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Inner Works Pro

September 2021

Have you heard of the term “cause marketing”? There is a good chance you’ve taken part in a cause marketing campaign without even realizing it. Cause marketing can be a great resource for both nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses. Here are a few things you need to consider before getting started.

#1: What is cause marketing?

Cause marketing is a fairly new concept, but every nonprofit marketer should be aware of this method. Cause marketing is the idea of a nonprofit organization and a business working together to form a win-win relationship that benefits both organizations. This can be achieved in several different ways, but traditionally occurs through the sale of a product or service where a portion of the proceeds goes toward benefiting the nonprofit organization. The business that is partnering with the nonprofit also receives value because it either see an increase in its sales or its reputation as a result of the cause marketing campaign.

#2: How does cause marketing work?

Cause marketing is effective because it allows a nonprofit organization to partner with a business and both receive value from the partnership. It can vary in terms of how it is approached by both the nonprofit and the for-profit businesses, but the general idea is that both organizations will work together to help support a cause. The nonprofit can choose to work with several different businesses to raise awareness, or it can choose to focus its efforts on just one business. Both strategies are effective; it just depends on the goals of the nonprofit.

#3: Types of cause marketing

Cause marketing can come in many different shapes and sizes, but the most common are product sales, purchase plus, and licensing. 

Product sales occur when a business agrees that a portion of the sales of a specific product will go to benefit the nonprofit. Both the business and the nonprofit will promote this item and these benefits. As a result, the business should see the sales of this specific item increase, and the nonprofit will reap the benefits. 

Purchase plus is a concept that we are all familiar with. If you’ve ever been shopping and the cashier asks if you would like to round up your total or add a donation to your total, you’ve been part of a purchase plus cause marketing campaign. This is one of the easiest cause marketing campaigns to set up because it only requires the business to set up a separate key to allocate the funds to the nonprofit.

Licensing is one of the more complex cause marketing campaigns. This requires the business to acquire access to use the nonprofit’s logo or branding across its own products. An example of this would be the business selling a t-shirt or bag that it created with the nonprofit’s logo. While this type of cause marketing takes a little extra effort to set up, it is great for both parties involved.

#4: Pros of cause marketing

There are several pros to cause marketing for both the business and nonprofit. The most obvious pro is the added visibility for both the business and the nonprofit. As the nonprofit shares social posts or information with its followers about the campaign, it will help to drive traffic to the business. As the business shares information about its partnership with the nonprofit, its customers will become more aware of the causes that the nonprofit is supporting. 

Adding a cause marketing campaign also helps the business because it allows its customers to satisfy their need to feel like they are doing good. More and more customers are seeking socially responsible businesses, and adding a cause marketing campaign is a great way to let your customers know your business cares about the world around it. 

Finally, adding cause marketing campaigns helps to shed light on social or environmental concerns and also provides access to resources that the nonprofit might not have had access to on its own. This is especially true in terms of financial access.

#5: Cons of cause marketing

As great as cause marketing can be for both parties, there are also a few cons to consider. The biggest con is poor matches. You want to ensure that both the nonprofit and the business make sense together before you launch your cause marketing campaign. If the missions of the two companies don’t seem like they mesh or seem counterintuitive, then you will want to look elsewhere for partnerships. 

There are also legal considerations for both the business and the nonprofit. These considerations vary based on state regulations, but you will need to look into these before setting up an agreement. 

As you have hopefully realized, cause marketing can be a great way for nonprofits to reach more people and increase its resources. If you are considering launching a cause marketing campaign or just need help with marketing for your nonprofit, set up a call with us and we can help you get started.

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