"In terms of cause-related marketing, we are just starting out," says Mark Bishop, director of fundraising at Prostate Cancer UK. Judging by its cause-related marketing partnership with the Japanese stationery company Pentel, however, the charity is getting up to speed.
Through donations of 25p from the sale of retractable pens in the charity's colours, the partnership raised £127,000 in 2013 - a 15 per cent increase on the previous year. The pen promotion has raised more than £331,000 for Prostate Cancer UK since the partnership began in 2009.
This success is partly because of an improvement in Prostate Cancer UK's brand profile. "As a charity, we are much more marketable than we were two years ago," says Bishop.
Pentel has a similar CRM link with Breast Cancer Campaign, which has raised £966,000 since 2006.
"Men's health charities have perhaps been in the shadow of women's charities in recent years, but that is beginning to change," says Wendy Vickery, marketing manager for Pentel in the UK. But the boys are catching up and are threatening to replicate the CRM success of Breast Cancer Awareness month last October. Vickery believes that the Prostate Cancer UK partnership will have broken through the half-million-pound mark in 18 months' time.
Prostate Cancer UK has several traditional corporate partnerships, but CRM is a definite growth area. "If we do our jobs right, we should start to win other CRM opportunities," says Bishop.
"This is a hint of what's possible and a sign of what we should be doing."