Cause Marketing; Is It For You?

Have you ever heard of Cause Marketing? It’s a fairly new term that I first heard about at a Spark & Hustle event a few years ago. Although as a practice cause-marketing shares many common traits with other types of marketing, giving, or fundraising efforts for social, charitable, and philanthropic organizations, these terms are by no means the same. Here’s a very strait forward take away from the Spark & Hustle website, take a moment to run through the highlights and reflect if this may be a good strategy to implement in 2017 for you and your company.

50% of global consumers said they would be willing to reward companies that give back to society by paying more for their goods and services (44% in the U.S. and 38% in Canada). Nielsen 2013 Consumers Who Care Study

91% of global consumers are likely to switch brands to one associated with a good cause, given comparable price and quality. 2013 Cone Communications/ Echo Global CSR Study

Cause-marketing is a potentially profit-making initiative by a for-profit company or brand to raise awareness, money, and/or consumer engagement in a social or environmental issue.

Purpose: To raise money and awareness for the company and the cause and to increase engagement with a company’s brand or product.

Attributes: Cause-marketing at its core has three major components:

(1) A product, often (but not always) a tangible item that can be bought and sold

(2) A partnership between the corporation behind that product and a non-profit or cause-based institution

(3) And a way to generate for profit

Cause Marketing will not only expose your business, but you, as a business owner, will make a tremendous difference in the lives of others in your community. There are three ways you can employ cause marketing: give your name, give your money or give your expertise.

1. Name: If you are a small business owner in your community then your name holds a lot of weight. Lend your name as a way to promote a cause or organization. When others see that you are attaching your name to something that is dear to your heart, they’ll pay attention and offer to help! It can be as simple as re-posting their event on your Facebook page or link sharing with a testimonial from you.

2. Money: This is more than just writing a blank check to a charity. As entrepreneurs our bottom line is everything so always be mindful of your return on investment. Be strategic. Sweat equity gets you further than strictly monetary donations. Donate gift certificates of services or products to silent auctions to help organizations raise money for their events. You can also raise money by hosting a profit sharing event at your location.

3. Expertise: Offering your information, advice or skills can sometimes be just as valuable as money. Find ways to partner with charities that align with your mission or your field. If you are an artist, set up an art day at your local Boys & Girls Club and teach the kids how to paint. Are numbers more your style? Offer to volunteer as the check-in person for a 5k that benefits the charity of your choice. Get out there and offer up your talents. The gratitude and impact in return is worth its weight in gold.

Let us know what you think about cause marketing, do you have any ideas or inspiration for y