Firms doing well by doing good

Michael Lang is president of Lang & Associates, a Toronto-based international event marketing agency with offices in Vancouver, Montreal and Atlanta.Jennifer Scace is an associate with Lang & Associates, and co-ordinator for the Event Marketing column. Contributions, ideas, media releases and...

Michael Lang is president of Lang & Associates, a Toronto-based international event marketing agency with offices in Vancouver, Montreal and Atlanta.

Jennifer Scace is an associate with Lang & Associates, and co-ordinator for the Event Marketing column. Contributions, ideas, media releases and feedback should be directed to Jennifer at (416) 229-0060 or fax (416) 229-1210.

One of the themes emerging in the 1990s is the acceptance of corporations which ‘do well by doing good.’

Supporting social causes (including not-for-profit organizations) that associate corporate activities, themes, messages and other communications goals around the cause is, therefore, becoming a sponsorship marketing vehicle of choice.

Cause-related marketing is a way for companies to get a return from their corporate contribution. By leveraging the cause-related activities with marketing dollars, corporations can better their corporate image, build awareness and improve the bottom line.

In the general marketplace, as the government priority is deficit reduction, fewer government dollars are going to the not-for-profit groups.

Recessionary times have also forced individual Canadians to focus their philanthropic donations.

Hence, the demand for funding for not-for-profit organizations has increased, forcing these organizations to turn from the government to the private sector to cover the shortfall in funding.

Coinciding with the increasing demand has been an increase in the number of not-for-profit organizations in Canada (currently, more than 60,000.)

These organizations, therefore, face intense competition for fundraising and sponsorship dollars not only from each other, but from the myriad of other existing sponsorship opportunities available to corporations including sport, entertainment, festivals and the arts.

Recent North American statistics indicate that of the estimated $3.7 billion currently spent on sponsorships, 66% is spent on sport, 10% on music/entertainment tours, 9% on festivals and fairs, 8% on causes and 7% on the arts.

Partners for Heart and Stroke

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, a community-based volunteer organization whose mission is to reduce risk of premature death from heart disease and stroke, is one organization in need of sponsorship support.

The foundation is looking for partners to sponsor the Toronto ‘leg’ of Ride for Heart – the largest mass participation charitable cycling event (10,000 participants) in Canada.

The Ride for Heart, which takes place along the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto on June 5, traditionally raises more than $500,000 annually for research and programs.

Heart and Stroke’s vision is to make the Toronto Ride for Heart the world’s largest mass participation charitable ride, with a participation base of 25,000 by 1996.

Traditionally, 70% of the participants in Ride for Heart have been between the ages of 20 and 50, with the average age being 31 (58% male and 42% female), and 69% are college or university graduates.

Title- and presenting-level sponsorship opportunities are available for the first time in the event’s six-year history.

The Ride for Heart in Toronto can also be packaged with similar events in Calgary and Vancouver.

For more information, contact Josie do Rego at (416) 489-7100, ext. 321.

Kids Help Bowlathon

Also looking for sponsorship support is the Kids Help Phone for its third annual Toronto Corporate Challenge Bowlathon.

Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only national, bilingual and anonymous toll-free service available to children.

Professional counsellors get calls from more than 1,200 children daily (between the ages of five and 19) on issues such as child abuse, sexuality, bereavement, peer pressure, suicide and alcohol- and drug-related problems.

The Kids Help Phone Bowlathon committee is prepared to develop specific sponsorship programs to meet corporate objectives, or, corporations can support the Kids Help Phone by registering a team of five in this one-day, eight-hour bowlathon, which takes place in April at Thorncliffe Bowlerama in Toronto.

The 1993 event attracted more than 1,500 participants from 75 companies, and hopes to have more than 2,000 participants in 1994.

For more information, contact Steve Smith at Trillium Marketing at (416) 229-1324.

Tree fund seeks help

The National Community Tree Foundation, through an initiative of Canada’s Green Plan (Tree Plan Canada), also continues to focus attention on the corporate sector, asking it to do its part to renew rural and urban forests across Canada by planting trees in communities and rural areas.

It is seeking corporate partners to develop integrated marketing and communications programs involving trees and tree-planting to achieve marketing and environmental objectives.

Sponsorship opportunities are flexible, however, and potential sponsors do not have to invest large sums of money to participate.

Corporations can support Tree Plan Canada by contributing dollars to plant trees, providing promotional support, and/or through ‘contra’ such as providing transportation for the trees.

For more information, contact Doug Mitchell at (416) 250-5216.