a novel, a children’s book, The Onion, but my favorites are the true ones, the ones with an actual person firmly rooted in the engagement of life. Give me a lede about a human, mid struggle or triumph, and I’ll click all the way through to the kicker line.

You might be surprised to know then, that I love writing about businesses. Not “business” but actual living, breathing companies, embodied by passionate people, whose goal is to create and serve, and make a boatload of money in the process.

I bet the same is true for you. How much more attractive is Apple to you because of Steve Jobs? Not just because he was a visionary, but because he saw success and failure, gain and loss, suffering and joy. Watching it all, buying his products or not, we became invested in him and his brand. (And this from me the Android lover.)

Every company’s got a story to tell – from the entrepreneur working in her bedroom or the fledgling team in their workshop, to the $2 million company or the Fortune 500 firm. And the best stories, the ones that make investors, customers and competitors lean forward and furrow their brows in concentration, are the ones about the people behind business. How did they build it? Why? How did they break through those barriers? How are they going to change the landscape of the industry? How is their product going to change my life?

It’s what we all want, to read about people, like us, struggling and succeeding to build something. It’s the reason we take a whole day for a TEDxNavesink conference and why we watch and share TED videos late at night, long after we should have put our devices down.

That’s why we – Shannon the writer and Jennifer, the publicist – have launched an exclusive contest for TEDxNavesink attendees, because want to hear from you, the visionaries, the early adopters, the entrepreneurs, the game changers. Give us the narrative seed of this, this thing, that has taken over and become your life and your love. If yours is the one to resonate most with us, we’ll help you craft and deliver it to the people you need most: your customers and investors.

We love the opening line of a good story and we can’t wait to help you tell the rest.

So tell us, what’s your story?

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2014 Marketing Tip: Invest Time Posting on Event Calendars

2014 Marketing Tip: Invest Time Posting on Event Calendars

It could take several weeks or even months for your organization to plan an event: the date, the location and even possibly hiring a caterer. But some people forget the most important part about planning an event – informing the public about it. It’s essential that your company or organization posts upcoming events on print and online calendars.

Where can you post your event? New Jersey and New York City have a variety of different calendars to post your event on by topic. Some categories include kids, art, family, music, etc. Here are examples of calendars in these categories. For some, you’ll be required to create a profile, often at no cost, to add events.

Kids

Hulafrog

NJ Kids on the Go

Calendar for Kids

Kids Guide

Macaroni Kid

Art

NYC.com

North Jersey.com

NJ.com

Discover Jersey Arts

Family

Parent Guide News

New Jersey Family

American Towns

New York Times – Email event info to: njtowns@nytimes.com

Music

94.3 The Point

Time Out NY – Email your event info to: musiclistings@timeoutny.com

The Village Voice

Magic 100.1

How do you make your event stand out? Creating appealing graphics, well-written press releases and blogs will convince more people to come to your event. Make sure to use graphics that relate to the type of event or your company’s logo to familiarize the public with who you are. A popular tool that most event calendars require when posting your event is tagging specific words relating to your event. For instance, if your organization is holding a fundraiser for a children’s hospital, use words like children, benefit, fundraiser, food or whatever else will be at the event. Therefore, the public can search the type of event they’re looking for by plugging in specific words.

Lastly, most event calendars have deadlines for events to be posted. Some calendars, like NJ.com, require you to send them the information for your event three weeks prior so the event can be posted not only online but also in their newspaper. Meeting deadlines assures you that your event will get out to the public in time and guarantee their will be a high number in attendance. In 2014, make a New Year’s Resolution to tell the public to save-the-date for your events.

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