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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.

© 2009 – 2013, Janine Popick. All rights reserved.

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is a contributing author for VerticalResponse.



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