Last week on our daily business news hour, Insight on Business with Michael Libbie, (Part of Webcast One LIVE) I spoke to the power of cause marketing and small business. How partnering with a cause can, for a rather low investment, push your brand among people you wish to reach while increasing your marketing footprint.
I know..."He's just preaching again, Sally. This stuff doesn't really work."
OK...so let's have a look:
Saturday night I attended the sold out Membership Banquet for the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association (RRVTA). The event was held in Panora, Iowa at the Lake Panorama National Resort Conference Center. The goal, at their only fundraiser was to gather $18,000 for the RRVTA's annual budget.
Hold on...I've just introduced you to three different groups/businesses you may never have heard of...before. Three down...more to come.
The folks who are the real drivers of the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association are Chuck and Carla Offenburger and their engaged and active board. Here they are pictured with Brian and Sharon Duffy and Don German. Hmmm there is a Des Moines Register link here...me thinks. (9 introductions)
On hand for the event were folks like Kevin & Molly Cooney (they purchased a 12' Kayak during the auction donated with the help of Scheels and the Green County Conservation Board). Kevin and Molly work at KCCI-TV8in Des Moines.
The guest speaker was Christie Vilsack Iowa's former First Lady and avid cyclist who told stories about RAGBRAI, the Iowa Library System, growing up in Mount Pleasant, the number of bikes she has owned and how visitors from places like Washington, DC are amazed at her depth of knowledge about agriculture and what the heck we do with Iowa Corn. Nice job Christie!
Let's see...we're up to 18 mentions...but who's counting?
My friend, Jason White from the Midwest Partnership was there...we had met several years ago and keep up with each other on Twitter and Facebook. My friend Forrest Ridgway from Bike World was there. And I learned about companies and local businesses...all because they were involved in this event. (Let's see...that's 22 mentions.)
There was Ausberger Photography from Jefferson, Iowa, Snyder & Associates out of Ankeny, Powerlift from Jefferson, Horizon Printing from Adel, the Home State Bank in Jefferson, Pioneer Hy-Bred, Farmers State Bank in Yale, the Guthrie County State Bankin Panora, the Graham Groupof Des Moines and United Contractors, Inc. of Johnston.
Do you know about the Oak Tree Bed and Breakfast? How about the Santa Maria Restaurant in Carroll or the Green Bean Coffee of Jefferson? Not me. I didn't know that in Perry, Iowa there was a place called the Hiawatha Bicycle Company or here in Des Moines the Butler House on Grand.
I quit counting....
And there were many, many more that I can't list here but had the opportunity to make an impression on not only me...but 300 others who packed the facility. They also witnessed a presentation of $15,196, the value of 200 shares of McDonalds Stock, from the family of Alice Ann Andrew. (BTW, Carla Offenburger reminded the crowd that money was extra and didn't count toward their goal of $18,000. Didn't want to spoil the live or silent auction fund raising.)
Cause marketing has only one major drawback. Most companies don't know how to create a bigger buzz about their efforts and so they get involved to be neighborly. That's ok...but there are loads of ways you can capitalize on cause marketing...if you work it and have an active plan.
Congratulations to the RRVTA to my friends Chuck and Carla and to everybody who made this event possible. One last thing: Once a newsperson...always a news person. Here is a shot of the rear-end of Chuck Offenburger...notice the reporters notebook tucked in the pocket? Classic Chuck...great to see you guys and thank you for what you do.
OK...ONE MORE THING: The event raised $17,776 about $7,000 more than last year.