There’s no denying. We love Burning Hawk Wines. Not only are they tasty, the story behind the philanthropic beverage is a beautiful one. And perhaps more beautiful is the groundwork that Nick Papadopoulos, mastermind behind the project, has created that will inspire other organizations to put their profits into giving back to great causes.
Simple on the surface, this form of marketing has the potential to motivate groups of people much more efficiently than any ad campaign possibly could.
The Burning Hawk Story
On May 29th 2008 the Press Democrat newspaper published an article Burning Hawk Starts Vineyard Fire. At first glance, this was an unusual story about a hawk (species unknown) that was electrocuted, caught fire and in-turn started another blaze at the edge of a vineyard in Windsor, California. But after looking deeper, this innocent hawk’s story opened our eyes to the impact our energy system has on birds and wildlife. Because of the vineyard connection a clear vision emerged – to create the Burning Hawk philanthropic wine brand dedicated to saving other birds from the same peril. We were encouraged to make this vision take flight by dozens of birders, business executives, conservation organizations, vintners, friends and family. We began studying the issues and networking to bring Burning Hawk Wine to market less than 3 months.
Launching a Great Idea
While many wonderful ideas get shelved for months (or years), Burning Hawk had the support of the entire team at Windsor Vineyards & Girard Winery (now part of Vintage Wine Estates family of wineries). This allowed the concept to move rapidly, something rarely done in philanthropy.
This speed to success has roots in the communication between Burning Hawk and the causetomers. Nick believes in promoting transparency which leads to a much greater level of trust. Companies are often scared to death to disclose much about what makes them tick. But, as Burning Hawk shows, increasing the level of involvement among the supporters is amazingly effective at spreading bird-of-mouth advertising.
Burning Hawk Major Milestones
- Speed to Market, Speed to Philanthropy – conservation issues often don’t have years to wait to get put in motion
- Helped Popularize a Highly Technical Issue – many people including hardcore birders had been greatly unaware of the dangers of “Avian Powerline Interaction”
- Wines Enjoyed by Hundreds – the product is excellent, making it an easier sell
- Raptor Research Foundation and Raptors of the Rockies – over $600 raised last year
- Mongolian Saker Falcon Project – pool of funds being allocated to create the brand new non-profit to protect this unbelievable bird
- Rocky Mountain Raptor Program – the month of March is devoted to raising money for this raptor rehabilitation center. Burning Hawk plans on raising thousands of dollars.
Nick has proven that creating a brand that fully believes in a cause can lead to conservation success at a rapid pace.
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