What Is a Cause Marketing Campaign?

Cause marketing involves a collaboration between a for‑profit business and a nonprofit organization.

In an age where transparency is vital to their bottom line, businesses are realizing that consumers are concerned with their impact on society. Consumers expect brands to be socially responsible:

  • 70% of consumers want to know how brands are addressing social and environmental issues;
  • 46% of consumers pay close attention to a brand’s actions.

One solution businesses are pursuing is cause marketing. Cause marketing involves a collaboration between a for-profit business and a nonprofit organization for a common benefit. Additionally, cause marketing can also refer to social or charitable causes put on by for-profit brands.

Typically, a brand will want to associate with a nonprofit to increase their corporate social responsibility. In exchange for their ethical contributions, nonprofits can create more awareness for their organization. This can also mean a large charitable donation from businesses.

As new generations bring in new values, businesses must learn to pivot their strategies in order to keep up. Sustainable, ethical businesses are at the top of consumers’ lists, and cause marketing can help bridge that gap.

Benefits of Cause Marketing

Cause marketing is typically used to increase brand awareness and exposure for the nonprofit partner. However, there are other benefits to this practice, such as:

  • Fulfilling the demand for corporate social responsibility;
  • Improving your corporate image;
  • Building a relationship with the community;
  • Increasing brand loyalty;
  • Boosting employee morale;
  • And separating from the competition.

While there are many brand benefits to cause marketing, there are also numerous benefits for the nonprofit you choose to partner with. Since nonprofits have a limited budget for marketing, getting a small business or corporation to partner with them can help increase awareness of their efforts and their cause.

Building a Successful Cause Marketing Campaign

A successful marketing campaign can bring many benefits, from generating new leads to creating loyalty and trust among customers. Done properly, cause marketing can help both your business and your nonprofit partner. It’s important to make a strategic plan before starting your campaign to ensure both parties will get the most out of the situation.

Identify Your Cause

A successful cause marketing campaign should reflect the values of your company and your customers. While there have been examples of random, successful partnerships, cause marketing can come off as more genuine if the cause is related to your brand in some way. Knowing your audience and constructing a campaign around their values will not only help the nonprofit you are involved with, but it could also help increase loyalty to your brand.

Additionally, your employees will be more willing to participate if it’s something they believe in. Their passion will show through their work, enhancing the outcomes for the nonprofit.

Determine Your Contribution

Monetary contributions aren’t the only way companies can help a cause. Often money isn’t enough to convince consumers, and monetary gifts can seem disingenuous or even lazy. Furthermore, many small businesses might not have the budget to write a large check. Luckily, businesses and marketing departments have more to offer than just money, like:

These actions can help form a strong association between your products and your company’s nonprofit work. However, if support is monetary, there are many methods of funding. For example, your company could create a promotion that donates a certain amount to a nonprofit for every sale you make on a certain product or service.

Involve Your Audience

Your audience can be a driving force in your cause marketing campaign — if you let them. By utilizing social media or creating a custom-built landing page, you can motivate your audience to participate in many ways, like:

  • Donating to the cause;
  • Sharing your social media posts to spread awareness;
  • Interacting with your nonprofit partners;
  • And participating in an event.

Using customer relationship management (CRM) software can help you pursue the right audience for your cause marketing while raising awareness for your nonprofit partners. It can also help ensure you follow-up and create personalized messages of gratitude and appreciation. Making your audience feel involved will give them a sense of responsibility, as 96% of people feel their own actions can make a difference. Messaging and outreach that validates these feelings can be a great way to drive engagement.

Co-Promote With a Nonprofit

The campaign will likely get more traction if both you and your nonprofit partner are promoting it. This can be done in a number of ways, including:

  • Tagging each other in social media posts;
  • Announcing your affiliation in a newsletter;
  • Sending a press release to news outlets;
  • Writing blog posts about the experience;
  • And using each other’s logos in marketing campaigns.

Strategizing with your nonprofit partner can help ensure both of you will get the most out of the partnership. Some of the most successful cause marketing campaigns developed omnichannel marketing strategies to increase awareness and exposure. Utilizing marketing automation can help you strategize by freeing you of the repetitive tasks of posting to social media or sending emails.

Cause-Related Marketing Examples

As more consumers are holding companies accountable for social responsibility, businesses have created successful campaigns through partnerships with nonprofits.

Yoplait Save Lids to Save Lives

Yoplait created this campaign to raise money to help the Susan G. Komen Foundation. They encouraged people to send in their pink yogurt lids to raise 10 cents each. To raise awareness, Yoplait leveraged the national popularity of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and supported the initiative with paid and earned media. It even extended to more General Mills brands, including Cheerios, Nature Valley, and Betty Crocker. All in all, the campaign was able to raise $26 million.

Red Nose Day & Walgreens

A collaboration between Red Nose Day and Walgreens spread awareness for children in poverty. The iconic red noses were available for purchase at Walgreens, and customers were encouraged to take pictures and wear them to other Red Nose Day fundraising events. The six-week campaign used the power of social media marketing to generate yearly awareness from celebrities and other influencers, and the proceeds are donated directly to the foundation.

Buy a Pair, Give a Pair by Warby Parker

Warby Parker continues to partner with various healthcare and medical-related organizations to donate glasses to those in need. They also teach their nonprofit partners how to administer basic eye exams, and give vision-impaired children free glasses so they can continue their education more easily. They have paired with businesses like VisionSpring, and created programs like Pupil Project to provide free vision screenings and eye exams to schoolchildren. Through these partnerships, Warby Parker was able to raise awareness for their cause and reach more than 50 countries.

PurposeFULL Cause Marketing Campaign

This campaign is a collaboration between Arby’s and Share Our Strength, which helps feed children in America. PurposeFULL is a point-of-sale campaign, which means customers are asked to donate when they buy a product from Arby’s. By donating one dollar, customers can provide food for 10 meals. The low donation amount allows customers to focus more on the support. So far, Arby’s has helped raise over $15 million for the campaign.

Many businesses are held accountable by their customers, and choose to participate in corporate social responsibility campaigns. With the advancements in technology, people are more aware of business practices, and care about changing these trends. By choosing corporate social responsibility, businesses can help make the world a better place while keeping in line with their business goals.