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Published on December 15th, 2009 | by Janine Popick

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Cause Marketing: Giving Profits to Charity

I recently walked into a holiday decoration store in a mall. Neat ornaments, nice decorations, and since it was a new store I told the gentleman behind the counter that it was a great place. “Thanks”, he said, “All of the stores proceeds goes to AIDS awareness and all of the employees here are volunteers.” Shocked and inspired I wanted to buy something on the spot. I did one more whirl around the store because I thought I missed a sign that told me that. I found none.

I walked out astonished. If I’d never said anything to the nice volunteer, I’d probably never know what a great cause. Sad, because so many people who were just looking, may have purchased something had they known.

Since the 80′s more and more larger corporations have snuggled up to Cause Marketing. We’ve all seen the Product RED campaign where companies like the Gap or Nike, give back to  the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis andMalaria for every piece of RED clothing that is purchased. And we’re not strangers to Susan G. Komen and the many retailers that offer something relating to the pink ribbon for breast cancer.

But smaller businesses are jumping on the bandwagon to help. In a down economy non-profits find it increasingly difficult to get their usual donors to act, so there’s never been a better time to help out if you can.

At VerticalResponse we give email marketing for free     to any non-profit, especially the small ones that really need the help that we can give. So instead of choosing just one, we choose thousands. We do it because we believe in it, there’s  nothing in it for us except the great feeling we get helping those whose mission is to help others. Our company also matches our employee’s Kiva donations, we encourage employees to make micro loans to entrepreneurs in 3rd world countries. We also donate hundreds of hours of employees’ time to making our community better, to causes like Project Homeless Connect and the San Francisco Education Fund. All of this wrapped up in one, makes us all feel great about working for a company that cares, and hopefully shows the type of company we aim to be.VR Staff Volunteering

So it’s never too late to get yourself active with a non-profit partner you believe in. Consumers these days more and more are looking at who they buy from. They want to patron companies that are doing good things for people, animals, and the environment. So why not give your prospects a reason to make a choice and give your customers a reason to keep coming back?

Remember my blog where I said you’re not in control of your brand anymore, your customer is? One of the things they might be looking for these days is what you stand for. If you offer a similar product or service as a competitor, your cause just might be the thing that pushes them to your business over the competition.

Get Started!

1. What’s your cause? – You might want to ask your employees what they care about getting behind or pick something that has had an effect on you in your life.

2. How much can you afford? Make sure you include in your budget that you’ll be giving a percentage away to your cause. You certainly want this to benefit your business, not hurt it.

3. Market your cause – If you’ve got a retail store, like the one in the beginning of this post, make sure you have proper signage about your cause in your store window and around your property. Print it on all materials and display it prominently on your website. Make sure the cause your supporting knows about it too, they may even include you on their site like RED does for it’s partners.

Include it in all of your email marketing campaigns along with a link to the cause. Driving them new donors is also beneficial to them. Make sure if you’re using social media like Facebook you become a member of your cause, and make sure you talk about your involvement on Twitter and Facebook.

4. Talk about your success – Make sure once you get to a place that seems significant, get loud and proud. Talk about the amount of money your cause received because of the profits you were able to give. Tell stories about lives that may have been saved, or successes of the cause because of businesses like yours. People love to do business with a winner and you and your staff will feel great about the work you do.

Ingrain cause marketing in your company and it could be a boost to business, a boost for your cause and a boost for employee morale for years to come.

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About the Author

is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse.



20 Responses to Cause Marketing: Giving Profits to Charity

  1. Altai Mir University is the grateful recipient of your pro bono service for nonprofits. One small way we directly reciprocate is by thanking you on our home page (www.AltaiMir.org), with your logo, linked to your website. Thank you!!!

  2. I want to add my thank you to this long list. From Animal-Kind International, thank you Vertical Response for this free service. 100% of the donations to AKI go directly to animal welfare organizations in developing countries, and we have 0% overhead. Thanks to VR we are still at 0% overhead–but much more professional looking with our new newsletter template!
    Karen Menczer
    Director, Animal-Kind International
    http://www.animal-kind.org

  3. Thank you so very much for your service and gift to us in the non-profit industry. Our ministry is so greatful for you. We pass through 100% of donations so therefore we do not have the funds to invest in e-mail marketing. Your service allows us to market through e-mail and track our e-mail success! From all of us at Orphanos and our partner orphanages around the world please know you are helping us so much! God bless and Merry Christmas!
    Jennifer Ragland
    Communications Coordinator
    Orphanos Foundation
    orphanos.org

  4. Paul Klassen says:

    Thank you Vertical Response for helping us find and connect the people that have a heart to reach out to the poor and destitute. You enable those that cry for help to be heard and receive the help they so desperately need.
    Paul Klassen
    Executive Director
    Hope For Israel Relief Fund
    http://www.thehopeforisrael.org
    1-877-355-5779

  5. Sheeba Rajender G says:

    We the members of St.Mary’s Educational Society, India thank the Vertical Response, from the bottom of our hearts for supporting small non-profit organization irrespective of country. We thank them in advance for their work and Wish them Happy Holidays and GOD bless VR
    Sheeba Goneh
    Management Professional
    St.Mary’s Educational Society, India
    http://www.stmaryseducationalsociety.ning.com

  6. We cannot thank Vertical Response enough for the help they have given us this year. As a very small faith based nonprofit, VR is an integral part of our mission to the very poor of Haiti, Rwanda and Uganda.
    Martha Shirkey
    Gateway Center for World Mission
    http://www.gatewaycwm.org

  7. Dana Doan says:

    Thank you for your support to NPOs around the world. Our not-for-profit is small, just three staff, so we depend on e-communication to reach out and stay connected to our volunteers, donors and strategic partners. Thanks for making this possible!
    Dana Doan
    LIN Center for Community Development
    Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
    http://www.LINvn.org

  8. Tom Carroll says:

    Dear Janine,
    As a small charity working in Africa to assist some of the poorest people on the planet we at Vita would like to thank Vertical Response for your support to Charities such as ours.
    With Best Wishes for the Holidays,
    Tom Carroll
    http://www.vita.ie

  9. Charles Kaluwasha says:

    It gratifying to see VR supporting lots of Charitable organizations in the local communities and abroad!. This shows your are for the people and giving back to society. keep it up, your works will never be forgotten.
    Charles Kaluwasha
    http://www.lifeonthenet7.com

  10. Greetings Vertical Response,
    The fact that you offer your program free to nonprofits has been a wonderful gift to our grassroots newly established child care program created for working families in Oakland, CA.
    We have the definite shoestring budget of a new nonprofit, and could not have afforded yet another expense; more or less the very expensive cost of another marketing option.
    We thank Vertical Response for your consideration and generosity-it has helped our agency tremendously.
    Thank you!
    Rachel Aoanan, CEO/Founder
    Building Bridges Child Development Center (BBCDC), Oakland, CA
    http://www.buildingbridgescdc.org

  11. Thank you – I’ve been spreading the word about Vertical Response! Your contribution goes a long way – helping small nonprofits like our arts organization to reach out to artists, audiences and our community. On behalf of TOPAZ ARTS, Inc. many, many thanks!

  12. Thank you for the help this year. NW Documentary, a non-profit storytelling center in Portland, has been thrilled with the support from Vertical Response.

  13. Steve G says:

    My wife and I recently started a web site for the sole purpose of being able to raise money and awareness for animal rescues.. We keep just enough to run the site and donate pretty much everything else to animal charities each month..
    We love doing it and while it does add quite a bit of work to our day, it has given us the opportunity to really help at a level we were unable to before..

  14. Dear Vertical Response
    Thank you so much for your support of the Southwest Institute for ViolenceFree Learning (SWIVL).
    We only wish we could do more with Vertical Response – there is so much that your company provides to nonprofits like us.
    Warm regards:
    Yale WIshnick, Ed.D.
    http://www.swivl.org

  15. I want to take this opportunity to thank Vertical Response for giving us a free account. As a small UK charity where UK admin volunteer our services so that some of the poorest in Bangladesh and elsewhere can be helped, every penny saved helps us immensely. So THANK YOU vertical response:)
    Kind Regards,
    Sahar
    Chairman
    http://www.MercyMankind.org

  16. As the Executive Director of a very small nonprofit organization (Faith in Action – Supporting Senior Independence) I can’t begin to tell you how much it means to us for you to donate your services to us.
    We are a volunteer-based organization: volunteers carry out all of our services, which are for disabled elderly persons in our community, most of whom are low-income and living alone. We have a tiny budget, subsidized office space, and three part-time staff people. We would not be able to afford the service you provide at a market rate.
    Vertical Response allows us to regularly communicate with our 100+ member volunteer corps; with our supporting organizations such as churches and local businesses; and with other charitable organizations in the community.
    If you could find a way to persuade the age 85 and up demographic to have email accounts and check their email regularly, we’d be communicating with our clients through Vertical Response, too!
    Thank you so much for this help. We are able to serve our frail elders because of caring businesses like yours.

  17. Olin Lagon says:

    As a recipient of your donated email newsletter services, mahalo! Not only do we get an awesome service, your team also provides amazing technical support. Thanks again.

  18. CarbonPig says:

    As the owner of a caused based company, I have a lot to say about this. Overall, I am very supportive of what VR is doing, but I’d like to elaborate.
    On my site:
    http://www.carbonpig.com
    We help to build renewable energy projects, so we’re already doing the giving as we go.
    We believe that companies should integrate a giving component into every profit component. In this way we can all reap the “spillover” effects.
    We hope that many people will consider adding a giving component to their operations like CarbonPig.com and Vertical Response.
    Cheers,
    Matt Oden
    CarbonPig Founder

  19. Paul Dawley says:

    It’s wonderful to see other companies help even when times are tough. Perfect Solutions Software, Inc. donated six computer to Big Brother Big Sister this year. We hope next year we can donate much more.

  20. Mark Powell says:

    We thank Vertical Response, from the bottom of our hearts, for the support it provides to a small but vibrant non-profit arts organization like Cappella Romana. One reason for our vibrancy is our ability to reach our patrons and supporters effectively through the tools VR makes available to us. Thank you and happy holidays!
    Mark Powell
    Executive Director
    Cappella Romana Vocal Ensemble
    http://www.cappellaromana.org

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