A lot of businesses love to give back. They do this in various ways but one of the most popular partnerships is cause marketing, sometimes called cause-related marketing. It provides a partnership opportunity between for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations. When done properly, this allows both partners to benefit by generating financial support for charitable causes and raising awareness for the business via marketing opportunities.
Cause marketing has gained popularity in recent years. This is likely a result of consumers becoming more socially and environmentally conscious, making them more apt to seek out companies supporting causes that align with their values. Businesses have proved cause marketing can be a successful strategy by increasing consumer awareness and product sales while connecting with their target audience on a deeper level.
While the purpose of cause marketing programs is to create a strategic partnership between a nonprofit organization and for-profit businesses, that doesn’t mean they’re always easy to execute. When doing cause marketing, it is important to develop multi-layered partnerships that will have long-lasting effects on all participants. This means combining both tangible and intangible benefits for each party involved in the partnership.
From developing the right strategy to finding the right partner, there are quite a few things you need to keep in mind when formulating an effective campaign that will help both you and your partner reach your goals—and we are sharing six well-known tactics!
- Aim for loyal people and brands.
In cause marketing, we want to gain loyal people and brands who will continue to support your cause with time and funding. A great example is the Special Olympics. Every year, more than three million people donate money to support Special Olympics athletes in more than 170 countries around the world. These individuals and corporations have a single goal in mind: to support the overall mission of the Special Olympics (helping people with mental disabilities become involved in sports) rather than simply making a monetary donation or purchasing a product or service. This is a key factor in creating loyal customers who will continue to support your cause with time, encouragement, and funding.
- Build lasting relationships.
Many nonprofit marketers are missing out on a huge opportunity to develop lasting relationships with cause marketing partners by not pursuing cause marketing partnerships in a more targeted way. It has been proven time and again that the best relationships are those in which both parties value each other. This is exactly what you need to keep in mind when trying to find a cause marketing partner. However, it’s more than just earning media or just generating leads. Cause marketing is also an extension of your organization’s mission into the communities in which you operate, and can be the most effective way to create a relationship with consumers in your community or nationwide.
- Do not forget grassroot efforts.
As the popularity of cause marketing continues to grow, organizations are relying more and more on grassroots efforts to help reach an increasingly crowded social space. Grassroots cause marketing programs utilized by brands and non-profit organizations around the world take a variety of forms such as community service projects, partnerships with local businesses such as retailers or restaurants, or even traditional fundraising tactics like donating proceeds from sales at a company store. As more businesses continue to invest in grassroots cause marketing initiatives that align with their corporate objectives and give back to local communities, event organizers and cause marketing professionals are seeking new ways to improve the success rate of their individual campaigns.
- Maintain authenticity with your audience.
Cause marketing isn't just about donating money or selling a product. Cause marketing is about creating an authentic storytelling experience that evolves with the audience and the nonprofit to create an unexpected, but personally relevant experience. Authentic cause marketing campaigns receive more support than those that are strongly branded. In addition to positive support, authentic campaigns get shareable impressions on social media, resulting in the opportunity for others to replicate what works best.
- Engage with your community.
The more engaged people are in the community, the more money can be raised. Engagement is personal and varies depending upon individual interests and passions, and if you find a way to engage them online they will likely contribute something of value. Creating an engaging social space, with relevant messages tailored for different segments of your audience, is a valuable tactic for increasing brand loyalty and boosting donations. Adding extra content to your website from a variety of sources will give visitors plenty to learn without overloading them with information.
- Define a clear ending.
A good cause marketing campaign must have a clear ending, such as a date or some other milestone. This helps create momentum and urgency for making your goal. Your marketing efforts must be aimed at clearly conveying the reason why you are trying to achieve this goal by the deadline, and what funds will be used for if your goal is met. And finally, you need to show how it’s all worthwhile for everyone involved in order to win their support and loyalty.