6 Tips to Launching a Successful Cause Marketing Program

Cause marketing is a term used to describe a company’s efforts to partner with a solution to a societal problem.  Nowadays there are a number of “social enterprises” that exist to sell something AND bring awareness to or solve a social problem.  But, even if your business is not a social enterprise, you may benefit from creating a cause marketing program that customers an rally behind.  Consider these tips before launch your program.

  1. Align program with your corporate marketing strategy.  You can drive awareness of and preference for your brand through cause marketing.  An effective program must aligned with your overall marketing strategy.  If consumers cannot make the connection between your support and the charitable cause, it’s less likely that your program will have a positive effect on your brand.
  2. Develop criteria for potential nonprofit partners.  It’s best to develop a list of criteria for your nonprofit charitable partner.  There are a number of charity evaluators (like Charity Navigator) that offer criteria for consideration.  You should also consider criteria that are specific to your needs.  For instance, if you are trying to grow in a specific region, you may want to identify a nonprofit who serves in that region.
  3. Interview other donors of your potential partner.  It’s always a good idea to talk to references.  Charitable partners who have good relationships with other donors will want you to talk with those donors.  Once you find a partner, ask for reporting that helps you evaluate your program. Other donors or partners have likely asked for something similar.  Find out if they delivered as expected.
  4. Define success.  As with any marketing program, you should have specific goals that delineate what a successful campaign will look like.  Are you looking to increase the number of clients served by the nonprofit organization?  Are you expecting to improve your own brand image?  Defining goals will help you measure progress after the program is implemented.
  5. Identify an executive champion.  Your internal champion should be from your leadership team and well-versed in your cause marketing strategy.  This leader should ensure that the program is integrated with your other marketing efforts.  They can also serve as your spokesperson regarding the cause and your commitment to it.
  6. Measure results.  And, refine as needed.