Do you know what "cause marketing campaigns are?" I had no idea but I had signed up for a workshop and was ready to learn. I was attending a Colorado Non-Profit Conference in Denver, Colorado this past week and was ready to step out of my comfort zone and learn about a subject that I knew noting about. I wasn't exactly sure what "cause marketing campaigns" are but it sounded interesting and I was ready to dive in and to expand my knowledge in the world of non-profits.
I walked eagerly into the workshop and sat down next to a lady about my age. She asked me about the non-profit that I was representing. I told her about Soaring Wings Ministries and explained that our mission was to serve homeless young adults and families in Northern Colorado. Her immediate response was "wow, that is a tough sell". She proceeded to share with me that people are often repulsed by the homeless and would rather donate money to non-profits that helped cute little puppies or kittens. She said that she once worked on a campaign for a homeless agency and it was the hardest campaign she ever did because she could not find any "appealing" or "cute" pictures of homeless people!!!! I didn't respond much to her comments but merely agreed and said yes that people who live on the streets are often not very attractive.
The presenter for the workshop was ready to begin and so my conversation with the lady next to me ended. The presenter wanted to know the size of the non-profits that were attending the workshop and asked those non-profits who had an annual budget of a million dollars or more to raise their hands. Guess who raised their hand?!!! You got it!!! The lady sitting next to me raised her hand. She was a marketing specialist for a non-profit who had an annual budget of over 1 million dollars. She was not the only person who raised her hand. There were over a dozen non-profits in that workshop who had annual budgets of over $1 million dollars. I couldn't even begin to image what it would be like to have that much money for an annual budget!
The lady next to me whipped out her Windows Tablet and was ready to take notes. I also whipped out my tablet but it was the old fashioned kind....a spiral bound tablet of lined paper. I was glad to at least have a brand new pen to use that day. I was ready to dive into the world of "cause marketing campaigns"! I learned about cause marketing, cause awareness, collaborations, assets, corporate partnerships, creating platforms, national campaigns, media partners, etc....(see you can take really good notes with pen and paper!).
As I sat through the workshop I began to feel very small, very discouraged and very overwhelmed. I was sitting next to a lady who worked for a non-profit who had an annual budget of over 1 million dollars. I knew that we weren't even close to using or would probably never use a "cause marketing campaign" for Soaring Wings Ministries. The non-profits that used cause marketing would be investing over $80,000 dollars to launch and complete the campaign and I can tell you that Soaring Wings Ministries doesn't have anything close to
$80,000. I knew that if we ever were blessed to have $80,000 in our budget we would NOT use it for a "cause campaign". I thought of the little house on 40 acres back in Wellington, Colorado that is the beginnings of Soaring Wings Ministries. I thought of the vision God has given us to expand on this property to house some homeless young adults and families and I thought of what $80,000 could do to provide a home for some of the young people and families that we have met on the streets of Fort Collins.
I kept taking notes during the workshop on my "tablet" but rather than taking notes about "cause marketing" I began to write things like..."God Works". "Serve God above all else". "God is bigger than cause marketing campaigns". I sat in the workshop and thought of the story of Jesus and the woman at the well. I thought of what really mattered in that interaction between Jesus and the woman at the well and what really matters in life. The woman at the well was looked down upon because of her mixed race and her relationships with men. Jesus was meeting with her in a public place. He was talking to her and spending time with her. No respectable Jewish man, at that day and age, would have interacted with this woman like Jesus did. I wrote in my notes that what really matters, is not cause marketing campaigns but loving people, caring for them, giving them stability, spending time with them and telling them about Jesus. I left that workshop knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that Soaring Wings Ministries is headed on the right path. We maybe small. We may not have an annual budget of over 1 Million dollars but we are doing what truly matters by following Jesus' example. We are spending time with people that are often scary, unattractive, looked down upon and sometimes repulsive. I left the workshop trusting God to provide for Soaring Wings Ministries and felt confident in putting my faith in Him instead of a "cause campaign".
We arrived home after the conference and I put my notes from the workshops I attended on my desk to share with my family at another time. We had a guest coming for lunch and I needed to prepare for his arrival. It was time to unpack, vacuum, clean the bathroom and take out the trash....you know....all those things people do before guests arrive. We were looking forward to spending time with our guest and we were excited for the opportunity to know him better and to share with him about Soaring Wings Ministries. We had a pleasant lunch talking about our families, our common interests and our lives in Colorado. It was time to say good bye to our guest but before he left he wrote a check for $1,0000 to Soaring Wings Ministries. I immediately thought of the workshop I attended and the notes I had written on my "tablet" about God being bigger than "cause marketing campaigns". God indeed is BIGGER! God will indeed grow Soaring Wings Ministries in HIS TIME and in HIS WAY. We put our faith and trust completely in Him. God does indeed work. We are to serve Him above all else and to reach out to those people who are not as cute as puppies and kittens but who are infinitely more precious because they are human beings and make in the image of God himself.
Soaring Wings Ministries
Anita Rennells is the author of this blog. She and her husband have moved to Colorado when Ed retired and are in the process of opening a ranch to help homeless young adults.
Soaring Wings Ministries