Cause marketing is the collaboration between nonprofit and for-profit organizations centered around supporting a shared cause. It’s an effective approach to building your Corporate Giving Program, and as part of an overall corporate philanthropy strategy, it helps demonstrate your company’s mission.
Both nonprofit and for-profit brands benefit from cause marketing. For the nonprofit, it can increase their funding, brand awareness, and project visibility. For-profits are viewed more favorably by employees and consumers when participating in cause marketing campaigns, and it improves their corporate social responsibility and social impact profile. When 70% of consumers want to know what brands are doing to positively impact their communities, sustained cause marketing demonstrates that your brand is committed to addressing social and environmental issues with a genuine, sustainable, and long-term strategy.
In this blog, we’ll explore:
- Achieving authenticity with cause marketing
- Building a relationship with nonprofit organizations
- Creating an effective cause marketing campaign
Achieving Authenticity with Cause Marketing
Consumers want to see companies be more socially responsible. However, only half of consumers would believe a company that announced wanting to help make the world a better place until the brand commits beyond just statements. Consumers want to see companies act via proactive donations, product/supply chain development, or investments. They want to see a brand go above and beyond by holistically embodying a cause and raising sustained awareness for it.
Once consumers see that your brand has concretely demonstrated a history of community support, they will be more likely to purchase from your business for the first time and to continue using your products or services.
One of the most significant benefits of cause marketing is that it demonstrates sincere action from a company because it focuses on relationships and collaborations with nonprofit organizations, building consumer trust and loyalty. It must be genuine to be impactful and effective for both parties.
You can avoid unintentional “purpose washing” and bake authenticity and purpose into your company with these tips:
1. Establish a strong mission and values:
Your company’s leadership needs to set a durable mission that resonates with the team and is the guiding North Star for all operational decisions. This mission is the reason why your organization exists beyond financial goals. You should also consider your brand strategy when creating a mission so that any cause marketing initiatives are aligned with your business and therefore feel more relevant and genuine to your consumers.
2. Build purpose and everyday philanthropy into your workplace culture:
Purpose starts from the top down, and the most effective corporate giving strategy incorporates both leadership and employee teams. All internal leaders should support the mission and consistently make decisions revolving around it. Corporate giving should permeate your workplace culture.
You can engage your employees by giving them a say in defining the company’s mission and realizing it via actions with a charitable giving program. These programs are versatile and businesses of all sizes across various industries can establish them. They’re a great way to execute on purpose by starting with internal stakeholders.
Another way to engage your employees and establish a strong workplace culture is to provide financial safety nets for them with Employee Compassion Funds. Employee support requires a holistic approach to ensure a long-term and sustainable company culture.
3. Empower your employees and customers to engage with your mission:
70% of employees want to work for companies that care about social issues, and the same with customers. Corporate philanthropy can make your employees more fulfilled, productive, and collaborative.
Integrating cause marketing into your charitable giving programs can include setting up pre-funded matching gift programs to support more diverse causes. You could also build public campaigns so that your customers and the general community can participate, or create charitable consumer experiences like integrating charitable giving into the sales of a specific product. These are excellent strategies to ensure a wider range of people can make a difference.
4. Measure your impact:
Recognize and celebrate your company’s impact and how you’re contributing to the greater good. Be transparent when you don’t hit progress goals, and be willing to accept feedback from your internal and external stakeholders.
Other benefits of cause marketing for your for-profit business and nonprofit partner include:
- Extending the reach of the cause so that the nonprofit doesn’t have to spend more of their limited budget on marketing.
- Increasing consumer trust and brand loyalty.
- Fulfilling your brand’s mission and achieving your broader corporate social responsibility and charitable giving goals.
- Boosting employee retention as turnover drops by 52% if a company has a robust Corporate Giving Program.
- Creating a competitive edge for both parties and improving your business performance as corporate giving can increase a company’s growth by 10% more.
- Providing more press and investment opportunities for both parties, as 73% of investors state that cause marketing can affect which companies they choose to invest in.
Building a Relationship with Nonprofit Organizations
Cause marketing is about more than just a one-time donation or contribution that only benefits the company. It should be a genuine and collaborative relationship. So, in order to establish a relationship with nonprofit organizations, The Chronicle of Philanthropy recommends:
- Choose a cause or causes to support and research nonprofit organizations that would benefit from a cause-marketing relationship with your brand and customers. Many businesses choose to single out a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal as their cause. Just make sure that it is a cause that your employees genuinely care about and that the cause could increase brand loyalty and awareness.
- Establish contact over LinkedIn, phone, or email to see if your corporate grant/giving program and mission would be a good fit for them.
- Advocate for the nonprofit by reminding your employees and donors that you have corporate matching gift campaigns or pre-funded matching gift campaigns that can go to the nonprofit. The reminders can prevent billions from being left on the table in unclaimed matching funds.
- Help each other grow through joint PR/marketing and accomplishing philanthropic objectives, hitting economic targets, and building up organizational cultures with public charitable campaigns.
- Create cause marketing committees with members from both of your teams for an unbiased process and strategy review.
- Make communication easy so that your remote employees can join in or so that you can partner with global charities.
- Offer volunteer opportunities for your employees to assist the nonprofit organization in a non-monetary manner.
Creating an Effective Cause Marketing Campaign
Cause marketing should be a natural extension of your brand strategy, and depending on the campaign, it doesn’t need to be complicated. It does, however, require you to be proactive and collaborative with your nonprofit partner.
- Decide how many resources you can allocate for this cause. You may decide to donate all profits from sales of a certain product or service. Maybe you run a year-long campaign for one specific charity that resonates with your employees. Or maybe you’ll offer a discount to your customers for a specific product or service promotion tied to the cause. Based on the time and resources both parties have available, decide on the start and end dates of a giving campaign and the financial allocation you want to set aside.
- Plan an omnichannel marketing effort with your nonprofit partner. Landing pages, social media, videos, direct mail, email marketing, press releases, blogs, and events can all help you cross-promote the cause to your audience. Reminder that you can utilize your normal marketing channels and don’t have to brainstorm new ones. Provide content and resources for your nonprofit organization to use and promote the campaign using their network. Use each other’s logos during co-promotions. It’s especially important to plan to engage customers using social media because 60% of consumers will get their news from those platforms.
- Ask for support from your employees and customers to increase engagement and visibility. Nearly half of customers want to express support for your company on social media and talk about your cause to people if you show that you’re committed to making the world a better place. Make it easy for them to be a driving force in the campaign and show support for your company and nonprofit partner. Create shareable graphic templates and hashtags for your customers and employees. Give them clear call-to-actions for donations, sales, and spreading awareness. An easy call to action is to set up a matching campaign to amplify the impact, show that your company is committed to action, and engage your audience.
- Post-campaign, thank your customers for helping you raise awareness for your nonprofit organization and celebrate the campaign’s success with your internal team and partner. You can create an impact report that highlights the positive results from the campaign and share it with all your stakeholders. This is key to building an authentic brand by demonstrating action and transparency, and incentivizes consumer participation for future programs.
Givinga’s Technology Can Help You Build Relationships & Create Cause Marketing Campaigns
We can help businesses of all sizes facilitate the philanthropic element of cause marketing and build a mutually-beneficial and highly-impactful Corporate Giving Program for you and the nonprofit(s) you’d like to support. In the process, we’ll aid your company in redefining philanthropy with stronger community engagement, building purpose into your brand identity, and creating a workplace culture of giving.
We can instantly create a company-branded giving fund with access to over 2 million vetted charities so you can set up campaigns, engage stakeholders, and instantly deliver funds to your nonprofit organization partners. Philantech® will also provide you with in-depth impact reports to share with your employees, consumers, and the general public.
Our technology solutions also include tools to engage employees in your charitable campaigns, including customizable modern matching and volunteer programs. We also offer a Philantech® API plug-in to build your cause-marketing campaign into any consumer-facing or retail experiences that already exist on your channels, with our tech handling all donation processing. Our Philanthropic Experts can help determine the best program and technology for you and your goals.
Create a Corporate Giving Program and cause marketing campaign that makes a difference in the world—and your bottom line. Schedule a demo with Givinga today!