The value and return of cause marketing

Last week, Room to Read, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting literacy and gender equality through education in developing countries and Ketchum's long-term pro bono partner, held its first-ever international communications summit in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Last week, Room to Read, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting literacy and gender equality through education in developing countries and Ketchum's long-term pro bono partner, held its first-ever international communications summit in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

As account director for Ketchum's pro bono partnership with Room to Read, I had the honor of contributing to the program by leading training sessions for communication representatives from the organization's seven Asian offices. The challenge tackled at the summit was while Room to Read is based in the US, its local market leaders are tasked to conduct local media outreach and to deliver up-to-date information to the global office. The goal of this summit was to build relationships and facilitate information sharing to build a stronger, more collaborative, unified global communications team.

From a communications perspective, the most exciting thing about the summit was the fact that the organization's leadership recognized the value of a globally coordinated communications plan – and they wholeheartedly supported the investment required to make it happen. In my opinion, this is not just an important milestone for the NGO, but for our industry at large. The world is shrinking dramatically by the day thanks to the growing global marketplace and the rapid influence of social media.

Long has the importance of global marketing been stressed at the corporate level. But to see that sophisticated communications strategy has become such a highly valued component of organizational success at the nonprofit level is proof that opportunities abound for PR professionals to use their skills and experience to make a positive impact by supporting the causes they believe in. For both sides of the partnership, the value and return are limitless.

Julie Ferriot is a VP and management supervisor at Ketchum West.

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