Further to yesterday’s post, I had a request for a link to Frank Dixon’s article about Wal-Mart. You can find it on his Global System Change web site – click on Sustainability and System Change – Wal-Mart’s Pioneering Strategy.
Russell Smith’s article about Nuit Blanche in today’s Globe and Mail made me think about the important question of when and how it’s appropriate for a corporation to “brand” a charity/community event. This is an issue for major corporations who have the capacity to sponsor high-profile events and for smaller companies who may be associated with local events and organizations. There are also important considerations for community organizations that run the risk of being seen as catering to the demands of their sponsors in a way that is inconsistent with their mission as an organization. Campaign promises aside, it’s unlikely that we’ll see more government support for events such as Nuit Blanche and event organizers will continue to turn to the private sector for support.
I’ve been involved in advising corporations and non-profit organizations on branded sponsorships and partnership programs and, at the risk of oversimplifying a number of important considerations, I believe that there are 2 strategic questions that should be asked:
For Corporations: Does our sponsorship of this event an reflect an authentic commitment to an issue or cause that is core to who we are, what we value, and how we are seen by our internal and external stakeholders?
For Non-Profits: Will a branded sponsorship of our event jeopardize our credibility as an organization in the mind of our stakeholders?
More on this topic later.