Insight from a 2010 Halo Award Judge

by Risa Sherman

Cause Marketing Forum Halo AwardsI just returned from judging the 2010 Cause Marketing Forum Halo Awards. And the winners are….

Actually, I am sworn to secrecy.  Sorry!  Finalists will be announced June 3rd at the Annual Cause Marketing Forum Conference.  There truly are some amazing programs to look out for.

One of the best things about being a part of the cause-related world is that our collective field is constantly innovating, evolving, pushing the limits of what might be possible and, ultimately, raising the bar for all of us who practice in this space. It is an amazing experience to be part of a discipline that is old enough to recognize some best practices, yet still young and agile enough to be the source of fertile ground open to exploration.

That’s why it was such a genuine privilege to be asked by David Hessekiel of the Cause Marketing Forum to serve as one of seven judges for the 2010 Halo Awards.  “The Halos” recognize excellence in partnership between companies and nonprofits that result in measurable impact for both partners. Beyond the opportunity to go “behind the curtain” and learn more about the business and social imperatives that led to the creation of this year’s nominee programs, the thought provoking side bar conversations among the judges were like the icing on a cake.

We discussed the evolution of the discipline over the past decades; talked about cause marketers that are pushing the boundaries of their product categories and setting new standards for social responsibility; noted the upswing of broad areas like philanthropy and service as causes unto themselves in the absence of a more narrow or specific social issue; and celebrated some extraordinary creative executions of campaigns.

The five hours we spent deliberating flew by, and I left thirsty for more of this thoughtful debate. While last year many of us were forced to skinny down on the conference circuit, I for one look forward to attending many of the exciting gatherings coming up this Spring. The Cause Marketing Forum Annual Conference will be held on June 2 and 3 in Chicago. I hope to see causenation turn out in full force and look forward to the chance to spend more time with like minded colleagues – because I know there will be no shortage of fodder to fuel those two days!