Government backs CRM website

Charities minister Fiona McTaggart and Chancellor Gordon Brown have given their backing to a new cause-related marketing website project that could ultimately offer an accreditation scheme to help consumers assess such deals.

The idea is one of the proposals being considered by social marketing agency The Ingenious Group as a possible long-term direction for its new Marketing for Good website.

The website aims to boost charity/corporate tie-ups by bringing together potential partners and providing consumers with more information about promotions.

The site, to be launched on 12 May at the Marketing for Good conference (Third Sector, 10 March), will begin as a 'dating service' where member charities will be able to showcase their projects and companies will be able to publicise their partnership opportunities.

The website, which is free to charities, is being billed as a cost-effective shortcut to potential corporate partners, by saving charities from the need to write volumes of speculative letters.

Eighty of the top 100 charities have already signed up, and research by Lincolnshire University indicates that demand from companies is also high.

The Ingenious Group sent the proposals to McTaggart and Brown, who gave their support to the scheme last week.

Once it has been proven that the 'dating' scheme works for both sides, the service could be extended to offer an independently-run accreditation scheme.

Participating products would be audited by a panel of independent experts, who would evaluate the marketing claims and test for best practice and transparency. Charities and companies would have a chance to respond to the audit.

Details of the audited partnerships could then be accessed by the public on the Marketing for Good website. Products would display a kite-mark and an identifying number, which consumers could type in to the database to find out more information, such as how much goes to the charity.

Ingenious Group director Jean Collingwood, said: "In the end, greater transparency will lead to more partnerships and sales."

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