Because marketing is a term you probably don’t know, but it’s a strategy you’ve probably noticed. It’s when a business, often a brewing company, partners with a charity and pledges a portion of the profits to a good cause. While many brewing companies and their nonprofit partners celebrate the collaboration, some research questions the value of the popular fundraising method. “People think giving is such an easy thing. It’s a lot harder to manage the way you’re able to give, ”said Anne Marisic of Maine Beer Company in Freeport. Maine brewers are under pressure to donate and requests for fundraising partnerships are part of doing business. Erin Percival Carter, professor of marketing at UMaine, studies what is “moral” or “immoral” in the marketplace. “Should we instead be holding corporations that try to leverage goodwill charity names accountable for actually delivering on a substantial result?” asked Perceval Carter. She does not oppose the cause of marketing but recommends caution. “It can backfire and reduce charitable contributions overall,” said Percival Carter. Percival Carter points to research that cause marketing reduces charitable giving from consumers, decreasing contributions and leaving buyers less happy. Consumers, she said, should ask questions. “Is that 5% of all profit? Is it capped at a certain amount, ”she added. We asked the top 25 brewers in the state, ranked by MaineBiz, if they have been involved in any cause marketing campaigns and, if so, provide an example of the deal. Only a handful responded to our request, each providing a list of community partnerships and return initiatives. Allagash donated 10 cents of every barrel of beer brewed to Sebago Clean Waters in 2020, raising $ 10,000. The Bissell brothers drew attention to a partnership with the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in which 5% of all sales of cans for a summer beer were donated. Geary Brewing directed $ 3 from every case sold of an American lager beer to be shared between the Good Shepherd Food Bank and Preble Street in Portland. Bigelow Brewing says they are pledging 50 cents of each experimental beer the brewery sells to an animal shelter in Skowhegan. “Greenwashing is something people are always concerned about – bragging about but not supporting them,” Marisic said. Maine Beer Company takes a different approach. Rather than short-term charitable campaigns, they contribute 1% for the planet. One percent of all sales go to nonprofits and most of these are from local environmental causes. “It holds you accountable. You can know exactly how much we have earned in a year by how much we are giving, ”said Marisic. “We want to act as stewards to show that it is entirely possible,” she added. Maine had a strict registration and reporting system for business joint ventures until 2013, when the state legislature significantly rolled back the regulations. “You must first have a goal of what you hope to accomplish that is mutually beneficial,” former Republican Senator Andre Cushing said. Cushing sponsored legislation eliminating licensing requirements. Data on cause marketing companies is now out of the public eye, but supporters of the initiative say it has made fundraising much easier. “It’s not always healthy when the government tries to inject conditions that don’t allow the parties to negotiate what’s best for them,” Cushing said. For brewers in Maine, community partnerships are at the heart of their identity. There is considerable interest in the demand for collaboration from charitable causes. “My strategic advice would be to look, pick one and be very engaged,” said Percival Carter. Industry insiders say it’s up to brewers to “take the plunge” in philanthropy and consumers to decide whether their efforts are genuine. “If you want to stand up for something, be very clear about what you are doing and why,” Marisic said.

Because marketing is a term you probably don’t know, but it’s a strategy you’ve probably noticed.

It’s when a business, often a brewing company, partners with a charity and pledges a portion of the profits to a good cause.

While many brewing companies and their nonprofit partners celebrate the collaboration, some research questions the value of the popular fundraising method.

“People think giving is such an easy thing. It’s a lot harder to manage the way you’re able to give, ”said Anne Marisic of Maine Beer Company in Freeport.

Maine brewers are under pressure to donate and requests for fundraising partnerships are part of doing business.

Erin Percival Carter, professor of marketing at UMaine, studies what is “moral” or “immoral” in the marketplace.

“Should we instead be holding corporations that try to leverage goodwill charity names accountable for actually delivering on a substantial result?” asked Perceval Carter.

She does not oppose the cause of marketing but recommends caution.

“It can backfire and reduce charitable contributions overall,” said Percival Carter.

Percival Carter points to research that supports cause marketing reduces charitable giving from consumers, decreasing contributions and leaving shoppers less happy.

Consumers, she said, should ask questions.

“Is that 5% of all profit? Is it capped at a certain amount, ”she added.

We asked the top 25 brewers in the state, ranked by MaineBiz, if they have been involved in any cause marketing campaigns and, if so, provide an example of the deal.

Only a handful responded to our request, each providing a list of community partnerships and return initiatives.

Allagash donated 10 cents of every barrel of beer brewed to Sebago Clean Waters in 2020, raising $ 10,000.

Bissell Brothers drew attention to a partnership with the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in which 5% of all sales of cans for a summer beer were donated.

Geary Brewing directed $ 3 from every case sold of an American lager beer to be shared between the Good Shepherd Food Bank and Preble Street in Portland.

Bigelow Brewing says they are pledging 50 cents of each experimental beer the brewery sells to an animal shelter in Skowhegan.

“Greenwashing is something people are always concerned about – bragging about but not supporting them,” Marisic said.

Maine Beer Company takes a different approach.

Rather than short-term charitable campaigns, they contribute 1% for the planet.

One percent of all sales go to nonprofits and most of these are from local environmental causes.

“It holds you accountable. You can know exactly how much we have earned in a year by how much we are giving, ”said Marisic.

“We want to act as stewards to show that it is entirely possible,” she added.

Maine had a strict registration and reporting system for business joint ventures until 2013, when the state legislature significantly rolled back the regulations.

“You must first have a goal of what you hope to accomplish that is mutually beneficial,” former Republican Senator Andre Cushing said.

Cushing sponsored legislation eliminating licensing requirements.

Data on cause marketing companies is now out of the public eye, but supporters of the initiative say it has made fundraising much easier.

“It’s not always healthy when the government tries to inject conditions that don’t allow the parties to negotiate what’s best for them,” Cushing said.

For brewers in Maine, community partnerships are at the heart of their identity. There is considerable interest in the demand for collaboration from charitable causes.

“My strategic advice would be to look, pick one and be very engaged,” said Percival Carter.

Industry insiders say it’s up to brewers to “take the plunge” in philanthropy and consumers to decide whether their efforts are genuine.

“If you want to stand up for something, be very clear about what you are doing and why,” Marisic said.



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