It’s that time of year again! In your mailbox, between your favorite shows, at check-out registers and even outside your grocery stores: “asks” for money. Good causes doing good things for our neighbors, our community, and our world. In fact, there are some 1.5 MILLION not-for-profits ($25K or more in revenue) in the US. So the question begs, if my personal donation can do so much good, I wonder what my business donation could do?
The answer is LOTS – for both your charity AND your business. It’s called “Cause Marketing” – aligning a for-profit with a not-for-profit (NFP) for a win/win. Engaging with an NFP is not only good for your heart but good for your top line, too.
A good Cause Marketing campaign can increase your sales by 19%*. Some 85% of customers will change brands related to a Cause they care about, 66%* will spend MORE for a product and 63%* will TRY a new product. Just as important, 66% of millennials decide where to work and shop based upon a company’s Cause. Hint, hint: these same millennials will also share your Cause (and promote your business) through their own social media channels and 82% will tell friends and family about the Causes and companies they support.
Doing well by doing good also means doing it right, too! Here are a few best practices for creating an effective Cause Marketing Campaign:
1. Do it for the right reason! People are smart enough to see if your charity campaign has no passion behind it. It’s not about you looking good – it’s about the Cause doing great.
2. To go big, stay home! There are a great many national charities doing great things; however, a donation to a smaller, local charity could be literally a life-saver in serving your local neighbors.
3. Choose a cause which aligns with your company. Restaurant? Consider a food pantry. A store or salon catering to women? Think domestic violence, female veterans or local cancer support groups. Ask your team, your customers, and ask yourself – where does their (and your) passion lie? Most customers actually want to participate in your cause with a separate donation – they want to be part of a solution.
4. Choose wisely. Reach out to the local charity. Meet with them to brainstorm ideas for either financial or time donations (many need volunteers throughout their year for their own fundraisers). See if their board members would be good partners for your business and your campaign. Your “real estate” (meaning your social media platforms, office, retail shop, salon, employees, and customers) can expand their own brand in the community – giving them even greater access to donors and volunteers.
5. Donate wisely. Work within your own business model. A % of the sales price or a specific amount for each sale? An hour of service for each sale?
Make it easy to sell BOTH your Cause and your Donation.
Cause Marketing can be a game changer for your business: differentiating you from an increasingly competitive marketplace, building stronger relationships with your customers, helping to recruit new employees and engaging current team members.
As you build your 2018 Sales and Marketing Plan, consider adding a “Cause Component” to your business!
Editor’s note: Your Keep It Local organization is looking to align with a Cause in 2018. If you have any recommendations, please send them to Sheila@CatalystGetsResults.com
* All statistics come from various studies conducted by Cone Communications.
Thank you, Sheila Neisler for providing this week’s insightful article! Sheila is currently working with Keep It Local in the capacity of Cheif Marketing Officer.