It turns out that real men do wear pink. I never liked the color pink even as a little girl, but I like the color the football players wear in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a rich bright magenta like full bloom bougainvillea and it glows beautifully in contrast with the green striped background of the gridiron. The gesture signifies lots of things, but to me it as a symbol or reminder of support and hope.
Always a student of marketing and public relations tactics, it is interesting to me how the lines now blur between games and reality, franchises and merchandising, health prevention and touchdowns. “Cause Marketing” might as well be just called marketing because it is a common strategy for corporations these days. When companies team up with a cause, they are selling more than their own goods. They are appealing to a broader audience while at the same time targeting a group on an emotional level for the greater good – appealing to those who connect with it, those who have had a personal experience, or those who will.
We purchase pink ribbons, wear yellow Live Strong bracelets, and walk in walk-a-thons all in the name of prevention and fundraising for research because it is what connects us on a more personal level beyond our favorite team, coach or quarterback. We may all love football, and granted millions of eyeballs are on TV screens every weekend, Monday night, and well, now Thursday nights too. It is a great place to promote a cause, especially breast cancer awareness because of its prevalence, one in 8 of us women will be diagnosed with it.
To me this is personal, for some reason the pink never reminded me of getting a mammogram. It always felt more like I should give money or buy the pink thing to support the cause. Why do I need to be reminded?
The fall brings more than football season. It is that time of year when the donation appeals start arriving in the mailboxes, and for those of us fortunate enough to not have to rely on the work of our nonprofit friends who provide essential services to our neighbors, we might take a second look — a glance at the children’s faces on the envelopes. How can one look away at a time when we start to feel the seasonal change in the air and begin making our own Thanksgiving plans? Then I wonder, why just now? Why does it take such a reminder to give to those in need?
Having worked at a children’s charity in the past, I remember how overrun we were over the holidays, people with the kindest and most generous hearts doing whatever they could. But I always wished that they’d come back in March, in August. It is not that people forget, they just aren’t reminded, I suppose. I love the concept of Christmas in July for that very reason.
I worry that the pink will become rote, just something you do in October, and I also worry that the blue, the red, the green, the rainbow will also become commonplace and will soon go unnoticed. I pray that these small asks for support aren’t ignored because many of our community’s nonprofit organizations rely on a generous holiday season or an “awareness” month of events to enhance their annual budgets.
And, I wish more people would embrace Christmas in July and think more strategically about their philanthropy by putting simple plans in place for sustainable giving — to support charitable work throughout the year, and into the future. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation can help you no matter size of your giving to give most effectively. There are so many strategies, and many offer tax savings too. And let’s face it, tax season is right around the next corner. So ladies, get your mammograms, and gentlemen enjoy the games, and let’s all remember to give.
If you would like to discuss strategic philanthropy, please contact us at 239-274-5900 or [email protected]