Cause marketing is the term used when businesses partner up with a worthy cause. The idea is that cause marketing helps the business because people feel good purchasing the product. At the same time, it also helps a worthy cause get more money (and eyeballs) because businesses have influence.
Cause marketing is a part of the social entrepreneurship movement and it’s everywhere. You won’t have to go too far to find a company that has partnered up with some sort of non-profit or campaign.
In fact, you may have spent some of your own hard-earned dollars with a particular company precisely because they partnered up with a specific cause that matters to you.
The reality is you can use cause marketing in your own business to both make money and make the world a better place. However, there’s a right way to do it. Here are some of the tips I learned recently at an Art Basel panel that was all about social entrepreneurship and cause marketing.
Find a cause that actually makes sense for your business.
As with everything marketing, it’s all about finding the best fit for your business.
It’s also about clear brand messaging. If you have a coaching business that empowers women it may not make sense to partner up with an environmental non-profit because it’s not a good fit from a branding perspective.
This was a struggle I had in my own business as I reached a place where I could start focusing on cause marketing. At first, I thought I would partner up with an organization that helps women with financial literacy. The issue with that is my audience is split pretty evenly between men and women so it doesn’t make the most sense.
On the other hand, a partnership with an organization that focuses on helping children with financial literacy makes perfect sense. Everyone can get behind that and it fits with my brand.
Tap into your network.
Once you have an idea of the cause you’d like to contribute to, you actually have to find an organization to partner with.
This is where tapping into your network comes in handy. Chances are someone in your professional network knows someone else who can connect you with somebody at a great organization.
Simply asking for help can go a long way too. I did this at the event I attended and walked away with contacts at three organizations I can potentially partner with.
Talk to your accountant.
You can’t expect a finance nerd to not talk about money, even if this article is about cause marketing. The reality is that if there are donations involved, cause marketing could affect your taxes.
When deciding how you’re going to partner up, check in with your accountant to see how partnering up with a cause or campaign could affect your business taxes.
Note, participating in cause marketing may do nothing in terms of taxes depending on the situation and how much money is donated, but it’s better to double check.
Cause marketing is a fantastic way to simultaneously help your business while also helping a great cause. If you’ve considered participating in cause marketing, use these tips to help you do it properly.