<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://px.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=2736228&amp;fmt=gif">

How To Launch A Cause Marketing Strategy

Cause marketing can make a huge impact for charities, your community and for your business, inside and out. While it involves a unique strategy, it can be incorporated into your annual marketing plan.

Causes rely on the generosity of their donors and grants for funding. Nonprofits raise money year-round for specific goals and supplies, and most spend as much money as possible on the work they do. That often means that they have a very small budget for marketing, if they have any budget at all.

Businesses can help nonprofits by supporting them with cause marketing. Not only does it help the nonprofit with their goals, but it can raise brand awareness and create a positive lift for your brand as well. According to Businesswire, 62% of consumers want brands to be active and take a stand on issues they’re passionate about, and 64% find brands more enticing when they actively communicate their purpose.

Getting started with cause marketing doesn’t have to be difficult. Let’s discuss how to get started with cause marketing, how to go about choosing the right cause that fits into your business, and incorporate cause marketing into your regular marketing plan.

Consider Your Overall Goals

You want to start by setting goals you want to achieve with your cause marketing. You need to have a strategy so you aren’t throwing your money into the wind.

First, what kind of impact do you want to make? There are multiple ways to help causes.

Do you want to give financial contributions? A one-time donation can make a big impact. Your business can create a donation drive for a partner charity. Or you can create a campaign to give contributions regularly throughout the year.

Do you have employees who would like to volunteer? Setting up an Employee Volunteering Program (also known as an EVP) can encourage your employees to donate their time to a community cause. This can help the cause year-round and have a positive impact on your employees. If you have a specific volunteer project for multiple employees at once, it can also double as a great team-building activity.

Do you want to help with a cause’s specific goal, or would you like to help year-round? Depending on the nonprofit you partner with, they may have specific needs that would be great for a project, or they might have seasonal goals. For instance, an organization may work once a year to collect toys for the holidays for people who can not afford them, while a homeless shelter is open year-round and needs regular donations. A nonprofit that is open year-round means they could likely use help with their marketing efforts as well.

What kind of impact will fit in with your company’s goals and culture? Take a look at your company’s culture, where you are now, and where you would like to be. Think of the community impact your business can make and how it will tie in and complement your business.

Choose A Charity Partner

Choosing the right charity to partner with is a crucial step because you want to ensure your business is making an impact with a reputable organization that works on a cause your employees and customers care about.

Think about causes you and your employees feel passionate about. Think about your target audience, do they have a cause or charity similar to your company’s overall goal?

For example, local HVAC company Home Comfort Experts partners with REAL Services, a nonprofit that helps seniors live in their homes, independently, for as long as they possibly can. Both organizations care about helping people in their homes. Home Comfort Experts underwrites a custom annual marketing plan for REAL Services through their partnership with Federated Media.

Make sure to ask a prospective partner charity about their perspectives, goals, and future plans. Research them and see what they have accomplished in the past and what they have going now. It’s important to make sure the charity is making a real impact and that your goals align.

If you aren’t sure how to find the right cause to partner with, do you work with a media partner with connections to charities you can easily get involved with? Look for media partners with experience in radiothons and charity events.

Here at Federated Media, our radio stations have several partnerships with charities ranging from local organizations in the South Bend and Fort Wayne markets to organizations with nationwide reach. For example, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital partners with country stations WBYT (B100) in South Bend and WQHK (K105) in Fort Wayne for annual radiothons. For 2 days, listeners hear from the families that have been given second chances and hope by St. Jude, and people call in to pledge thousands of dollars of donations. Businesses get involved by sponsoring various elements of the radiothons, such as the phone bank, the tote board or even the entire radiothon itself as a title sponsor. Sponsoring an element of a radiothon is a great way to start a relationship with a nonprofit.

Create Your Campaign

Once you have chosen your charity, you’ll need to come up with your campaign.

If it’s making a financial contribution or employees volunteering, work with the nonprofit to build the relationship and work out exactly how your partnership will function to fit both your needs and the nonprofit’s needs.

If you’re raising money, clearly communicate on where donations will go and the amount. Don’t use language like “give a portion of the proceeds” or “donations will go to charity” without being specific on the amount you are giving or naming the charity. Consumers expect businesses to be more transparent and the more transparent you are, the more consumers will trust you — and participate in your cause. 

If you’re paying for a nonprofit’s marketing, make sure that your company is mentioned appropriately in their messaging. The majority of the message should focus on the nonprofit, but a line that says something along the lines of “this message is made possible thanks to support from (your business)” is tasteful. 

In addition to deciding how your company will give, it’s important to advertise the campaign tactfully. If you’re hosting a fundraising campaign, your advertising should focus on why your partner charity is important, how consumers can donate and how your company is contributing. If your employees will be volunteering, your campaign can invite consumers to join your team for a day of volunteering. If you’re underwriting a nonprofit’s advertising, including your name in the messaging is great. You may also consider posting on your company’s social media, The most effective message will be simple, clear and something easy to remember. If relevant, make sure to include a call to action to let your audience know what their next steps are. 

Working with a media partner to craft your message can be a huge advantage. They can help make sure you have an effective message without coming across as too self-congratulatory. As a partner, you are highlighting the nonprofit, not your business.

Match Your Cause Marketing With Your Regular Marketing

Now that you have a cause marketing plan in place, compare it with your annual marketing plan to find opportunities to maximize your message and your impact. 

Sometimes, it might make sense to keep your cause marketing campaigns separate, while other times it might help both your business and the charity to match your messaging. 

If your business goes through seasonal ebbs and flows, perhaps it would be beneficial to focus extra on your cause marketing during slow times. Maybe your busy season happens around the same time as your partner charity’s annual fundraising drive, and including a donation as part of a customer’s purchase can maximize your impact to the charity. 

For example, if the charity plans to collect backpacks and school supplies for students in need and your business is a store that has these supplies, you can come up with a way to make it easy for customers to purchase items to donate while they’re doing their usual shopping with a promise to match customers’ donations. Not only would you be showing support, but you would be collecting donations and generating more traffic in your store because you are giving customers an easy way for them to give to an important cause.

Make any kind of scheduling adjustments or other adjustments as needed to have a smooth transition into your new marketing strategy. 

Cause marketing can enhance your overall marketing message by appealing to your audience’s values and letting them know you care about your community too. It’s a great way to make a positive impact with an important cause while also improving your business’s branding.

Federated Media has raised more than $1,010,500 for nonprofits across both the South Bend and Fort Wayne markets, including almost 5,000 hours donated by more than 120 full-time employees. If you are interested in getting started with cause marketing, we are here to help you. Contact us to get started.

New call-to-action


Written by Federated Media