Introduce Philanthropic Philosophy
usinesses are looking for new ways to distinguish their products and services—or simply their names—from the competition. Progressive companies exercise corporate giving and marketing campaigns to increase sales, heighten public goodwill for their company and benefit worthy causes. We in the promotional products industry need to do the same. With this in mind, I believe distributors and suppliers can work together to unite charity and business. This can represent an extraordinary opportunity to increase the supplier’s or distributor’s business and provide an unparalleled opportunity to help non-profits.
Cause-related marketing is not a new idea but it is increasingly gaining popularity. This is when an individual or business contributes a cash donation to a charity for the purpose of purchasing marketing products. Another way is when the business sells its own item and a portion of the proceeds go to a charity. Remember, the business partner benefits from its association with a charitable cause and the non-profit benefits by receiving funds to expand its marketing. Guess who is supplying the marketing products? You.
How It Begins
The distributor talks with the charity regarding its marketing needs. Make sure the charity has a tax-exempt, 501c3 non-profit status. Many charities have a difficult time finding the right promotional items at the right prices. In fact, most don’t even know where to search. The distributor should be prepared to offer suggestions regarding products’ benefits and how promotional items can be purchased or donated. One suggestion is to talk with the charity employees and ask them about the donors. Most likely, the charity will know a past or prospective donor—whether an individual or business—who relates personally to the cause and also appreciates publicity.
How It Turns Out
The charity receives “donated” promotional items for marketing or reselling. The financial and business aspect of this donation is appreciated and also raises awareness about the charity’s cause. The business/corporation or individual creates good will and publicity, and can use its charitable, marketing or advertising budget to underwrite the cost. In most cases, it’s tax-deductible. Distributors receive the order and offer special discounts. As a result, he or she will develop a relationship with the business and/or charity, and create good will and trust. Finally, the supplier fills the order at a reduced rate and, if it chooses, makes a contribution back to the charity, such as with our “Lighting Up America” charitable giving program. When Hartleigh Creations receives an order that is designated for a charitable agency, we send a donation of 5 percent or more of the net cost to the distributor who can then present it back to his or her client.