Saturday, 7 December 2013


In today’s challenging economic environment, nonprofit leaders recognize the need to diversify funding sources and develop business alliances that enable them to more effectively and efficiently accomplish their missions.
Cause marketing partnerships can help accomplish both of those objectives. The many benefits of cause marketing for nonprofit organizations include:
  • Increased revenue
  • Enhanced visibility of the cause or the nonprofit’s message
  • Increased volunteer pool
  • Access to new audiences
  • Connections to the corporation’s network of employees, suppliers, distributors, and other contacts
  • Expertise in marketing, strategy development, and other corporate experience

According to Cone’s 2010 Nonprofit Marketing Trend Tracker,
More than three-quarters (78%) of Americans believe a partnership between a nonprofit and a company they trust makes a cause stand out.  When the cause breaks through, consumers are more likely to feel positively about the nonprofit (56%) and actively support it.  As a result of nonprofit-corporate partnerships:
  • 50% are more likely to donate to the nonprofit
  • 49% are more likely to participate in an event for the nonprofit and
  • 41% are more likely to volunteer for the nonprofit.

The IEG Sponsorship Report reports that in 2011, corporate cause sponsorship grew slightly -- up 3.7% to $1.68 billion -- the overall sponsorship category was also up 5.5% in North America. Cause marketing's share of the overall sponsorship market remained at 9%.
Cause marketing is certainly not for every organization.  Even for those nonprofit organizations that put significant emphasis on cause marketing, it is typically not the primary source of funding.   Organizations for whom cause marketing is a fit and are willing to take it seriously can generate substantial revenue and other valuable resources through their cause marketing partnerships.  
Courtesy: CauseMarketingForum

Background and Basics of Cause Marketing


Whether your focus is cause or business or both, you’re bound to run into a sea of new termsand a variety of interpretations of the term “cause marketing”.

Here’s how we define cause marketing:

Cause Marketing encompasses a wide variety of commercial activity that aligns a company or brand with a cause to generate business and societal benefits.

Cause Marketing is Not:
“Social Marketing,” the use by nonprofit and public organizations of marketing techniques to impact societal behavior (e.g. stop smoking, don’t pollute, don’t use drugs, don’t drive drunk.)

nor is it:
“Corporate Philanthropy,” the giving (without expectation of direct corporate gain) of charitable financial and in-kind grants by companies or their corporate foundations.


Although the term "cause-related marketing" is attributed to American Express and its 1983Statue of Liberty Restoration project, the history of cause marketing as we know it today dates back even further.    The actual “first” cause marketing campaign may forever remain a mystery.  For example, Marriott and the March of Dimes conducted a cause-focused campaign in 1976. Famous Amos Cookies and Literacy Volunteers of America also created a long-running cause-related promotion in 1979. American Express copyrighted the term “Cause-Related Marketing” but made no attempt to limit the term’s general use.

Since that time, the terms "cause-related marketing" and "cause marketing" continue to grow in popularity.

The IEG Sponsorship Report shares that in 2011, corporate cause sponsorship grew slightly -- up 3.7% to $1.68 billion -- the overall sponsorship category was also up 5.5% in North America. Cause marketing's share of the overall sponsorship market remained at 9%..

Cause Marketing Pioneers:  Marriott and the March of Dimes

One of the first "cause marketing" campaigns occurred in 1976 through a partnership between Marriott Corporation and the March of Dimes. Marriott’s objective was to generate highly cost-effective public relations and media coverage for the opening of Marriott’s Great America in Santa Clara, CA. 
The March of Dimes' objective was to significantly increase overall donations for their pledge walk and incent their fundraisers to meet a given deadline.  The promotion was conducted simultaneously in 67 cities throughout the Western United States and exceeded all goals to become the most successful promotion in the history of Chapters West of the March of Dimes who received $2.5 million in donations (a 40% increase) by their deadline.  The promotion also resulted in a record-breaking opening day for Great America, attended by 2.2 million people and provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in free publicity.

Cause Marketing Pioneers:  Famous Amos Cookies and Literacy Volunteers of America

Another of the first examples of a "cause-related marketing" campaign was initiated in 1979 by Rosica, Mulhern & Associates for Famous Amos cookies. In this campaign, Wally Amos became the National Spokesperson for the Literacy Volunteers of America. According to the organization, Wally has alerted more people to the illiteracy problem than any other person in history. This strategic cause-marketing tie-in helped to tell the Famous Amos Cookie story while maintaining visibility and is responsible for many new and expanded literacy programs. This case study is now used in university classrooms nationwide as an example of successful "cause-related marketing". 

Cause Marketing Pioneer:  American Express and The Statue of Liberty Restoration Project

American Express entered the scene in 1983 with its iconic Statue of Liberty Restoration project.  Within the campaign period, every American Express card transaction unlocked a penny toward the effort and for each new card issued, a dollar was given to the preservation of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  Over a four-month period, $1.75 million was raised for restoration, new users grew by 17% and transaction activity jumped 28%.  

Courtesy: CauseMarketingForum

Cause Marketing Conference 2014

What is cause-related marketing?
According to cause-marketing consultant Jocelyn Dawcause-related marketing (CRM) is a mutually beneficial collaboration between a corporation and a nonprofit in which their respective assets are combined to:
  • create shareholder and social value
  • connect with a range of constituents (be they consumers, employees, or suppliers)
  • communicate the shared values of both organizations
American Express first used the phrase "cause-related marketing" in 1983 to describe its campaign to raise money for the Statue of Liberty’s restoration. American Express donated one cent to the restoration every time someone used its charge card. As a result, the number of new cardholders grew by 45 percent, and card usage increased by 28 percent.
Other examples of cause-related marketing programs include:
- Requests for small donations for children’s charities at the supermarket checkout
- Public awareness campaigns for HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, and other causes
- Licensing of well-known charity trademarks and logos, like World Wildlife Fund’s panda
CRM is distinct from corporate philanthropy because the corporate dollars involved in CRM are not outright gifts to a nonprofit organization, so they are not treated as tax-deductible charitable contributions. Nonprofits potentially benefit from increased fundraising and exposure. Likewise, corporations that are socially involved potentially benefit from increased brand loyalty and employee morale. Studies have shown that for products of similar quality, consumers will consider the company’s image and reputation when choosing a brand. To find and develop CRM opportunities, nonprofit organizations should expand their research efforts beyond the traditional corporate giving directories and refer to resources in the business departments of public and/or academic libraries.
Courtesy: Grant Space