1) Be Sincere. Don’t partner with a nonprofit or promote an important cause for the sole purpose of increasing sales. We all know that’s one of the goals, but your audience isn’t dumb and dumber. They’ll see right through you and your campaign.
2) Be Creative. Tying PR and Social Media programs with charitable giving/non-profit organizations, or causes go a long way with the public’s consciousness e.g. The Pepsi Refresh Project and Tide’s Loads of Hope.
3) Find The Right Partner. If it’s a massive humanitarian effort like raising funds for Haiti, it wouldn’t matter whether your company or brand have ties to Haiti or not. Even the gaming industry donated to Haiti. I wouldn’t be surprised if the porn industry had done the same. But if you represent say Anheuser-Busch, it would be inappropriate and outright insensitive, to raise funds for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
4) Check The Calendar. Find the right day, week or month to launch or wrap up a campaign. For example, a client, Rudy’s Bar-B-Q rolled out a cause-related PR and social media campaign last week that culminated on March 2nd, Texas Independence Day (Yes, Texas is its own country), where the chain offered up 32 cent quarter pound briskets on 3/2. All 32 cents payments plus 50 cents for every new Twitter follower and Facebook fan went to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. Texans made the connection and the campaign worked (saying this with the utmost humility). Nothing’s more challenging than to convince the media that your cause-related campaign is newsworthy especially when there is no significant amounts of donations involved and if you’re working on a tiny PR budget.
5) The Celebrity Factor. If you have the budget that Procter & Gamble spent on its Pampers-UNICEF One Pack = One Vaccine global initiative, than approach a celebrity that will help build awareness for your cause and your brand. Similar to point no.3 above, find the right celebrity spokesperson. But most of us probably don’t have P&G’s budget, so the next best thing is to identify a cause or nonprofit that a celebrity you’d love to partner with supports. Your brand/company might just get a free endorsement from him/her and you can always highlight the fact to reporters that said celebrity also supports your cause. Please note I’m not advocating the use of celebrities and public figures as endorsers without their consent like PETA’s use of First Lady Michelle Obama’s photo on a poster.
6) Follow-Through. Once the campaign is over, make sure funds raised are handed to the nonprofit or partner within a reasonable time frame. Reasonable is subjective, but if it takes more than a month to calculate how much you’ve raised and another month to deliver the check, it might be time to find a new accountant.
I stopped at six because it is my favorite number and I’m hoping to get 7 through 100 from you.