Brands Can Generate Social Movement – Turning Charitable Giving Into Marketable Moments


jono-waks-thumbnailBy Jono Waks, Publicist

Charities have to start re-evaluating how they connect with donors in this digital age and start thinking about their programs and how they recruit corporate sponsors. The question, whether philanthropic or concerning sales, is always what’s my ROI?

Not-for-Profits and the causes they support are fighting for an ever shrinking corporate dollar and the ones that will get that funding will be because of their digital presence. If a cause can activate a million people, that’s a channel a like-minded consumer brand would love to engage with.

Cause marketing is hardly new, but it is no longer feasible for a charitable organization to assume a logo in a program is enough. What is the charity offering to amplify the sponsor’s promotion? What is the sponsor doing to promote their relationship? The digital age has offered us ways to magnify message points unimaginable just a few years ago.

Hashtags. It’s all about the hashtags. Why? Because they are breadcrumbs that are easily followed. Monitor the hashtags and you know they’re paying attention. Charitable organizations will have to take a deep look at traditional models and redirect their resources to their digital platforms. By increasing their digital presence and building a follower base a charitable organization will increase its value to a consumer brand sponsor because  you offer them not just a good cause but a channel to communicate with your social fans and followers.

In general, brands must spend ten dollars for every one-dollar paid in sponsorship fees. Just because the money has been handed over doesn’t guarantee coverage, so what are brands and charities doing to promote their relationships? Whether that’s a corresponding paid Facebook or Instagram campaign or more traditional advertising it’s important the relationship is promoted by the entire corporate team – public relations, advertising, and marketing. They are no longer to be considered separate units, but one organized motion supporting all elements of the campaign.

Brands Can Generate Social Movement - Turning Charitable Giving Into Marketable MomentsA great example of baking digital movement into the cake is Pajama Days – an upcoming campaign to support “A Safe Place to Sleep for All”, and benefit for SUS: Services for the Underserved – a social service provider assisting the people of New York City since 1978 – has been created specifically to amplify corporate partnerships and 2017 Q1 brand message points.

The inaugural campaign kicks off February 2017 during New York Fashion Week with a celebrity sleepwear fashion show and two-hour pajama party featuring sponsor activations & interactive influencer opportunities. This pajama party offers sponsors their own “zone” – a mini event of sorts – with their own dedicated photo booth and brand ambassadors wearing brand sponsor logoed pajamas turning every brand ambassador into a walking selfie step-n-repeat.  The brand ambassadors have one goal and that’s to direct guests into the brand’s photo both, sharing hashtags, and collecting “LIKES”, “FANS” and “FOLLOWERS” for the sponsors social media pages allowing conversations to continue post event. Incentives and initiatives will encourage all guests to visit all sponsor “zones”. So whether it’s the latest in home security or the newest yogurt on the market, each brand has the ability to promote their own message.

SUS knows sponsors need to see their ROI and is working to create “wow moments” for all with ideas ranging from sponsor branded pajama party flash mob dancers to hosting celebrity brand ambassadors on the runway and posing in front of our 300 outlet strong media pit and chatting it up with reporters on the red carpet. “Wow moments” for each brand are integrated into the entertainment and it is only through this sort of incorporation will sponsors see the digital media movement they hope for.  And only through prioritizing digital integration will charities attract corporate partners.

Charities must have an answer to the question: What is my ROI?

About the Author: Jono Waks promotes people, products and causes doing so since 1999 with innovative brand marketing & media campaigns. He started in the record biz working with musicians like Bobby McFerrin, Huey Lewis and the Pet Shop Boys. Over the years he’s worked in the development offices of NYU Medical Center, GMHC and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Fashion,beauty and entertainment properties have been a large part of his career. Often where they intertwine. He is one of the originators of the highly successful Heart Truth Red Dress fashion show promoting women’s heart health and is the founder of the upcoming Pajama Days, a Q1 2017 campaign to promote “A Safe Place To Sleep For All”. It is being kicked off with a NYFW celebrity sleepwear fashion show and pajama party media spectacle benefitting for – a leading social service organization in NYC. Jono has been a fashion week insider for more than 15-years and understands how to amplify brand messages through its vast reach. 

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