What do the San Diego Chargers and Ronald McDonald House have in common? Two very different organizations came together for one cause. In a blog titled Authentic PR Counsel, Krista Rodgers from Gable PR explained about the successful cause marketing campaign involving the San Diego Chargers and Ronald McDonald House. The Chargers teamed up with the non-profit organization to raise proceeds that goes towards providing homes for families with hospitalized children. The Ronald McDonald House allows families across the nation to stay together, live near a treatment hospital and the hospitalized to recieve the medical attention they need during visitations.
The cause marketing campaign creates positive publicity for the Chargers and support for a non-profit organization. Not only is the campaign raising funds for a good cause but also increasing awareness for both organizations. Rodgers said, “The two joining forces together is original, creates a sense of community, brings people who may not normally follow the Chargers to pay attention to the games, and connects football fans with a cause they may not previously been aware of.”
The cause marketing campaign is successful for the NFL team and non-profit organization in many ways and affects different areas of PR.
- Crisis/reputation management: Philanthropic efforts will help any professional athlete who may have a negative reputation with the public. Sports teams that give back to the community create a strong relationship with their fans, community and media.
- Brand awareness: Word-of-mouth and marketing the Chargers’ image through another organization, creates branding. The Chargers are now expanding their market to parents, children, hospital staffs and the rest of the community. While the Chargers are gaining promotion, the Ronald McDonald House is earning fundraising.
- Community relations: Companies apply programs supportive of the community ranging from supporting local organizations and institutions to conducting educational workshops to donations for community events and charitable fundraisers. For many companies developing good relations with target audiences includes building strong relationships with their regional community.
Essentially, a for-profit organization is helping a non-profit organization and vice versa. Rodgers shared the following tips to keep in mind while designing a cause marketing campaign:
1. “Be original: Although contributing to The Ronald McDonald House isn’t groundbreaking, tying the success of the Charger’s kickers with donations is innovative and ties the pledge to something that’s both fun and easily measurable. The more novel your strategy, the more interested the media will be in covering your efforts.”
2. “Pick a cause that is significant to your brand or your target audience. In this example, the Chargers are reaching out to the local community and Charger fans.”
3. “Get the word out! Let people know what you are doing and take initiative in creating buzz around your campaign. Spread the word through public relations, public service announcements on television and radio, scoreboard mentions, email blasts, billboards and cost-free communication networks such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.”
As a PR student who is eager to enter the sports/entertainment industry, I have learned many PR professionals in the community relations department help their sports teams affiliate with local charities. The Phoenix Suns for example is associated with NBA Cares and the basketball players are involved with certain community-service events within the Valley. Explain why or why not the Chargers and Ronald McDonald campaign is successful. Do you believe cause marketing strategies are useful for professional sports teams? Do you know other successful PR campaigns concerning cause marketing?