How can partnerships be showcased through experiences?

As the number of NGOs and not-for-profit organizations (NFPs) continues to rise – but the share of discretionary income from consumers and the “philanthropically inclined” shrinks at alarming rates – how can organizations stand out, without the perception of being wasteful with donor dollars?

Increasingly, corporations that have a corporate social responsibility (CSR) mandate are seeking “true partnerships” with NGOs and NFPs. Those that do not find the ideal partner create their own funding models and initiatives: over the past five years, this has proven to be highly disruptive to the industry. 

One of the tactics corporations are turning to when showcasing their partnerships with NGOs and NFPs is experiential marketing (sometimes referred to as “engagement” marketing or “live” marketing).

Whether a company activates a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative through NGO or NFP partnerships, or directly on their own, there are plenty of examples of experiences that have been designed to engage consumers ‘in the moment’ and underscore the need for support. 

The intersection between experiential marketing and CSR has also made its way into digital channels, with augmented reality, virtual reality and 360° interactive photos and videos becoming increasingly popular. Many companies have also demonstrated a willingness to underwrite or fully sponsor these experiences, as part of structured partnerships with their preferred causes. 

Some great examples of recent experiential activations (some of which were sponsored by corporations) include:


About the Author:
Brady Hambleton is Vice President, Marketing & Analytics, Canada's Children's Hospital. He is Vice-Chair of the CMA’s NFP Council.

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