The Benefits of Cause-Marketing to Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) – part 1

Cause-Marketing is the joining together of a for-profit business, with a non-profit organisation, for mutual benefit. For example, a product may donate money for each item purchased, to a particular charity. Sometimes this is related to the product, for instance, when you buy cat food, money from the purchase could be donated to an animal charity, but equally this may not be the case. The collaboration of any business with any charitable concern is possible.

Cause-Marketing is big business. When people are buying a particular product, they usually have a lot of choice. Consumers will make their choice based on price and on quality, but research shows, if two products are considered equal, the product featuring Cause-Marketing advertising is the product that is most likely to be chosen. In fact, social purpose has become an increasingly important factor in consumer purchasing decisions over recent years.

Many companies will donate money to charity, but an on-pack Cause-Marketing campaign is by far the biggest pull for consumers and it’s a brilliant concept. While it’s not a new innovation, it is increasingly a highly effective way to increase sales and increase your profile, with wide-reaching benefits for both parties. Up to now you may have thought that companies partake in these activities just because they care about the charity involved, or perhaps you’ve taken that thought a step further and thought perhaps they are doing it to raise their own profile, to make them look like a company that cares, but, while such a campaign is of course very beneficial to the non-profit organisation involved, this is no act of altruism. Many businesses make a lot of money by running such an on-pack campaign, the increase in profits far outweighing any charitable donation. We shouldn’t be cynical though, it’s a real win-win situation that does a lot of good. Charities receive a huge amount of money from businesses from Cause-Marketing campaigns every year. This extra money has and will change lives.

Research shows, consumers prefer to buy from businesses that do some good. They feel good when their purchase is doing some good. It’s that feel-good factor that pushes sales of Cause-Marketing led products. There’s a big difference between simply buying a packet of biscuits for your own pleasure, and buying a packet of biscuits knowing that by purchasing them, you are helping a wildlife charity in the process. A lot of people these days feel guilty that they aren’t doing enough for charity, but personal finances prevent direct donations. With this type of marketing, people can feel like they are doing some good, without having to spend their own money. This is what will drive them to pick up your product, instead of a similar product on the shelf, that isn’t running a Cause-Marketing campaign.

This partnership is not simply an act of kindness by businesses, it’s a mutually beneficial partnership. The business involved will benefit just as much, if not more so than the charity receiving the donation. Finding a partner isn’t hard, charities struggle to raise funds, and always need more. There are so many deserving non-profit organisations out there that would be very grateful for the money, and the advertising, teaming up with your business would bring.

– End of Part One –

In Part Two we’ll look at the many benefits of Cause-Marketing in greater detail.

Lincoln Martin is pioneering a “social impact” business model, called Client+Agency+NGO Partnership (#CANpartner). To learn more on cause-related marketing projects and how to give back to the community, write to

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