3 Trends Nonprofits Should Know About Cause Marketing

"Doing well while doing good" sums up the relationship that nonprofits and for-profits form when they join forces to make our world a better place. This relationship is better known as cause marketing and it is the way to go to raise money and awareness in today's world. Cause marketing is when a nonprofit organization and a for-profit business (usually with the same or similar target audience) work together to spread awareness or raise money. It started back in the '80's with the extremely successful partnership between American Express and the Statue of Liberty restoration project that raised $1.7 million. Now, companies are using cause marketing campaigns to meet the changing demands younger consumers who expect big business to give back in big ways. Here are three trends to know:

1.  Today's Consumers Research Before They Buy:  Today's consumers expect companies to be responsible.  In a recent survey by Cause Good.com, 90 percent of consumers surveyed reported they would change brands if the new brand supported a worthy cause and 5 percent said they would buy a product of lesser quality if it was better for the society or environment.

Takeaway:  Get to know the younger consumers. Millennials and younger care about how corporations impact their world. They will expect the brands they buy to not only talk the talk but walk the walk with everything from packaging and how they treat their employees.

2.  A Common Cause Is Key for Success:   There must be a synergy or a shared common cause between the company and the nonprofit for the relationship to work. When this perfect match is found, it is a win, win for both parties. The company's image is strengthened by supporting a nonprofit its customers believe in and the nonprofit is afforded with more exposure and financial support.

Takeaway:  Select a company and campaign type that makes sense for your nonprofit's mission. For example, Walmart partners with Children's Miracle Network each year and features a point of sale campaign asking customers to donate one dollar during check out. Walmart is seen as socially supportive and the nonprofit raises money and brand awareness. Shy away from companies that don't share your mission.

3.  Companies Are Paying It Forward:  It's not just the consumers who are expecting more from companies. Companies are turning the tables on consumers and expecting positive behavior changes, too. CVS started their quit smoking initiative; AT&T started their "It Can Wait Pledge" to stop texting and driving and H&R Block began their Budget Challenge to teach financial literacy. All three examples are creating awareness for positive change.

Takeaway:  Companies are recognizing their power to make positive changes in our culture. Some will team with a nonprofit, others will select a cause and create a company campaign. Nonprofits should take note of companies who have campaigns similar to them and see if there is an opportunity for a partnership, sponsorship or another collaboration potential.


Cause marketing campaigns can be successful for both nonprofits and companies and is a great way to give back to your community.


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