So you’ve decided that Worthy Cause Marketing is the approach needed to take your agency to the next level in generating more recommendations, closing more sales, enjoying greater customer retention, spending less time and money, and building long-term, trusting relationships in your community.
First and foremost, you need to identify which causes you will support.
There are two basic categories from which you can draw: local nonprofit organizations and local people experiencing unusually difficult times. Let’s first take a look at local nonprofits.
Every community has a plethora of local charities serving different segments of the population who are in need of help: people who are homeless, hungry, disabled, abused, elderly, and so much more. There will also be cultural and arts programs, educational initiatives for adults and children, veterans groups, animal shelters, children’s advocates – the list is virtually endless. Additionally, many organizations offer various worthwhile programs. So you can fundraise for the group in general, or for a specific program you’d like to promote within that organization.
Small local nonprofits have a pretty rough time of it. Their operating budgets are usually nil, and spreading the word about the good that they do, and want to do, in the community so that they can get their share of donation dollars and volunteer hours can be a real challenge. But these grassroots organizations which are created by caring people desperately trying to fulfill a need in the community are the real deal, and they deserve support. You can be their hero and give them much-needed exposure.
So put on your networking hat. Ask your staff. Put the word out among your customers. Talk with your friends, family, church members. Consult your trusted business partners. Chat with people in line at the grocery store. Many people have local charities they support, whether through volunteering or with donations. Let everyone know that you are embarking on a journey to better your community by helping those in need, and get that networking engine working for you.
Of course, that’s also an awesome PR move – by putting the word out, you’re showing that you are not just another insurance agency. You truly care about doing good in the community and are out to change the world. Your reputation is already beginning to grow, just by taking that first step.
Pretty cool, right?
If you need to locate a worthy cause quickly, of course a little research on the internet never hurts. But the smallest groups, which may be most in need of help, may not have an online presence. So word-of-mouth is probably your best move all around.
Now for the second category: people going through unusually difficult times. Again, your networking engine will be critical here. Our clients have supported children battling illnesses, families with multiple members fighting cancer, people who have had their homes and/or livelihoods destroyed by natural disasters, elderly people struggling to hold onto their homes, families who have suddenly lost their breadwinner. The unfortunate reality is that there are an endless number of people quietly fighting the good fight each and every day who would be grateful for a helping hand.
Be their superhero. After all, today it’s their crisis – tomorrow it could be one of your own. Neighbors helping neighbors not only sends a powerful message, but encourages people to ‘pay it forward’. Isn’t that the type of community in which we all wish to live? In which we want to raise our children?
Your agency can be instrumental in making that happen.
A word to the wise: once you’ve identified a local nonprofit, family or person in need to support with a Community Cause campaign, be sure to vet them. You don’t want to end up giving your agency’s public support to a group or individual of questionable motives or ethics. Do a little homework and make sure they truly are worthy. Put your valuable contacts to work again and ask around. If you’re just not sure, it may be best to move along and find someone you’re convinced is a good choice.
We recommend selecting a new worthy cause every two months. It keeps the campaigns fresh and interest high among your staff, customers and the community. The bottom line is that every year your agency has the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives and futures of six local groups, families or individuals.
And how much has it cost you?
What have you gained?
Oh, so very much. Along the way, you’ll make new friends, engage your staff, garner countless recommendations, close new sales, develop vital business partners and begin to be seen as a trusted advisor in your community; as a business with a heart.
And you’ll develop a reputation as an agency that is working to change your world, one cause at a time.
Next up: Creating a Campaign