The Benefits of Cause-Marketing to Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) – part 2

The benefits to the non-profit organisation involved

The non-profit organisation involved in the collaboration will benefit in several ways. Perhaps most important will be the funds received from the donation, which of course is always needed by such organisations, but they will benefit in other ways too. Their organisation will be advertised on packaging, bringing awareness of their work and their mission. They will also benefit from an alliance with a reputable manufacturer or service business. People will associate the charity with a well-known consumer brand, and presume that the charity involved must be reputable and deserving. It increases the public profile of their organisation. With many bogus charities trying to scam us out of our money, people are quite rightly wary of charities they are not familiar with. Teaming up with a big brand can make a lesser know charity a household name.

The benefits to businesses

The benefits to business are manifold. While some profit is lost, with the donation from each sale, many businesses find that this is actually offset by the increase in sales such a campaign provokes. In fact, the donation to charity might be quite small compared to the profits made from the campaign due to the increase in sales. While at first thought it may seem like a philanthropic project, a Cause-Marketing campaign can often, in reality be very profitable for the business involved. Sales of products marked with such advertising can increase dramatically. People are increasingly ethically minded. The sale of fair-trade produce is ever increasing. People like to feel they are doing their bit for charity, and if they can do that by simply swapping their brand of washing powder rather than having to reach into their own pockets, then they often will do so.

With a Cause-Marketing advertising campaign, people’s perception of your brand will change too. You will be seen as a company that cares. In a time when people are quite prepared to change brands if they hear a company has behaved unethically, it is of great importance to ensure your company is seen to be ethical, environmentally friendly and fair. A bad reputation is very hard to shake off. Working on your reputation is a very important aspect of marketing that should not be overlooked.

It is well worth including Cause-Marketing as part of your marketing strategies. There are thousands of non-profit organisations that would be happy to partner with you, you’re sure to find a good match for your business. If you are a local business involved with the local community, partnering with a local charity makes a lot of sense. This could also gain you extra advertising in the local press. Or you could tie your partnership in with your product. If your product is made from paper for instance, or uses a lot of cardboard packaging, teaming up with an organisation that protects the rainforest would ensure that your customers know that you are committed to minimising your impact on the environment.

Another tip is to think about the market for your product and pick an organisation that will appeal most to your main purchasers. For example, if you produce a range of baby toiletries, then a children’s charity would be a good partnership. Parents buying such products are likely to support such a concern.

Associating yourself with a charitable concern can also have longer-lasting, more far-reaching effects. People will continue to think more positively about your products and business long after your campaign is over, and it may even influence people’s decisions to apply for jobs when you are recruiting. A company considered ethical and caring is a desirable employee. If they care about the environment or animals, then they’ll care about their employees right? Research shows that employees have a higher opinion of their employer if they run a Cause-Marketing program. Increased employee loyalty can be hard to earn, but this is one way to show your staff what your brand stands for.

It can also increase the confidence of stakeholders in your brand. Initiating a Cause-Marketing campaign could see your share prices rise. People are often more willing to invest in a business that is known to behave ethically.

Of course, when the donation to the charity is dependant on the volume of sales, you can’t lose. You’ll perhaps have printing costs for adding the information to your packaging, but there will be no major financial outlay. In the unlikely event that the campaign is not a success, then your donation level will be low. If the campaign dramatically increases your sales, well your donation will be higher, but you’ll have made a much larger profit to cover it.

A partnership with a non-profit organisation could be for a particular event or period of time, or it could be an on-going collaboration that can be mutually beneficial for decades to come. In time consumers will come to associate your brands with each other. In a time of increased feelings of social and environmental responsibility, teamed with an era of decreasing incomes, Cause-Marketing is the solution that can keep everyone happy.

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

Categories:   Marketing