Social Capital 2010 Highlights
Strategic philanthropy professionals from the nation’s top-tier charities and an elite group of their corporate partners gathered at the Westin Alexandria in Alexandria, VA, for the inaugural Social Capital conference in March 2010. The day’s discussions focused on strategic partnerships between charities and the corporate sector: What works and what is next.
Conference Opening Insights
Paula Berezin, president and chief strategist of Social Capital, opened the day’s sessions with industry insights gleaned from Social Capital’s work with top-tier nonprofits. Berezin outlined the top insights to being a successful partnership practitioner in today’s competitive fundraising environment:
Truth: The best partnerships are honest and don’t always sell what’s “sexy.” Partners want to help fund the activities that make the most impact, not necessarily the most splash.
Collaboration: When you’re in a position within an organization where you’re both managing “up” and “down,” sometimes you need to build a record of smaller successes with a select group of allies before others jump on your winning team.
- Leadership. You can’t always wait for a master plan to be handed down to you; leadership means taking action and setting the course when you see a need.
Speakers from three of the most active companies in cause marketing and corporate philanthropy gave their insights on how changes in business are affecting strategic partnerships. Jay Aldous, chief strategist at Social Capital, moderated the panel of corporate speakers:
Nathan Shore, Director of Cause Marketing, Macy's
Bryan McCleary, Director of Brand Public Relations, P&G
- John Egan, Group Director of Sports Marketing, Coca-Cola North America
Take-away messages from the corporate panel included:
Nonprofits with a broad reach, a well-known brand and wide consumer appeal are most attractive to corporate marketers.
The more focused and detailed your approach is, the more effective it’s going to be. For example: P&G and U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s partnership to provide one tetanus vaccine to a child in a developing country for every pack of specially marked Pampers sold.
- For retailers like Macy’s, engaging the employees in the partnership is essential. Nonprofits should work with their partners to educate the employees who play essential roles in executing the partnership in-store. Make sure that employees know why it makes business sense and that they know the impact of their contributions.
Representatives from the American Heart Association, American Red Cross and U.S. Fund for UNICEF gave candid insights into the inner workings of their successful call-to-action campaigns. Holley Darden, chief strategist at Social Capital, moderated the panel of nonprofit speakers:
Kathy Rogers, Executive Vice President, Consumer Markets, American Heart Association
Jennifer Niyangoda, Director of Corporate Partnerships, American Red Cross
- Ryu Mizuno, Director, Media & Marketing Partnerships, U.S. Fund for UNICEF
Take-away messages from the nonprofit panel included:
Before launching a campaign, market research is a worthwhile investment to narrow down your target audience (such as moms with children under 18) and test what messages resonate with them.
When creating a campaign, challenge yourself with a lofty goal and hold yourself accountable for reaching it. American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign set and reached its goal of reducing heart disease by 20 percent by 2010.
- A campaign’s message starts with your organization’s staff. Make sure that all staff members, not just the fund raisers, are well-versed and engaged in the campaign.
After a networking lunch, Bill Novelli, professor at the Georgetown McDonough School of Business and former CEO of AARP, and Tim Shriver, chairman and CEO of Special Olympics International, spoke about true leadership during the keynote address.
Peer-to-peer knowledge sharing sessions explored advanced industry topics crucial to helping nonprofits control and manage strategic partnerships. Sessions topics included:
Developing Campaign Tools That Maximize Relationships, led by Kristine Templin, senior director of corporate alliances at ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Don Germano, senior vice president and general manager at Kmart Retail Stores, Sears Holdings Corporation.
Staffing and Resourcing for Today, Preparing for the Future, led by Terry Richey, chief marketing and development officer at Special Olympics International, Alice Archabal, Senior Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, Children’s Memorial Hospital, Cyndi Court, Executive Vice President, Resource Development & Marketing, Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
- Navigating Your Way Through The Internet and Technology to Maximize Strategic Partnerships, moderated by Brian Reich, managing director of little m media. Panelists included: Susan Murray, Senior Officer, American Red Cross; Maura Daly, VP of Government Relations, Feeding America; and Megan Stanley, Director, Digital Marketing, The Nature Conservancy.