Or, I guess I should really call this posting “The little gray area between cause marketing and philanthropy.”
Cause marketing, basically, refers to a mutually beneficial relationship between a for-profit business and a non-profit organization. The term more broadly encompasses any marketing endeavors involving charitable causes. Philanthropy, on the other hand, simply involves a corporate donation to a non-profit charitable organization (usually tax deductible).
I mention this because in my mind Outskirts Press has always been a philanthropic organization that is also involved in cause marketing. I’m not sure I agree that the two terms are mutually exclusive, or perhaps, if they are, that simply demonstrates a lack of effort by the P.R. department of the philanthropic organization.
For example, you can donate thousands of dollars in books to the Children’s hospital — as Outskirts Press has done in the past through its involvement with the Children’s Literacy and Education Foundation — and that can be both a philanthropic act (a pure corporate donation), and can also fall within the definition of “cause marketing” once you mention the donation on a blog or among your social networks, since ostensibly, your company is marketing the good will among your clients or customers that results from charitable donations.
In our case we would typically write and distribute a press release about the donation. And we would take (and subsequently circulate across our social networks) a photograph of the red wheelbarrow full of books in front of the Children’s Hospital logo.
You see, philanthropy AND cause marketing. I have other examples I’ll discuss next, including our donations to the Colorado Humanities, and our upcoming Facebook Anthology – the royalties for which go to a charitable organization.