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Newsletter #800: The “How to Partner With a Cause for Your Event” Issue

Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

We partnered with charity: water for our Word of Mouth Supergenius event this summer. It was a great experience using the power of word of mouth to help such an amazing cause, and it taught us a lot about how to partner with a nonprofit for an event. A few tips:

1> Tie the cause to a promotion
2> Feature it on-site
3> Get your friends involved
4> Follow up
5> A special thanks

1> Tie the cause to your promotion

Causes can be powerful topics. They give your talkers something to share beyond just a coupon code or a list of speakers. It can give everyone something to rally behind. One way we made it easy for attendees to get involved was by giving them the option to donate their coupon codes during registration. Not only did it help increase donations for the cause, but it also gave registrants something more meaningful than “I just registered for this event” to share with friends.

The lesson: Look for ways to tie event registrations with opportunities to help your cause.

2> Feature it on-site

When you’ve got everyone together, that’s when you’ve got the chance to put some real excitement and energy behind the cause. At Word of Mouth Supergenius, we included calls to action from the stage, included charity: water in our agenda, set up a booth for them, and encouraged donations during keynote speaker Tony Hsieh’s book signing session. The lead-up to the event is where you can build a lot of buzz for your cause, but on-site is where you can drive a lot of action.

The lesson: Take advantage of the energy during your event to encourage attendees to take action.

3> Get your friends involved

Word of mouth isn’t about you, it’s about how others spread it for you. We had a lot of help from our friends who believed in our cause (and the power of word of mouth). Amazing agencies like Brains on Fire, brilliant bloggers like Paul Gillin and Paul Chaney, and even fantastic small businesses like EyeCare 20/20 all got involved in spreading the word. We did our best to make it easy by keeping the topic simple ($20 equals 20 years worth of water, $5,000 builds a well, etc.), and our talkers did the rest.

The lesson: Helping your talkers talk is what word of mouth is all about. Ask for help, put the tools in their hands, and encourage them to spread the word about your cause.

4> Follow up

Even when your fundraising period is over, charity: water makes it easy for you to keep the conversation going. Over the following 12 to 18 months, they send you and everyone who contributed to your campaign pictures and GPS coordinates of the wells you’re building. This is brilliant word of mouth — it extends the relationship beyond the initial donation and it turns donors into long-term talkers. Nearly two years after their original contribution, these donors are going to be showing photos and videos to all of their friends — talking both about the cause and the event that got them involved in the first place.

The lesson: When you can extend the conversation beyond a one-time donation, you turn your one-off campaign into a long term cause that people can talk about for months (or years) later.

5> A special thanks

We’d like to extend a huge thanks to Paull Young, Josh Smith, and the rest of the fantastic team at charity: water for partnering with us for Word of Mouth Supergenius. It was an amazing experience to be a part of such an important cause, and it really helped us show how powerful word of mouth can be. If you’re thinking about tying your event (your conference, your trade show, your birthday, etc.) to something meaningful, we encourage you to check out charity: water.

Check it out: charity: water

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