Adopt a Word

Adopt2I came across this on Twitter last week and thought it was just brilliant. The concept is really clever and pretty simple:

The English Language is up for sale. I CAN, the children’s communication charity, supported by Collins, is giving you the chance to exclusively own part of the English language at .

All proceeds go to I CAN and its work to help children who struggle to speak and understand words.

So whether you want to buy ‘gold’ for your girlfriend, ‘pashmina’ for your mum or just a ‘treat’ for yourself, from just £20 the word can be yours to look after for a whole year, to punctuate and place in sentences as you like.

I bought the word vegetarian for my wife for her birthday (and no thats not all I bought her!). You can also buy merchandise like key rings and t-shirts with your adopted word on it and you get an adoption certificate. To date they have raised 33,000 pounds from adopted words.


I just love the link they have made between what they do and their fundraising.  Well Done

Check out the post on SOFII which details the background and objectives of the campaign, thanks to Ken Burnett for highlighting it to me

Make a Wish (irl) Ad

Make a Wish Foundation Ireland have had an ad made for them by Ogilvy and Mather. The agency got (in their own words) world-class Irish & international illustrators, TV production companies, animators, television networks, media owners, printers, ordinary joe-soaps and no less than John Hurt to chip in all their time and services free, gratis and for nothin’. The press, outdoor & TV that resulted is something we should all be very proud of.

The first time I saw the ad I kind of knew it was for Make A Wish, maybe because I know the organisation. John Hurts voice was a great call, its really engaging. But the ad didnt stop me in my tracks, it took 18 seconds before Make A Wish was mentioned and I think the call to action after that was a little vague. I dont want to sound like Im dumping on charity ads here all the time, I just think that when you have an opportunity like this you should make the call to action strong (I say this in criticism of work done by my own organisation too, so Im as critical of what we do too!).

Having said all that Make A Wish is a wonderful organisation that does great work with a small team and very limited resources, I really like them a lot, and hats off to Ogilvy for getting together all the people they did to pull this campaign off, looks like they have secured ad space worth half a million euros already.

Guide to Cause Marketing


Sandra Sims has done a nice piece on Cause Marketing. Its kind of a beginners guide, but she makes some great points that are reminders to us all. Here are some of the highlights, but check out the full article here

While these campaigns can be beneficial, a nonprofit-business partnerships should not be entered into lightly.  They require time, effort and often upfront costs to be successful.   So you can consider whether this may be a right for your nonprofit organization or business, this article offers a basic primer, including some examples and resources for further research.

Cause marketing partnerships must be win-win-win

I often hear from nonprofits who want corporations to “show them the money” and don’t take the time to look at it from the business’s point of view.  There must be financial, PR or some other advantage to the business in order for them to participate in any partnership. There is often a third group that must be considered, consumers, and if this promotion benefits them.

The best cause marketing campaigns benefit all three groups. As Gennefer Snowfield says, cause marketing “must be a) transparent, b) authentic, and c) integrated. The belief is that if a cause marketing initiative upholds these tenets, it will be effective in connecting the consumer, company, and cause in ways that benefit all parties.”

Benefits for nonprofit organizations

The nonprofit should have one primary goal for the campaign though.  Is it short term fundraising, a long term funding partnership, public awareness or something else?  Decide on this goal first and it will inform the rest of your decision making.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) provides a great example of cause marketing through product sales.  This year they partnered with candy brand Mike and Ike for special edition flavors with ALSF branded packaging.  The timing of the product release was intentional: September was Childhood cancer awareness month. 

Next time I was at Walgreen’s I made a point to get my hands on a box.  Will I buy other flavors of this candy in the future?  Quite possibly.  Which leads to  benefits to the business.

Benefits for businesses

As I mentioned earlier, the business must have a reason for entering into this agreement or it will simply not work for them.  After all, companies are in the business of making money, not giving it away.  Just like nonprofits, the business should have a specific goal in mind for the partnership.

Here are some of the potential benefits to businesses for entering into a cause marketing campaign:

  • Sell more of an existing product by giving it a new spin
  • Create new products to generate consumer interest in the brand (improving sales in the process)
  • Retailers may wish to see more foot traffic into their store
  • Public relations, the “halo effect” of being associated with a good cause

Benefits for Consumers

Whether your campaign involves a co-branded product or not, the viewpoint of the consumer must be taken into consideration.  What level of involvement does the public play in this campaign?  Are you asking them to buy something they wouldn’t normally just because it has your logo on it or helps fund your group?  Will the consumer perceive that participating is beneficial to them?

Also consider how easy is will be for people to participate in the campaign.  While programs such as Yoplait yogurt’s pink lids and  have been successful, be careful about requiring additional action on the part of the consumer past the initial purchase. Box Tops for Education is a similarly structured program where proof of purchase must be turned it. 

Motive Matters

It’s important to consider how a cause marketing campaign will be received so you can head-off potential objections from all three of your stakeholder audiences.

Unfortunately some potential criticisms have grown out of legitimate concerns from actual marketing promotions. Especially with the pink for breast cancer type campaigns, there are manufacturers that have jumped on the bandwagon, producing pink themed merchandise.  Wholesalers can sell these items to organizations or individuals who then use them to raise funds or as thank you gifts.  On the other hand there are many items that end up in retail store shelves that provide no financial benefit to any charity at all.

Other times you will see labels on merchandise stating that the brand “supports breast cancer awareness.”  That’s fine, but it’s a rather vague statement isn’t it.  Many consumer will not think twice about it.  Call me cynical, but when I see something like that I wonder, how do they support it?  Are they donating money or simply saying they lend support as a marketing line?

These types of actions have even led to terms such as pinkwashing and greenwashing which refer to gray area or even unethical tactics on the part of corporations. In response, the Think Before You Pink campaign calls for “more transparency and accountability by companies that take part in breast cancer fundraising, and encourages consumers to ask critical questions about pink ribbon promotions.”  I’m sure watchdog organization exist for other causes as well.

Irish National Fundraising Awards – Winners Announced

Now in its 2nd year the Fundraising Awards took place last week and the winners were. The awards had just 70 nominations in 3 main categories and 6 sub categories. Would be great to see more nominations next year.

The winners were

The 2009 Fundraiser of the Year Award for large organisations went to Michael Sheridan of the Mercy University Hospital Foundation.

The Fundraiser of the Year Award for small organisations went to Stuart McLaughlin of Business to Arts,

The Simon Communities of Ireland scooped the Fundraising Campaign of The Year Award (large organisations) for their CRH Simon Safety Challenge campaign, 

The Down Syndrome Centre won Fundraising Campaign of The Year (small organisations) for their Buy My Dress campaign.

The Voluntary Fundraiser of the Year Award for over €100,000 raised went to Margaret Gill for Self Help Africa, and Michael Hilary won in the category Voluntary Fundraiser of the Year (under €100,000 raised) for his work with the Camphill Communities of Ireland.

The full list of nominees is here

CARE USA Chaperoned Emails



This was on SOFII this week (seriously, you need to check that site out!). Anyway this is a great concept.

A chaperoned email is an email that a publisher sends to its own online magazine subscribers, on behalf of a nonprofit. The email may ask for a donation, or ask for another action, such as writing a letter to a politician, or completing a survey. The email itself is usually branded with the nonprofit’s own email design, including logo and photos. This is often accompanied by an endorsement from the editor of the publication at the top.

Did it work:YES

Not only did the chaperoned emails raise $23,206 in unrestricted funds for CARE, they also added 376 new donors at an average donation of $62, with a net profit per donor after expenses of $23

Fred Hollows Foundation wins Gold Star Award

The Fred Hollows Foundation was the winner of the Gold Star Award for non-profit video advertising at this years IFC. I really liked this video, I was engaged by Fred’s story, I understood what Fred had done and I felt like I could be part of his legacy by supporting the foundation and have an impact, the quote from Fred saying that Every Eye is an Eye . I think the way the piece was put together was very moving too.  Well Done

Ian Haworth, RAPP’s Global Creative Director, says: “The winning film showed how a real, human story can evoke such an emotive response.  The awards demonstrate again the power of moving image.  It also highlights the huge opportunity we have to take film into the online space.  We have never before had the platforms we now have to deliver powerful relevant film content to our audiences.  People can be immersed in the content and interact with it.  This is going to be a new golden age of film.”
“This Award not only recognises excellence in fundraising videos but gives NGOs the opportunity to compare and learn from others doing the same thing.” adds Alan Bird, Marketing and Communications Director of the Resource Alliance.

13 Nonprofits Honoured for Outstanding Taglines

GettingAtn“Nothing Stops A Bullet Like A Job” Pulls Top Honors for Homeboy Industries

Maplewood, NJ – Both large and small nonprofits earned top honors this week for their attention-getting taglines, demonstrating again that an organization of any size can craft a powerful, pithy motto to build awareness and connect with its key audiences.
“A high-impact tagline is an essential tool for any nonprofit fighting to deliver its message in a crowded, competitive world,” says Nancy E. Schwartz, president of Nancy Schwartz & Company and publisher at (, a nonprofit marketing and communications resource website that organizes the annual competition.
The 13 winners were selected from 60 finalists drawn from 1,702 nonprofit taglines submitted to the 2009 Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Awards competition. More than 4,800 nonprofit professionals cast votes in the final selection round.
The awards program is designed to encourage nonprofits to effectively use taglines, a high-impact, low-cost marketing tactic often overlooked or under-emphasized by nonprofits, says Schwartz. “A nonprofit’s tagline is hands down the briefest, easiest and most effective way to communicate your organization’s identity,” Schwartz says.
A 2008 survey of nonprofits showed that 7 in 10 nonprofits rated their tagline as poor or didn’t use one at all. Schwartz says the majority of nonprofits not using a tagline indicated that they had not thought about it or couldn’t come up with a good one.
“It’s a huge missed opportunity for nonprofits that don’t implement a tagline,” Schwartz says. “Especially when you consider all the places a tagline appears throughout a nonprofit’s marketing and communications program, and how many people potentially digest an organization’s tagline in any given year.”
Schwartz says that the winning taglines in the 2009 competition demonstrate how powerful taglines can work as a first step in branding or as a highly-effective tool to refresh a nonprofit’s messaging, emphasize its commitment to its work and/or revive tired positioning. Winning taglines will be featured in the forthcoming 2009 Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Report. The report, due out in November will also feature:
·         The 10 Have-Tos for Successful Taglines
·         The 7 Deadly Sins – What not to do
·         Over 2,500 Nonprofit Tagline Examples to put to work for tagline brainstorming.
For your free copy on publication, subscribe today to the free Getting Attention e-update at:


Arts & Culture:  Big Sky. Big Land. Big History. — Montana Historical Society
The Montana Historical Society takes its state’s most elemental and distinctive characteristics (Big Sky, Big Land) and deftly melds them with its mission in a way that generates excitement. The result is a tagline with punch and focus. And a big hit with voters.
Associations:  Building community deep in the hearts of Texans —TexasNonprofits
TexasNonprofits’ tagline tweaks the title of an iconic American popular song from the 1940s and brilliantly connects it to the spirit, passion and mission of the state’s citizenry. A great example of how word play works in a tagline.
Civic Benefit:  Holding Power Accountable — Common Cause
Common Cause’s tagline leaves no doubt about the organization’s mission, unique value and commitment. It’s definitive, with a powerful economy of words. An excellent example of the tagline clarifying the nonprofit’s focus, when the organization’s name alone doesn’t do so.
Education:  A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste® — UNCF -The United Negro College Fund
This 38-year-old tagline from UNCF still rings strong. It elegantly delivers its straight up, powerful message. When your tagline is the boiled-down essence of your argument for support, you’ve achieved tagline bliss. That’s why this one is a classic.
Environment & Animals:  Because the earth needs a good lawyer — Earthjustice
Earthjustice capitalizes on what people do understand – that a lawyer protects rights – and uses that framework to dramatically position its role and impact in the environmental movement. And it does so with humor. If your tagline makes people smile or light up, without stepping on your message, then you’ve made an emotional connection…Bravo.
Grantmaking:  If you want to be remembered, do something memorable. — The Cleveland Foundation
It’s a rare tagline that manages to recruit people to its cause both unabashedly and effectively. That’s exactly what The Cleveland Foundation pulls off here. Clear, concise, and…memorable! A model for any organization promoting philanthropy.
Health & Sciences:  Finding a cure now…so our daughters won’t have to. © — PA Breast Cancer Coalition
The PA Breast Cancer Coalition’s tagline is both emphatic and poignant. It strikes a deep emotional chord, and conveys the focus and impact of its work without being overly sentimental. “Finding a cure,” a highly used phrase for health organizations, is bolstered here by the appeal to solve a problem now so future generations won’t suffer from it.
Human Services:  Filling pantries. Filling lives. — Houston Food Bank
With simple but effective use of word repetition, the Houston Food Bank clarifies its work and impact. It delivers on two distinct levels—the literal act of putting food on people’s shelves and the emotional payoff to donors and volunteers. An excellent example of a mission-driven tagline.
International, Foreign Affairs & National Security:  Send a Net. Save a Life. — Nothing But Nets
Short, punchy and laser-sharp, the Nothing But Nets tagline connects the action with the outcome. It’s inspirational in the simplicity of its message and its reason for existing. The kind of tagline nonprofits should model.
Jobs & Workforce Development:  Nothing Stops A Bullet Like A Job — Homeboy Industries
Homeboy Industries’ tagline is a mini-masterpiece, telling a memorable story in just six words. It stops you in your tracks, makes you want to learn more and sticks with you afterwards. That’s the kind of potent nonprofit messaging every organization desires.
Media:  Telling stories that make a difference — Barefoot Workshops
If your organization’s name is vague, it’s critical that your tagline be distinct. Barefoot Workshops’ tagline sums up the transformative power of stories to create change in people and their communities, so clarifying the organization’s focus. Saved by the tagline!

Religion & Spiritual Development:  Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors. — The people of The United Methodist Church
The work of religious organizations often operates on several planes at once — a challenge for any organization and its messaging. Here, The United Methodist Church delivers a tagline trinity that supports its applied faith mission and is warm, enthusiastic and embracing.
Other:  A head for business. A heart for the world. — SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise)
If an organization’s identity contains within in it a distinct contrast between its key characteristics, that’s often good tagline material. Here, SIFE surprises with its crystal-clear tagline that conveys not only what’s unique about it but also capitalizes on the contrast between profit and compassion.