180x180px_I-Gave[1]Today, on a day reserved for giving to organizations around the country through Give Local America, it seemed appropriate to talk about cause marketing. Here’s the chance for you to find an organization you can help, and who can help you, as you pursue your emerging author dreams!

Oh, I know. Tell some authors they ought to affiliate with a charity and you may get a blank look or a quick quip, “But I AM a charity; I’m a new author.”

We get that. But we’re also going to tell you that helping a good cause or two can be “cause” for celebration. By helping them you can help yourself as well, and I’m not just talking about karma or that good feeling you get either. Cause marketing – affiliating with a non-profit organization – can offer:

  • Greater visibility for you and your book(s)
  • The chance to build a solid network of leads and readers
  • Wonderful publicity
  • Potential forums at which to display/sell your work

And cause marketing for authors doesn’t have to be about you sitting at the folding table outside the grocery store with Girl Scout cookies, or at an intersection with a fireman’s boot taking donations (unless your book ties in really well with Girl Scouts or firemen).

Rather, find a charity that will mesh well with your book and your local audience, and stick to one or two, so you don’t look wishy-washy, or like someone just trying to take advantage of the good P.R.

In the case of Where Writers Win, though we have international reach, we work with two local organizations to support our “home base.”

1. Charleston’s Center for Women. They do a lot of great programming for women, and we’ve been involved as members, board members and in facilitating writer workshops. The ability to network with so many in the community has brought us to their friends well outside the community, too.

2. The Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts (LILA). Again, we’re involved in the LILA board and their ongoing fundraising efforts, as well as in their Write Charleston programming. It lets us keep our fingers on the pulse of what writers and aspiring authors want to learn, and keeps us abreast of what’s going on in a robust literary community.

Our involvement in both has allowed us to give back to the community, true. But the benefits reaped have been enormous for us as well, especially when we became involved in PubSmart and were able to draw on the local community’s support of our inaugural conference. A real win-win, which at Where Writers Win, we love!

If you’ve used cause marketing to the mutual benefit of yourself and a worthy charity, share your experience with our tribe with your comment below! Together, we can show the world that writers matter, in more ways than just the value of our words…