April 25, 2017

What Is Cause Marketing And Why Should You Care?

6 ways businesses and nonprofits benefit from effective cause marketing campaigns.

what is cause marketing

Cause marketing is a process by which businesses and nonprofits come together in partnership to achieve common goals including business profit and social change. The Cause Marketing Forum defines cause marketing this way:

“Cause Marketing encompasses a wide variety of commercial activity that aligns a company or brand with a cause to generate business and societal benefits.”

No matter how you define cause marketing:

  • Nonprofit marketing plans can be substantially enhanced by leveraging the corporate resources shared in cause marketing partnerships. 
  • Businesses can strengthen their brands and improve customer loyalty by demonstrating a sincere desire to affect social change.

For Nonprofits

1) Awareness – Nonprofits can present the relevance of their work using the resources of their business partners.  Let’s face it, we are all inundated with information overload.  The competition for our attention continues to rise at staggering rates. Nonprofits are sometimes under the impression that the nature of their work is a good enough reason for people to take note.  They might be correct.  However, people can’t take note of something that they don’t know exists. 

To break through the noise and reach a larger audience, nonprofits can leverage the marketing resources of corporate marketers.  Additionally, nonprofits can capitalize on the increase reach that comes from the businesses current audience.

2) Engagement – Being able to present the relevance of a nonprofit’s work is essential to improving engagement. Nonprofits are able to improve engagement as a result of their enhanced ability to reach a larger audience with messaging around relevance.  Improved engagement will come from an:

  • Enhanced ability to raise funds
  • Enhanced ability to recruit volunteers
  • Enhanced ability to attract more corporate sponsors

3) Increase Fundraising – A natural byproduct of effective cause marketing is an enhanced ability for the nonprofit to raise funds.  Awareness alone will likely draw more attention from potential donors.  Additionally, campaigns like Shop for a Cause, where a percentage of a stores proceeds go to supporting a cause, naturally enhance fundraising campaigns.

For Businesses

4) Customer Loyalty – From Edelman goodpurpose 2012“While 87% of global consumers believe that business needs to place at least equal weight on society’s interests as on business’ interests, less than a third believe business is performing well in addressing societal issues.” Companies stand to gain tremendously from effective and sincere cause marketing primarily because their customers demand it.  

5) Attracting Talent – Companies that hire the next generation of workers are going to have to come to terms with the fact that these young workers demand more from the companies they work for.  Climbing the corporate ladder and making big bonuses are all great.  Unfortunately, it will not be enough to attract these workers.  They want to know that the companies they work for are making a contribution to the greater good.

For Both

6) Achieve Results – Both businesses and nonprofits are able to achieve better results individually and collectively.  Nonprofits are able to use enhanced awareness to gain support but more importantly to affect greater social change.  Businesses gain tremendously by enhancing their brand, and thus customer loyalty, as well as from the results of being able to attract and retain the best talent.  More importantly, businesses are able to have a direct impact on social change by providing the necessary resources that nonprofits need to get the job done. 

Key Takeaways

Cause marketing, if done correctly and with sincerity will:

  • Extend the reach of both nonprofits and businesses
  • Enhance the ability to bring needed social change
  • Allow both parties to make a real difference



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