Nonprofit Nation with Julia Campbell

The Future of Cause Marketing with Joe Waters

May 18, 2022 Julia Campbell Season 1 Episode 37
Nonprofit Nation with Julia Campbell
The Future of Cause Marketing with Joe Waters
Show Notes Transcript

Celebrate! 🎉🎉 My live nonprofit training course, Storytelling That Sticks, is open for enrollment! Class starts May 30th - and I'll only run this ONCE this year - so get in now! Learn more and register: www.StorytellingThatSticks.com

Cause marketing, as defined by cause marketing expert Joe Waters, is a partnership between a nonprofit and a for-profit for mutual profit. Joe is my guest this week, and he sheds light on the many definitions and facets of cause marketing as well as specific ways that nonprofits can build their cause marketing program and create partnerships that prospects can’t wait to get involved in.

Joe helps nonprofits and businesses build win-win partnerships that raise money and change the world. He’s been writing his popular partnership blog, Selfish Giving, since 2005. He’s also written two books, one on cause marketing, the other on corporate partnerships.

Joe's email newsletter is a must-read for the sector, and you can sign up here: https://www.selfishgiving.com/  

Here are some of the topics we discussed:

  • How to identify cause marketing opportunities and capitalize on them 
  • What are the many ways nonprofits can raise money with corporate partnerships
  • What corporate sponsors really want (and how to convey that to them)
  • How cause marketing has changed due to generational shifts

Connect with Joe:
https://twitter.com/joewaters
https://www.selfishgiving.com/

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About Julia Campbell, the host of the Nonprofit Nation podcast:

Named as a top thought leader by Forbes and BizTech Magazine, Julia Campbell (she/hers) is an author, coach, and speaker on a mission to make the digital world a better place.

She wrote her book, Storytelling in the Digital Age: A Guide for Nonprofits, as a roadmap for social change agents who want to build movements using engaging digital storytelling techniques. Her second book, How to Build and Mobilize a Social Media Community for Your Nonprofit, was published in 2020 as a call-to-arms for mission-driven organizations to use the power of social media to build movements. Julia’s online courses, webinars, and talks have helped hundreds of nonprofits make the shift to digital thinking and raise more money online.

Connect with Julia on other platforms:
Instagram: www.instagram.com/juliacampbell77
Twitter: www.twitter.com/juliacsocial
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/juliacampbell
Blog: www.jcsocialmarketing.com/blog

Take Julia’s free nonprofit masterclass, ​3 Must-Have Elements of Social Media Content that Converts

Julia Campbell:

Hello, and welcome to nonprofit Nation. I'm your host, Julia Campbell. And I'm going to sit down with nonprofit industry experts, fundraisers, marketers, and everyone in between to get real and discuss what it takes to build that movement that you've been dreaming of. I created the nonprofit nation podcast to share practical wisdom and strategies to help you confidently Find Your Voice. Definitively grow your audience and effectively build your movement. If you're a nonprofit newbie, or an experienced professional, who's looking to get more visibility, reach more people and create even more impact than you're in the right place. Let's get started. Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining me again for another episode of nonprofit nation. thrilled to have you here. I'm your host, Julia Campbell. And I have a fellow Bostonian here with me today, Joe WADA's I can't say I don't have a Boston accent but you'll hear his accent. People always ask me when I do speaking engagements. Why don't I have a Boston accent? I feel like I disappoint people. But Joe is definitely not going to disappoint you today.

Joe Waters:

Yeah, absolutely. Julia.

Julia Campbell:

It's gonna be a wicked Tessa, I'll compensate

Joe Waters:

for both of us.

Julia Campbell:

So Joe helps nonprofits and businesses build Win Win partnerships that raise money and change the world. He's been writing his popular partnership blog, selfish giving since 2005. He's also written two books, one on cause marketing the other on corporate partnerships. And he was very modest. He didn't write in his bio that he has one of the most must read email newsletters in the business. Is it called the selfish giving newsletter? I call it that. Yeah, yeah. Okay. Just go to selfish giving.com. And sign up for his weekly newsletter, you will absolutely not regret it. And he's also an avid gardener or gardener. He posts photos regularly in his newsletter, or you can check out his garden when it's not covered in snow on pinterest.com/joe. Waters. So, Joe, we were trying to figure out when we first met,

Joe Waters:

yeah, we were thinking What was it like? 2011 2012. And I remember that my first thought I said, Who is this tall, beautiful woman? And then I said, Oh, my goodness, that's Julia Campbell.

Julia Campbell:

Oh, that's so sweet. And it must have been through our mutual love and adoration of John Hayden, that we started hanging out and that we we did hang out a lot right before, you know, he passed away. So I know that you and John were best friends. Very, very close. And I think about him constantly. I was talking about him on the podcast. What do you think he would think about what's going on in the world right now? Not even necessarily war, but COVID. But everything?

Joe Waters:

Ya know, I think whether you know, John was a lover, not a fighter. Right. And, you know, John was interested in being of service to people, he was interested in lifting people up not putting people down. And you know, and I think he would, you know, he would find this time distressing. But I also think that John's light was so much needed the past couple of years, you know, John died two years ago, last February nine. And there's a real, you know, shadow on the world because he's not around anymore. But, you know, it's people like you, Julia, who I know he, he really admired and, and I remember, you know, I mean, it had to be a week or two before John died, that we all got together. And we saw one another. And I know that John would be really happy that you and others are really carrying John spirit with them in the sense that you know, you are trying to make things lighter for people not more difficult. You're trying to lift up, not put down, you're trying to help not hurt.

Julia Campbell:

Thank you. And I think what you and I both do that is very much in John's spirit is we try to offer very practical advice, you know, very tactical and accessible advice to people so they can actually make the change that they want to make in the world. So yes, well, this episodes obviously dedicated to John Hayden will post his the link to his book donor care in the show notes. But I want to talk to you today about cause marketing. So I don't think people really understand you know, there's cause marketing, there's CSR. There's digital fundraising, there's all sorts of things. There's corporate sponsorships, there's events. So what in your mind? How do you define cause marketing?

Joe Waters:

Well, you know, it's interesting because when when I mentioned cause marketing to people, a lot of people think of it as kind of the marketing of Cause you know, what, a lot of times people will see an ad for a nonprofit or something that's cause related. And they'll say, Oh, that's great cause marketing, right. And it's certainly applicable. But when I think of cause marketing Giulia, I defined it as a partnership between a nonprofit and a for profit for mutual profit, right. And a lot of the fundraising in that model comes from the company raising money from the customers. And this goes back to the first iconic cause marketing program, the American Express and the Statue of Liberty back in the 1980s. When you and I were running around with, you know, you had, I'm sure, amazing here back then, as did I, and I think about the 80s. But you know, it was when you used your American Express card, I think it was a penny from every purchase, went to the Statue of Liberty foundation. Wow. That's the first it's known as the first you know what it was Hawaii describe it, Julia. That campaign was the Columbus moment for, you know, for cause marketing in the sense that really put her on even though you know, the grandfather of cost marketing, who I call them, Bruce birch, he was doing cost marketing with March of Dimes, and I think it was Marriott back in the 70s. And, you know, you can even say, I think there is an argument to be made that Jerry Lewis in the Jerry Lewis telethon was an early form of cost marketing, you know, with what he was doing with companies involving people in his show and stuff like that influencer

Julia Campbell:

marketing. Yeah, that's right.

Joe Waters:

So it goes back aways. But like I said, I think the American Express was the Columbus moment when news was brought to the rest of the world, right, that this was a real strategy that people were interested in doing and could benefit good causes.

Julia Campbell:

That's really interesting. You talk about that in your book, because forgive me, I read it a very long time ago, you talked about the history of cause marketing, I think that it's so interesting, because people have very different views on it. But how do you feel that nonprofits can build a cause marketing program? Like, what are the successful elements?

Joe Waters:

Yeah, well, the biggest thing is, is you know, you have a corporate partner, right. And, you know, that's the, you know, with a partner, everything is possible. And, you know, in one of my books, Julia, I identified over 40 different ways to work with a business that we could define as cause marketing, right. But the most important thing is that a nonprofit have a business. And what I would argue is, if you are a nonprofit, and you have individuals supporting your organization, you have companies because those people own businesses, they work for businesses, that can do cause marketing programs for you. And as I often say, jeulia, good corporate partnerships, good cause marketing programs are detected, they're already there, right in your organization. So it's when we start looking around, and I'll give you an example, Julia, and I was just talking about this to someone else, when I went to Boston Medical, where I, you know, started their cause marketing and social media program. You know, one of the early partners we had was a guy who owned a chain of discount retailers in the area, you know, them while they're called the Ocean State job, lots. That's right. You know, had Mark Perlman there was a very generous donor to the hospital. And we went to Mike and we said, Mark, would you consider involving you stores and fundraising for us, and he said, You know what, let's give it a try. So he actually does to this day, a fundraiser in his stores during the month of December. And Mark has over I think, 120 130 stores now, right? He's raising jeulia, $450,000 a year with that program. And it's a three week campaign in December, that he's raising that money. And that came from someone that we were already working with. So when I go into a nonprofit, and we talk about their corporate partnership opportunities, the first thing we look at is those people that are already supporting them in some way. And because a lot of times there can be a partner had that way very easily.

Julia Campbell:

Exactly. And I think what you said is so important, because how I feel that nonprofits look at this sometimes, is that they just see, oh, this is a big business in my area, or this is a rich person in my area. But there might not be that fit. There might not be it might not be relevant to that particular organization, but looking at maybe the hidden gems in your database, or looking at your board, looking at your volunteers, and really examining like who would make the best match.

Joe Waters:

That's right. You know, it's funny, I just read a story on you know, I live here in Newton, which is about seven miles outside of Boston. And I just read about a local spa in this area here that has been active the past few years, raising money for good causes. One location Julia raised $9,000 This year, right? I mean, that's pretty good.

Julia Campbell:

How did they do it? What are some of the ways they did it? What they're

Joe Waters:

doing is a lot of their services. The key cause marketing programs jeulia twofold. One is called Point of Sale. And point of sale is when you ask someone at the register, would you like to donate $1 Or would you like to put your coins in a donation block. So would you like to round up at the register, those are called Point of Sale programs. The other type of program that's very popular. And I think what the spy used was what we call purchase triggered donations. So what happens is when someone buys a product or service, a percentage or portion of the sale goes to a good cause, right? And those are the really the two most popular programs when it comes to cause marketing. So I think what the spa did is when people were buying this services, they would just kick in a little of that money back to local nonprofits. And you'd be surprised how quickly it adds up.

Julia Campbell:

How did Ocean State job lots raise the money the same way?

Joe Waters:

They raised it with point of sale. So what they did was at the register, they actually asked people would they like to donate $1 or more? And in the beginning, this is what we used to call a paper icon program.

Julia Campbell:

Yes, when you buy that little thing, and you put your name on it.

Joe Waters:

That's right. That's right. And you stick it to the wall. As a matter of fact, as we're speaking right now, those programs are happening all over the country with shamrock programs. So the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and get this Giulia, this year is the 40th anniversary of the Shamrock program. And in the past 40 years, it's raised over $300 million. So there's a lot of money, you know, so these programs, you know, but there's a lot of things, you know, that's why it's so important, though, Julia, when we go out and talk to a business, that we figure out a program that is not only a fundraiser for us, but also works for them in terms of what they want to do and what their assets are, right? Because every business is different. And even with b2b, you know, I talk a lot about b2c is with cause marketing, because that's where the big dollars are raised. But you can do cause mocking with b2b, but the focus is on the employee, as opposed to the customer in a lot of instances.

Julia Campbell:

Yeah, tell me more about that. So b2c is business to consumer, that would be like an ocean state job lot, raising money from their customers, but B to B, tell me more about that. Would that be? What kind of agency what kind of organization would that be? Yeah, so that would

Joe Waters:

be you know, it could be manufacturers, it could be real estate firms, it could be architectural houses, it could be engineering firms, all sorts of different ones that are more, you know, and obviously, they have customers, right. And you know, a really great example of this is I remember a few years ago, Share Our Strength did a program with talk and a lot of people don't recognize that name. But if you pulled out a napkin from a dispenser at a restaurant before, they've probably front blood from a talk machine, right? So what talk did was whenever someone bought a talk, you know, napkin dispenser, they were donating money to Share Our Strength. So they even though it was b2b, they were using the same type of purchase triggered model. But a lot of b2b is used employee models, right? So what they'll do is, I remember, there was a wealth investment from a federal Philadelphia that was working with a cancer charity. And you know, they basically encourage their employees look, get out there and walk, ride row, paddle, do whatever you want, but raise money for this organization. And that's exactly what happens. So there's a lot of different ways that you can raise money, even if you don't have checkout lines and cashiers you know, you can do March Madness programs, you can do a baseball pool. You know, I remember one organization when Game of Thrones was on they did a Deadpool. Oh, that's funny, you know. So I mean, there's all sorts of ways. And you know, March Madness is actually a big one right now that a lot of companies because a lot of companies, like the betting feature of March Madness, but they they're a little bit uncomfortable with employees where they don't want to actually gamble. Yeah, that's right. So do it for a charity, sanitize it, right, by doing it for a charity. And that's what's happening. So, you know, there's a lot of different options. And that's why I think it's so important that when you go to a business, just don't assume that you're going to do a certain program with them find out what they have, like, I'll give you an example to Julia, I used to work with the Boston Bruins Foundation. And when they first called me to say that they were interested in meeting, I was like rubbing my hands, I was like, oh, boy, they're going to introduce me to all the sponsors. And I went in there, and the community director, they said, Joe, I don't want you to talk into our sponsors. He said, But here's what I'm going to give you. He said, I want to give you assets, so that when you go out and talk to companies, you can say, if you work with me in the Boston Bruins Foundation, and you raise x number of dollars at the register, we're going to do a player appearance in your store, we're going to have you to a hockey game and do a check presentation on the ice. We're going to have your best customers or your your most successful employees, you know, in a luxury box at a hockey game. So what it was is I was able to go back out to companies that I hadn't really had much success with and say hey, how would you like to do a program with the Bruins Foundation, they'd be like, oh my goodness, I love the Bruins. I love hockey. And it was a great example of like going out and talking to people and finding out okay, what are you willing to do for me? Or how do you want to help and turning that into an asset that in turn would make us money?

Julia Campbell:

So we've been diving deeper into that. What do you think corporate sponsors really want?

Joe Waters:

You? Well, you know, it's interesting because I often talk about two types of sponsorships or partners. And I talk about charity partners, and marketing partners, charity partners, Giulia, when people give you money just because they want to give you money, and then they're just doing spin on any want to ship is another form of giving it a lot of times it's go away money to it, right? You never call a company? And they're like, Yeah, look, I appreciate you call them for the 500th time, I'll give you $1,000 Have a nice life, right. But some companies are interested in the marketing benefits of what a nonprofit can deliver, either because of their brand, or because of the type of audience they attract for their events. So what's important for nonprofits is they make that distinction when they're out talking to companies so that they can educate them about the type of audience they represent, and how they might be able to deliver some marketing benefits, greater awareness, more customers, happier employees. So that's what you're really looking for.

Julia Campbell:

Do you think that cause marketing programs like, like the ones you're talking about have increased in recent years? Because millennials, Gen Z, they want to be involved in workplaces that are known for doing good. And it's much more important to them than perhaps older generations? Have you been seeing that?

Joe Waters:

Yes. Well, what I would argue is, you know, cause marketing has been around for a while now. But I think the larger issue and this sits above cause marketing is the idea of purpose, right? And purpose is the fifth P, right. So we know the traditional marketing for peace. The fifth P is purpose. So every organization now has to have some type of purpose, they have to be engaged in the greater good in some way. And one way of doing that is by being involved with great causes. And one way of doing that is through cause marketing. So it's like what drilling down, right? So cause marketing is a tactic. But there's a lot of other things that companies can do now, to show that they're engaged in purpose, they can do sustainable packaging, you don't I mean, they can treat their employees, well, they can treat their customers well, they can, you know, be more environmentally responsible. So it's interesting, like over the past 20 years, what I think is that, you know, cause Mac, I mean, has kind of overflowed the cup, and engage the organization in all sorts of different ways that we didn't know, of 20 years ago. But the overriding thing I think that is really important is that companies are focused on purpose and giving back and doing the right thing, right. And cause marketing is just one piece of that, as a matter of fact, in the strategic sense, cause marketing is a very small piece of that. Because, you know, the challenge Giulia these days is that you walk into a store, and maybe they'll ask you for $1 at the register 20 years ago, you give that dollar right now you give that dollar, but you also say to yourself, well, what's this company doing to support this? You know, how are they treating their employees? Sustainable? Are they with their packaging or not? You know, so there's all these other questions that come up. Now, when we're doing cause marketing campaign. So, you know, you really have to have your house in order in order to do cause marketing successfully.

Julia Campbell:

I love that because one cause marketing campaign I'm thinking about that happened pre pandemic was when Walmart was raising money for Feeding America, but half of their employees are on food stamps, because they don't pay them enough, maybe even more than half. That's right.

Joe Waters:

That's right. And, you know, this is one of the things that I tell businesses all the time, Julia, you cannot do a great evil in this world, and then do a little good, and call yourself a good company. Right. And that's what I think companies are really waking up to. And I mean, one of the good things I'm really happy to see is I just saw something the other day on Starbucks employees. And that was another one, I think it was Walgreens employees, that all raising them to $25 an hour or some positions, not all positions, but some positions before the end of the year. So these are the types of signaling that people are looking for.

Julia Campbell:

Exactly. I love that it's going deeper than you know, you can't just whitewash your corporate scandal and the fact that you don't pay your employees a living wage by raising a few $100 for the local school. That's right. You have to get your house in order. And yeah, I absolutely love that.

Joe Waters:

The big thing though, Julia, I try to remind people of when it comes to companies, though, is we do have to look at companies and give them the opportunity to change in a in an incremental way sometimes, right? Like not all companies are willing to embrace things right away. That's why cause marketing sometimes is an easy entry point. But it's something that can pervade the whole company and maybe, you know, in pushing in the right way, we can change things a lot faster and easier by starting with cause marketing.

Julia Campbell:

And what I think is so interesting about the time we're living in now is I remember when I was a development director, and we would take money from literally anyone at any time. I mean, we just would take money, we wouldn't take money from it. tobacco and alcohol companies are like pharmaceutical companies, but we would pretty much take money from any bank, any insurance company, any car dealership. But now do you feel like nonprofits are being a lot more discerning because nonprofits have a lot to offer as well?

Joe Waters:

That's right. And, and, you know, let's face it, too. And we know some great examples of this, too, is that you make a mistake, and it really costs your reputation. I mean, even if we look at someone like Coleman, who 10 years ago, was doing buckets for the cure with Kentucky Fried Chicken, a lot of people looked at that campaign and said, that is not a campaign that a health cause should be doing. And there were lots of questions along that. And you know, since that time, for a number of other reasons, also, Coleman has struggled. And, you know, it can be really hard when you use you lose your reputation, that's one of the things that I always try to remind people to, is, it's never worth your reputation, because most nonprofits to Julia, they're only raising five to 15% of their money from corporations. So you don't want anything to risk that 95 to 80%. Right, that 80 to 95% of raising money, but that's just what it is organizations do when they get too selfish, and they get too greedy. And they don't keep their eye on the prize in terms of what they should be focused on. So reputation first, especially these days, Julia, where, you know, I often tell people, your brand is what your audience is saying about you online. And your brand can change overnight, if people start talking about you in the wrong way.

Julia Campbell:

And now a word from our sponsor, I'm here to tell you that this podcast episode is sponsored by my newest free training, social media in 20 minutes per day, this is where I give you my exact framework and process to schedule and organize your time. So that social media does not take over your entire day. And to do list, watch the replay for free at social media in 20. That's to zero the numbers to zero.com. And be sure to tag me on social to let me know what you think. That's social media and twenty.com Thanks for listening and enjoy. Your brand your reputation is, is absolutely everything. And you could spend 100 years building a brand and it could be gone in five minutes based on you know, assuming something is true based on a partnership, you know, kind of gone awry. So

Joe Waters:

it just the way the news, you know, I mean, like, you know, you know, I just saw an article this morning, these companies are saying that they support people in Ukraine, but they're still doing business with Russia.

Julia Campbell:

Oh, man, I'm waiting for those to come out. Yeah,

Joe Waters:

we're already out there. And I think that's what we, you know, that's what the challenge with companies is these days is that companies have to be so responsive to the moment, right, in terms of, you know, being at the right place at the right time. Or if you're you're taking a stand on something, you have to know why you're doing it, and you have to be willing to accept some blowback.

Julia Campbell:

Oh, I thinking about all of the companies that came out with Black Lives Matter or anti racist statements, but then it turns out that one of their 90 executives is a person of color. So yeah, I think being on both sides, being aware of being seen as tone deaf or worse, insensitive or offensive, but we do have to really pay attention to that. I think that's great, because I see nonprofits taking their power back and saying we have a lot to offer to this business. And it's a win win. And we're not coming here and begging for money. We're coming here with a partnership proposal. And I know you talk a lot about that. So what's the best strategy to really build and manage these kinds of partnerships, especially if you are brand new nonprofit? Yeah,

Joe Waters:

well, the biggest thing I emphasize Julia is obviously the low lying fruit, right? Like that's a great place to start, right? Because what happens is, is when you're working with someone who's already sympathetic to your cause, like we did with Mark Perlman, so many years ago, you know, they're willing to learn with you, right? Whereas when you go out and work with a new company that really isn't aware of you, and your reputation, you know, they may have higher expectations, and you just may not be ready for a partnership like that. That's why we see so many companies going out and working with established causes like St. Jude, right. You know, St. Jude is a wonderful charity, but it's a 70 bed hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, right. And last year, they raised $2 billion in since the beginning of their cause marketing program. 15 years ago, they just announced they raised a billion dollars with that program. And the reason why St. Jude can come into Greater Boston and raise money and raise more money than the Jimmy Boston and Boston Medical and Mass General and all those places is because of their brand. And that is something to really keep in mind in terms of. So you want to start with those people who love you and admire you already. But the important thing is to Julie, I think it's really important. Like, I'm kind of done with nonprofits saying, Well, we have this person, they do human resources, marketing, and individual fundraising. Now we're gonna give them corporate partnerships.

Julia Campbell:

Oh, and they also do social media and probably volunteer management.

Joe Waters:

You know, and I have a saying that what gets staff gets done, right. And if you're not, you have to be willing to stay. If you're serious about corporate partnerships, that you have to staff the position because I get calls all the time, Julia, people say to me, Joe, I have wonderful news. We've hired our first corporate partnership person, and I say, that's great. You should know that the National Park Foundation has 14 People Share Our Strength has 22 people and Children's Miracle Network has over 50 people working on their corporate partnership team. So you need to be realistic about how effective and how much you can get accomplished with one person. Oh,

Julia Campbell:

you're speaking my language here. I absolutely. I agree.

Joe Waters:

Well, urea, I know you agree with me on this, too. The biggest thing nonprofits are lacking is marketing. You know what I mean? Like they need to do a better job marketing themselves. You know, you're spending five cents on the dollar on your expenses. Well, what if you spend 15 cents on the dollar? And you are raising 25 $30 million more or something like that, you know, would it be worth the expense? And I think that's a calculus that a lot of nonprofits need to come to grips with?

Julia Campbell:

Exactly. I completely agree. And I think that what you said about what is staffed is what did you say what a staff has done?

Joe Waters:

It's Yep. What gets staff gets done? Right. You know, you know, I talked to a woman the other day, Julius, she said, Well, the amount of time I spend on sponsorship is 10%. It's like, what's 10%? What's it? You know? I mean, you need some, if you're serious about sponsorship, now, there is a way to do corporate partnerships with small staffs and little resources, but you don't want them instances, you're just not doing the work, someone else is doing the work, right? Maybe the company is so enthusiastic that they're doing the legwork for you. But you know, if you're serious about really working with multiple partners, and keep in mind, you know, these people just don't have business development, people like National Park and Share Our Strength. They have account managers, people who manage the accounts after you, you know, you get people involved, they have marketers that are creating case studies and in social impact studies that show you know, how the partnership is impacting the community, and how much How helpful is that?

Julia Campbell:

Oh, that gets me to my next question. perfect lead in? What's the best way for nonprofit to report on partnership

Joe Waters:

impacts? Well, I think one of the best ways, and it's a great tool is case studies, right? So what you should be doing is after you have a successful partnership, you should be writing up that case study. And you should be putting those on your website and using those when you go out and talk to people. So you can go out there and say, and I can't tell you Julia, how helpful this was to me is that I could go out to people and say, Hey, you're a retailer with this many locations in the greater Boston area. I worked with Ocean State job lots or I work with Pati. City, here's an example of our partnership with them. This is what we could do for you. And that is what companies want. Because they want to see that you know what you're doing. That's what's really going to resonate with them. So I think it is in you know, what's good about case studies is one you don't have a ton of resources. So you got to do the biggest thing. They work all through the funnel, right? They're good as awareness, that good mid funnel when people are considering and when you closing people, they can work as well, too. So I really think nonprofits when it comes to corporate partnerships, regardless of if they're event sponsorships, or what have you lean into writing up those case studies, 450 500 words that talk about the results, not just for the charity of the business, too. And that's one of the things I always insist on about who's reading it. That's right, you know, what was in it for the business. And, you know, I actually give people a recipe Giulia I tell them, you know, the recipe for corporate partnership success is a pound of self interest in a teaspoon of idealism, in the sense that you lean in on the marketing benefits on the bottom line benefits, and then wrap those benefits in the halo in goodness of your organization. It's a sweet recipe, you know, in the sense, it's a really irresistible recipe. And but I think when you go in there emphasizing what's in it for them. It's very disarming for a business because they're only used to nonprofits with their hands out.

Julia Campbell:

Exactly. They're not used to them asserting themselves and saying we want to do this in partnership. And we want to make this beneficial for both sides. Because we can't treat corporate partners like we do. Individual givers, we have the tendency to treat individual givers as you know, ATMs and transactions. But but we do.

Joe Waters:

Yeah, that's right. Well, you know, even when it comes to individuals, individuals, in a lot of instances want something out of the relationship to, you know, I even tell people when it comes to companies, Julius, like, Look, if a company comes to you, and they want to achieve their CSR objectives, that's not charity, that's marketing, right? Sounds like, you know, someone is working in I had a conversation with this at Coca Cola. And they're like, look, we don't need the National Park Foundation to sell coke for us, right, we have a $400 million advertising budget, what we need is we need MPF to help us achieve our CSR goals so that we can show our stakeholders that we're running a business in a responsible way. That's a marketing objective. That's not charity.

Julia Campbell:

Exactly, exactly. And I think that nonprofits can take advantage of some of these organizations, marketing budgets, especially if you say you're sponsoring an event. And you you know, we do all the things with the logo and get on the program and put you on social media. But I talk a lot about how you can really thank your corporate sponsors, using social media and using your email, don't just put a logo on your website, like there's so many more creative ways you can

Joe Waters:

do it, you'll appreciate this, Julia. That's why it's so important for nonprofits to focus on audience building on the digital handles. And this is where you come in, right? In the sense, like, you have to have what I call a keystone content asset. And this is the place where you are building an audience. So not only does this attract corporate support, because companies see what you're doing. But you can go out to companies and say, Look, we have a strong audience. Here's the evidence of that. And I know how to communicate with this audience. Right. So when the National Audubon Society asked their members to post a picture of their favorite birds, 150,000 members respond with 5000 different birds, you know, that's power that's influence. That's why all birds goes to National Audubon Society and says, Hey, how about if we click create a line of birth shoes that we can sell with you? And you know what, Julia, they did no marketing and advertising for that beyond the national Audubon's own Facebook page, and that line of shoes sold out in one week.

Julia Campbell:

Wow. It's really all about creating this community. And that's what I always talk about that would miss you if you work on. That's

Joe Waters:

right. Absolutely. You know, that idea of fandom, right? You and I would probably both agree, it doesn't need to be a huge audience. But it needs to be an enthusiastic audience, right? Like people who love what you do, and want to support your organization and you give them the opportunity. So what I tell people is build an audience engage with that audience monetize that audience over time. And the good news is, Julia, is that when you do that you not only raise money from companies, but you raise more money from individuals and foundations to it raises all boats.

Julia Campbell:

And Steven Shattuck, when I first saw him speak, seeming genic of Bloomerang. He was saying, Would your donors put a bumper sticker on their car for you? And that really made me think, and there are several organizations, I definitely would wear their shirt, I would put their bumper sticker on the car, because it's a signal to other people. You know, it's like Seth Godin says people like us do things like this, but it's also just a representation of you and your identity and your ethics and your values. Not everyone wants to wear that on their sleeve, but some people do. I do. I like do.

Joe Waters:

And you know, that's the thing, too, is just as we have favorite products and services, we should have favorite causes to win, we should promote those to the world. But you know, it's very important as nonprofits that we give a place online where those people can hang out with those people can engage one another. I mean, it's so much and you know, there's too and a lot of instances, you know, social media is about fandom, right? It's about feeding the fans. And that's what I think when you're doing a good job and this is why I always tell people like don't do five things well don't do three things don't do two things because you can't do one thing well pick one thing that you can you know for some people it's a Twitter handle for some people it's an email newsletter for others it's a video series for some is a podcast, pick a keystone content asset and lean into it.

Julia Campbell:

Well speaking of that, your Keystone content asset is your newsletter and slowly

Joe Waters:

and everyone jeulia I

Julia Campbell:

absolutely love how you are so transparent with your open rates which are absolutely mind blowing What Are They Now I know they're over 40% You

Joe Waters:

know, it's hard with email these days because you know, I generally get a generally get over a 50% open rate and I get a good click through rate but you know, one of the things and I always tell this to people to if you want your open rate to go up on your newsletter or your emails, delete the people who aren't read them.

Julia Campbell:

I always read your newsletter because I'm scared I'll be deleted.

Joe Waters:

If you don't open my emails for for six weeks in a row, I will unfollow you. Oh, that's so brutal. I love it. I've unsubscribed my wife three times. I have to look at her and say, You're not reading my emails? Well, you know, I've been busy, blah, blah, blah. You know, thankfully, she's not my target audience. Right. Right. And that's the that's the key. You know, and one of the things that I like about it too, Julia is, you know, having an engaged audience, when I see that strong open rate, and click through rate that keeps me motivated. Right, that keeps me motivated, because then I say, Hey, I'm writing this and someone's reading it, someone cares about why I'm doing this. Whereas a lot of times, I think nonprofits is doing stuff now, like, you know, it's four o'clock, I need to post on Facebook,

Julia Campbell:

you have a very strong vision and the content that you create and a strong knowledge of who you're speaking to. And what I do love about the content that you share that I do think nonprofits can all learn from is that it's not just focused on cause marketing, you share these great little snippets of things you find on the internet that are interesting. You share job postings. I mean, it's really wonderful because you have that laser focus on you know, who I am, and you know who the nonprofit is, its opening it and what they're going to be interested in. And, but it's not 100% laser focused on cause marketing all the time. It's just interesting stuff around marketing, the interwebs. And, and things that other people are interested in.

Joe Waters:

Yeah, and one of the things that I say, is so important, Julia, that one of the things that is lacking in the nonprofit field, and I'm sure it's in other fields, too, but I work in the nonprofit field. So I see it, there is a lack of curiosity. And, you know, in that sense, like, we do need to bump up curiosity, and be more curious as an industry about what is happening. And not only that, but also, what can we learn from other people? Like, you know, there are, you know, a lot of times I'm looking at, like, what a newsrooms, you know, we have these independent newsrooms right now that are really growing, and they live or die based on their subscribers and membership. And I'm like, that's exactly how nonprofits should work. Right? It sounds like we have to have an engaged, vibrant audience that is following us and paying for it to follow us, right. And so I learned a lot from that community. And that's one of the things I encourage people is like, nonprofits are not going to solve their problems by looking at other nonprofits, we're going to solve them by looking outside ourselves and seeing what other businesses other organizations of people are doing, that have been really successful, like the whole idea of using influencers. Right. And, you know, that is something that, you know, nonprofits could lean into. And heck, that could be around Keystone content. So that right there is working with influencers.

Julia Campbell:

Well, I'm gonna have to have you back to talk about Keystone content, because I think it's so important. And I know you're also a digital marketing expert. So I would love to have you back, Joe. Maybe we could do it in person in your garden. Yeah,

Joe Waters:

that's right. I like that. And I can teach people how the life and death of the day lily is a great example of the birth the end of a campaign or something, you know, we can we can extend the metaphor.

Julia Campbell:

I don't know I touch plants and they die. I can't I couldn't even keep a cactus on.

Joe Waters:

We asked gardeners Java's saying, if you're not, if you're not killing plants, you're not gardening. So you're doing good work.

Julia Campbell:

Okay. And my mom was a florist. She works for years as a florist, and she is amazing and has a wonderful garden. And it's yeah,

Joe Waters:

that's good. Because so you have a green thumb in your somewhere in

Julia Campbell:

there. Well, where can people find you and sign up for your fantastic news? Yeah,

Joe Waters:

the biggest place and, you know, and, you know, speaking of Keystone assets, Julie, what I do is I always say, email plus one, and so people can find me on my blog, selfish giving.com. But my blog is basically, you know, a signup form, right? You know, I mean, there's a lot of information on there, but basically, I'm using it as a signup form for my email newsletter, and people can find it there. And of course, you know, if you can't find my newsletter signup, you got there's something wrong with your

Julia Campbell:

eyes. It's right there on the front page is all

Joe Waters:

over. And you know, then the other place like usually people come in my other thing, my email plus one, my plus one is Twitter. So people can find me there I am. That's right. And we are I'm talking to Julia and Julia is always very nice. When she finds something in my newsletter. She shares it on on Twitter, which is great, you know, and it was funny. Julie, you were talking about, you know, other things. Right about

Julia Campbell:

how the dead survey how many hours you have left to live. Yeah.

Joe Waters:

And then I wrote the one on the world's ugliest color. And that was a huge, I mean, people loved it. They were talking about that. You know, the the all of growers of Australia, were insulted that people sign that color too. It's, they called it all of green and all of green all of us are occasion was up in arms. Like that's not our collar. White Collar is not the ugliest collar in the world, all of the beautiful. So it is interesting what people sometimes focus on.

Julia Campbell:

I love that. Well, I really recommend everyone sign up for the selfish giving newsletter. I try to limit my newsletters that I read every week to 10. And Joe's is definitely in there like a not miss newsletter. And if Yeah, I've been sharing, I'll share your stuff on social media, which I think is always fun. Just very lastly, what do we think about baseball? What's going to happen? What's your prediction?

Joe Waters:

You know, baseball is only hurting itself by not playing right. And we baseball. I mean, here's the year that we, you know, we can come back and we can we can steal the seats and stuff like that. And it's really it's really distressing, although, you know, I did see something the other day I thought was interesting, Julia that a lot of the teams in cold weather climates, they are really not that upset if they've missed that.

Julia Campbell:

Well, Fenway is covered in two feet of snow, although but you

Joe Waters:

know, the truth is, Boston may be the exception on that, because we always feel the stance. It doesn't matter. It doesn't

Julia Campbell:

matter. Now, we'll be there in seven degrees. The team is

Joe Waters:

right. That's also true. And you know, when our teams have later been pretty good at that,

Julia Campbell:

well, maybe you and I will go see a game this year. I'd love to. I haven't. I would love that. Yeah, I would love to get back to Fenway. Well, thank you so much. This was really fun that this was awesome. And yeah, everyone. Thanks for listening to the show. We'll be back next Wednesday with a new episode. So thanks, Joe, for your time, you bet. Well, hey there. I wanted to say thank you for tuning into my show, and for listening all the way to the end. If you really enjoyed today's conversation, make sure to subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast app, and you'll get new episodes downloaded as soon as they come out. I would love if you left me a rating or review because this tells other people that my podcast is worth listening to. And then me and my guests can reach even more earbuds and create even more impact. So that's pretty much it. I'll be back soon with a brand new episode. But until then, you can find me on Instagram at Julia Campbell seven, seven. Keep changing the world your nonprofit unicorn