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For a Good Cause

Promote a charity and your business.

Red products fight the AIDS crisis in Africa. Pink ribbon products support breast cancer research. Should you create a cause-related product?

"Usually people have no problem purchasing when it's for charity," says Uri Shemesh, 43, who, along with his wife, Melinda, 43, owns Moda Fina, a Phoenix jewelry retail and design shop that has created limited-edition pendants for various causes. Recently, Moda Fina designed a $4,200 pendant for the Phoenix Children's Hospital and sold five in two months--a quicker turnaround than other pendants at that price point.

John Rosica, founder of Rosica Strategic Public Relations in Paramus, New Jersey, which specializes in cause-related marketing, offers some tips for doing this well.

  • Choose wisely. In addition to checking out the reputation of the charity, be sure it's willing to actively work with you to get the word out about the promotion.
  • Promote to the charity's audience. These are people who are predisposed to supporting the charity and may be good prospects. Use mailings to their donor lists and publish information in the organization's newsletter.
  • Use the power of PR. It's easier to get publicity for items related to a cause, says Rosica: "A charity gives the product credibility and takes some of the commercial sting out of the message."

Gwen Moran is a freelance writer and co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans (Alpha, 2010).

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This article was originally published in the July 2007 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: For a Good Cause.

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