Thursday, April 06, 2006

Corporate Philanthropy, Sponsorships and Cause Marketing

This morning, I listened to a wonderful podcast from IT Conversations today on Corporate Philanthropy featuring execs from, Timberland and Mcafee.

The history lesson on corporate giving alone is worth the time to listen, but the real gem comes when Steve Wright talks about how approaches partnerships. It strikes me that corporate partnerships with non-profits is a very bi-directional thing -both sides need to be very clear and honest about what they are looking for in a relationhship, and to help each other achieve their explicit goals.

Far too often I've been in meetings with corporations who do not care at all about the non-profit's goals - while the non-profit feels the same way about the partner. That's not a partnership - it's a waste of time.

From the non-profit perspective, I've felt at times that the non-profit get up on a high horse about how corporate partners care too much about profits and sales. While there are limits (like for example, doing a cause promotion with Coors or a tobacco company), and there are gray areas (like a health charity doing a cause promotion with Taco Bell or Oreo cookies), the thing to strive for is synergy. I have no problem helping company x sell more widgets, if in return they are helping to raise more money for us to cure problem y.

There is another terrific podcast from IT conversation with Darrell Hammond from Kaboom that touches on many of these points and more.

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