8 Lessons From The Heart
nonprofit management tips

Although cause marketing partnerships have worked well for many nonprofits and for-profit companies, anyone entering into such a relationship can encounter rough spots, and there are always lessons to be learned. Speaking during the Bridge to Integrated Marketing Conference at National Harbor, Md., Mary McGowan, chief executive officer of WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, shared the lessons her organization learned from a cause marketing arrangement with the clothing retailer Burlington. It was a relationship that worked well for the nonprofit, the company and customers, including women at risk of heart disease.

  • Contract Negotiations: A media relations component, exclusivity and shared cost;
  • Taxes: Being aware of unrelated business income (UBI) and keeping educational components at the forefront of the campaign;
  • Relationships: Remembering that prioritizing development of relationships is key in reoccurrence and campaign longevity;
  • Expenses: They can be high. Being prepared to invest money and keeping in mind this is a collaboration and strategic investment;
  • Lack of an online donation option: Donations must be in person;
  • Weather: Being aware that things like snow and ice conditions present a logistical challenge for in-store events and having a contingency plan in place;
  • Planning: The way that the last couple of weeks before the launch can become hectic and the importance of planning the campaign at least six months in advance; and,
  • Engagement: Send communications to constituents/members leading up to and through the campaign, with actions steps for involvement.