A few weeks back, Charity Village shared an article (view original article here) that our own James Chalmers wrote based on our leading seminar and workshop, The Paradigm Shift™:  The Ecosystem of Brand, Cause & Consumer. It has been getting a lot of attention for the insights he shared. Some people agree, some disagree but most importantly it is starting a great conversation that needs to be had throughout brands and charities.


The Paradigm Shift

Cause and philanthropy are said to be in a crisis state. We could not disagree more. What we are seeing is The Paradigm Shift in this sector. Consumers are more deeply committed than ever to cause, but the mechanisms through which they contribute continue to evolve. Causes and charities need to evolve along with the shifting consumer mindset if they are to meet their own needs, while brands have a unique ability to leverage this movement to deliver against their own business objectives. Charities who dismiss or reject the important impact this shift is having, are already failing to meet their targets. Those brands who have caught on are already seeing the impact it can have in delivering on business objectives. It represents the single biggest opportunity for charities in decades and one of the biggest opportunities for brands, if organizations can comprehend the evolution, differentiate, leverage and capitalize on The Paradigm Shift.


Insight One:  Daily Choices Are A Fundamental Part of The Giving Lexicon

For charities, this means brand partnerships are more critical than ever. They go beyond immediate revenues for sponsorship or other tactical elements of partnership. Brand partnerships give charities opportunities to engage with their targeted individual donors on a daily basis through their daily purchasing choices.

For brands, these partnerships enable communication of a brand’s priorities and commitments to cause. Canadians want to support and purchase from brands whose values are aligned with their own. These partnerships allow brands to authentically tell their story and stand for something greater than just profits.


Insight Two:  It Is Less About What and More About How

As James puts it… “This insight always ruffles a few feathers!” We can take it a step further and state unequivocally that this insight always ruffles feathers.

For charities, this presents a unique opportunity to focus on how you engage your targeted audience. What are you doing that is different!? Canadians want you to allow them to contribute in a manner that is authentic, feels personally meaningful and connects them as part of a larger community.

For brands, who are historically better at engaging audiences, this is where you get to shine as a partner. Lean into those creative departments within your organization or your supporting agencies and think big, bold and different! Create engagement with purpose. Data proves profits will follow.


Insight Three:  Branded Programs Drive Success

For charities, welcome the megaphone that brand partnerships give you. Reach new and larger audiences. Start a conversation with them that is unique and different. Stay true to your mission and vision, while focusing on your core competencies and what you do best, while your brand partner focuses on their core business and the power is their communication channels.

For brands, own your cause. Build it into the very fabric that is your brand DNA and what you stand for. Do what you do best and allow your charitable partner to focus on delivering against their mission and vision.


The Final Bell

Authenticity and genuine alignment are critical. You cannot fake fit! Know your objectives and what you want from a partnership before you start engaging partners. Once you start engaging, be transparent and openly communicate your objectives and what you are willing to bring to the partnership in return. The strongest performing partnerships are long term and those partnership were almost always co-created!