During the holiday season, charitable giving is a common theme among many businesses and organizations – whether it’s food bank donations, buying toys for needy children, donating to children’s hospitals, etc. While people generally think about giving more around this time of year, that doesn’t mean that businesses have to limit charity to just the holiday season. Cause marketing campaigns are a great way to not only give back to the community, but also show your corporate responsibility throughout the year.

Some of the most widely successful cause marketing campaigns have essentially become a brand themselves. Take, for example, the Susan G. Komen foundation and “pink” products. From pink blenders to pink cleats in the NFL, that color has almost immediate brand recognition for breast cancer awareness. The same can be said for the (RED) campaign for aids awareness that was adopted by Apple and Gap, among other companies. Even though your local businesses might not have the world-wide reach that these campaigns do, that doesn’t mean you can’t craft a successful cause marketing campaign of your own on a smaller scale.

A recent study shows that when choosing between similar products, 55% percent of consumers opt for the one with “added social benefit.” Numbers like that show that cause marketing will give your products or services an extra advantage in the eyes of your consumers. Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating your next cause marketing campaign.


1. Choose a cause that people can connect with

There are lots of worthwhile charitable organizations out there, but let’s face it, some resonate with consumers more than others. Chances are local customers will be much more likely to help the cause for their local food bank or underprivileged kids rather than contributing funds to help save a bizarre rare species in the rainforest. Every community is different and each will have certain charities or organizations that people really care about. Do your research and find one that not only people can connect with, but also one that will provide the most good with your contributions.


2. Define your contribution

Once you’ve chosen a worthwhile cause to contribute to, next you need to define exactly what that contribution involves. Whether you’re donating a certain percentage of proceeds, a dollar amount for every specific product sold, or material goods like pounds of food or school supplies, make sure it’s quantifiable and easy for people to visualize. Those who are willing to give or participate in your cause generally like to know how they’re personally contributing.


3. Get the word out

You won’t have much success with your cause marketing campaign if people don’t even know about it. Create awareness of your campaign through on-site displays and by incorporating it into your other marketing tactics. Social media is also a great, inexpensive way to create buzz about your cause marketing campaign. If your cause is community-based, contact your local news media to see if they’ll pick up a story about what you’re doing. Even after your campaign is over and your contributions have been raised, don’t let the publicity stop there. Let people know about what you did or the lives you touched with the money or contributions they helped raise.

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