Be a Charity Champion

Of all the events and campaigns that I’ve used over the years, the most fulfilling and rewarding have been charity events. In my opinion, one of the absolute best ways to build goodwill with your clients and customers is to support charities and causes you are passionate about.

Cause-related marketing has evolved from a short-term tactic used to spike sales into a powerful positioning discipline used to build brand equity and elevate corporate perception. It’s not only good for the community; it’s good for business.

The Results Are In

There have been numerous research studies over the years that prove consumers want to know about the impact your company makes in their community and in the world. The more you communicate what you are doing to make a difference, the more loyalty you win with your clients and customers.

Just take a look at what research companies have learned after surveying Americans nationwide:

  • 83% of U.S. consumers want more of the products and services they use to benefit causes (2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study).
  • 80% said they’d be “likely to switch brands, about equal in price and quality, to one that supports a cause” (2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study).
  • 93% of consumers want to know what companies are doing to make the world a better place (2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Study).
  • 66% of people believe it’s no longer enough for corporations to merely give money away, but that they must integrate good causes into their day-to-day business (2009 Edelman good purpose Consumer Study).
  • 90% of consumers want companies to tell them the ways they are supporting causes (2010 Cone Cause Evolution

The Ultimate Wishman

One of the favorite people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting was Frank Shankwitz, co-founder of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Changing lives and granting wishes is what Frank dedicated his life to. If you haven’t seen the movie Wishman about Frank’s life, you owe it to yourself to watch this heartwarming film. You’ll be glad you did.

While serving as an Arizona Highway Patrol officer, Frank had the honor of granting a wish for a 7-year-old boy battling leukemia. Turned out this boy had a dream of being a Highway Patrol Motorcycle Officer like his heroes, Ponch and John, from the television show, “CHiPs”. After hearing of Chris’ desire, Frank and a few of his fellow officers sprang into action and made Chris’ dream come true. They had a uniform custom-crafted for Chris and gave him an old police badge and a “Smokey Bear” hat so he
would feel like a real cop. Frank even set up a special course so Chris could drive a battery-powered motorcycle and qualify for the officer’s wings he so deeply desired. A few short days later, Chris’s body gave up the fight, and on May 3, 1980, he passed away.

This event led Frank to found Make-A-Wish to grant wishes for other sick children. Not long ago, I asked Frank what helped the charity become the global force for the good that it is today. Frank’s answer was simple and powerful, “Disneyland.” Turns out the first official wish the start-up charity granted was taking 7-year-old Frank ‘Bopsy’ Salazar to Disneyland.

This powerful partnership created massive visibility for both organizations and inspired millions of people to donate and do more for others in need. What started as a simple way to help a dying boy fulfill his wish, has led to over 450,000 children having their dreams fulfilled.

Over the years, Disney has invested millions of dollars promoting the impact they have made by granting wishes for Make-A-Wish kids. Every time a mom watches a commercial or story of a dying child’s wish being fulfilled at Disneyland, it boosts loyalty and wins Disney another fan of the brand.

Starting Small Makes a Big Difference

The good news is that you don’t have to create your own charity to tap into the power of cause-related marketing. You can simply raise awareness, funds, and support for great causes and charities already doing good work.

Everyone loves to have fun. That’s why client appreciation events are a great way to recognize and reward your best clients and referral partners.