Cause Marketing

With the advent of social media, we are more visible than we have ever been. Despite the anonymity of the internet, nothing we say or do online ever goes away. Our history in our communities is now up for public scrutiny, and this is not unique to the individual internet user. This awareness of our cumulative impact extends to organizations of all shapes and sizes as well.

Bottom line: if you want people to interact with you, you need to prove to them that you’re benefiting them in return.

What is Cause Marketing? 

The way you go about earning that trust is the same way we do in our personal lives. We connect with others and do nice things for them. In the case of cause marketing, a small business connects with a nonprofit to address an issue they both care about. While the partnership between the small business and nonprofit is ongoing, make like a romantic and spread the news far and wide. This is cause marketing.  

Should My Small Business/Nonprofit Be Involved?

If you’re asking whether this is necessary for your business, you may be behind on the times. Evidence suggests the era of shared moral responsibility between the organization and the individual alike is here. We often expect individuals to engage in service in the community in some way, and we are culturally extending the expectation to businesses. Not rising to the occasion will simply result in a loss of business, and the nonprofits will find other businesses who want the moral competitive edge.    All you need to do is find an organization that helps out in a similar facet of society your industry is in. You also want to make sure you want your reputations to be associated with one another because they will be. Do you make soap? Partner with a skincare-related nonprofit. If you are a restaurateur, partner with a local food bank. If you are an auto dealer, consider partnering with an organization that helps with a mobility-related social issue, like transporting meals to seniors.   

Give Them the Chance to Join Your Cause.

People want to be part of creating good communities, and they are already getting involved. Cause marketing allows people the opportunity to contribute to their communities in meaningful ways that may not have been as accessible to them before.

An example of this is Givling, a trivia app funded by ads and shoppers that pays off the student loans of the participants. Here is an example of using advertising to rally resources around a specific cause while also generating revenue for the sponsors. Givling is a potent example because it does not require the traditional donation model. The fact that it takes place entirely through an app means nearly everyone can join in your partnership, creating awareness, funding, and business. All you need to replicate this is an app.

Bottom line: if you want people to interact with you, you need to prove to them that you’re benefiting them in return.

In addition to fundraising success, you can also use it as an opportunity to reduce waste and turn some old goods into tax-deductible, charitable donations. Small brick-and-mortar businesses can use these donations to also promote their commitments to reducing waste. With targeted advertising based on interest, you can share the multiple benefits of your contributions to those who care about each of them. ThirdLove donates gently used bras that customers return. Bombas donates socks when customers purchase a pair. These donations need to go somewhere, so find a local organization to partner with.

We all know there are plenty of problems in the world that need solutions, attention, and honest effort. With such overwhelming issues, we need large-scale cooperation, and small businesses and nonprofits are positioned to lead their communities together.  

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