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Dual Purpose Products: Using Creativity to Hook Supporters

September 28, 2011

       Last week I received an invitation from Jui Joshi to the Women Greening the Pittsburgh Region fundraising event, set for November 19, 2011, organized by The Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania (“WGF”). The event will recognize honorees in the Pittsburgh region who have made strides in environmental efforts to create and promote green jobs, clean air, sustainability, clean water, etc.

      When I opened the brown 100% recycled envelope, the creative invitation to the event took me aback.  It consisted of a set of 8 square green pulpboard reusable and recyclable cards that are to be used as coasters, tied together with string reclaimed from the Pittsburgh Gimble’s department store, closed in 1986.  On the back of each card is a phrase:  “We will work for clean air, we will work for equality, …. etc.”    The WGF wanted to be as green as possible in all aspects of planning the event.

When I got married, I thought I was pretty clever when I made my wedding table placecards also photo refrigerator magnets.   I, however, have never seen an invitation to an event serving a dual purpose, i.e., informing re: the who, what, when, where, and acting as a set of coasters.  

    I wanted to share this with my client base.  The creativity and intelligent planning behind what simply was to be an invitation is inspirational. 

BUSINESS OWNER:  What are you putting out there with your name on it?  Does it stand out from the crowd?  Is it adding value in more ways than one?  Will people remember you?  How cohensive, purposeful is the thought behind the item?

    In 1994, I ran for student government at West Virginia University.   With the hope of mobilizing support, candidates would hand out what looked like business cards to students with our names on them.  I felt cheesy just handing out a card and saying vote for me.  So I printed my name on one side and trivia facts about the university on the other.   On another batch, I put the 10 ten questions you need to ask yourself in order to choose the right career/major.    I got more votes than any other candidate in that election (1,126 to be exact) (tooting horn).  I was politicking with a dual purpose and it felt right and genuine.  I hope this post and the WGF invite inspires us all to be creative when we interact with our clients, referral sources, prospective clients or supporters.   A little bit of creativity, innovation, and thoughtfulness goes a long way.  

“The Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania (WGF) is an independent, community-based foundation serving Southwest Pennsylvania.  Its vision is to create a region where women and girls have equal access, opportunity, and influence in all aspects of their public and private lives. To realize this vision, the organization’s active mission is to achieve gender equity by investing in public policy initiatives that will result in long-term systemic change impacting women and girls lives for generations to come.”-WGF Website

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2011 4:28 pm

    Very interesting! I think a lot of local businesses could benefit from thinking outside the cardboard box like this!

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