Doing Well By Doing Good

With the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, an outbreak of strong tornadoes in the south and flooding along the Mississippi River, this spring has been a hotbed of disasters.

Even if you don't watch the news, your inbox would most likely tip you off about the events. Companies and brands — from Microsoft to Kenny Chesney — are addressing the need of the victims through cause-related marketing efforts that seek to raise funds while also enhancing their image.

Email can play an important role in cause-related marketing. Last month, I received an email from an airline offering to reward me with miles if I made a donation to the American Red Cross to aid storm victims. That airline is just one of hundreds of companies seeking to "do well by doing good."

Because their efforts are on behalf of charitable causes, companies should be especially cautious. A misstep in either the look of the email or the message it contains can cause the effort to backfire, confusing customers or making the company appear self-serving.

For tips on good email practices that can help companies raise funds successfully, click here.


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