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Paul Shares Inspiration for Starting Pimp My Cause on Vodafone World of Difference

07/05/2013 Originally published on Vodafone World of Difference

Pimp My Cause, an Agency of the Future spin-off

Get free marketing help for your charity

If you want help creating a charity video, advice on promoting your organisation or if you’re looking for a way to publicise a new campaign, Pimp My Cause could be the answer. Pimp My Cause matches charities and good causes with marketing experts offering their knowledge, time and skills for free, and it could make all the difference to your charity.

Paul Skinner is the founder of Pimp My Cause, and we’ve been talking to him to find out more about how it came about and what it can offer small charities.

He explains: “Before launching Pimp My Cause, I noticed there were many pro-bono legal services, but relatively few pro-bono marketing services. Despite that, I’d been told by organisations like Volunteering England that charities and social enterprises generally say if they could have the support of any profession they would almost always go for marketing.

“Recognising the need for more pro-bono marketing, I wanted to see if we could create an open match-making platform to make opportunities more available across the charity industry as a whole. The idea was to create something that would work a lot like online dating, but that would connect marketers with causes, rather than people to fall in love with!

“I’m a great believer in the power of marketing as a force for good. If there is a profession that has just the right skillset to shape the world around us for the better, it has to be marketing, and I believe our profession should have the confidence to take a role of real leadership.

“Once I had the idea,” adds Paul, “I was motivated to move forward, but it was a bit of an experiment. We had tremendous interest from marketers and from causes right from the very first week, which showed that this was an idea that had something to offer everybody involved.”

A completely new idea

It’s easy to see the brilliance of Pimp My Cause, but despite its obvious benefits, the service is also very unique. Paul explains: “We have not come across any other services that offer a free and open platform where you can find your own marketing volunteers or have the help of a match-maker.”

Pimp My Cause is also proving incredibly popular: “We have over 650 charities and social enterprises on our platform,” says Paul, “and they have access to our marketing volunteers. There are around 800 marketing volunteers signed up to Pimp My Cause. They tend to have 10-15 years of experience, and they often work together to take on a project for a cause.

“We have over 100 case studies featured on our website, and over £1m worth of pro-bono marketing has been provided over the (almost) two years since we launched the site. That could mean anything from having a marketing question answered by experienced professionals, to gaining a new board member, the creation of a new website, a promotional video, an 18-month digital marketing strategy or a new logo. We have approximately 80 streams of pro-bono support taking place at any point in time.”

Need an example of the work the site has helped to organise? “Recent projects have included the film makers Catsnake creating a narrative film that re-imagines the 12 days of Christmas as 12 months of homelessness, in order to support a homelessness charity in London,” says Paul. And another?

“Design agency Ellipsis is providing a total visual brand makeover to a new cause for each month of 2013, and another agency – Maverick Digital – provided an animation that helped a community kitchen charity to raise over £120,000 of investment.”

How to get involved

Pimp My Cause is easy to get involved with – whether you’re a marketing expert, somebody capable of putting together videos or offering advice, or you have a charity that needs a helping hand.

“Any marketer or good cause can sign up,” says Paul. “They just need to register and fill in their profile details, and upload a photograph or their logo. The causes are encouraged to post help wanted adverts, to let marketing members know what areas of marketing they need help with. And they can also send messages to the members they’d like to work with.”

Once you’re all signed up, odds are that Pimp My Cause can help. “If a cause fills in their profile information, creates help wanted ads and contacts marketers asking for support, then they are very likely to get it,” concludes Paul.

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