- Mon, October 04 2010
- Filed under: Cause-related marketing
This is the first of two guest posts from my colleague Kate Olsen at Network for Good - our resident CSR guru. Today she has an update on Cone’s new study - tomorrow she unveils her own study!
As nonprofits, you put the ‘cause’ in cause marketing. Even if your organization doesn’t take an active role in cause marketing partnerships with companies, you still have a stake in how these partnerships affect people’s perceptions of charity. Cone conducts the nation’s longest Cause Branding benchmark study, which assesses how consumers feel about corporate cause marketing efforts. The latest report’s findings reveal 4 lessons that will change how you evaluate cause marketing opportunities for your organization.
1. Cause marketing is mainstream and widely accepted – especially among Moms and Millennials.
• 83% of Americans wish more of the products, services and retailers they use would support causes.
• 95% of Moms find cause marketing acceptable (versus 88% average); and 92% want to buy a product that supports a cause (versus 81% average).
• 94% of Millennials (respondents ages 18-24) find it acceptable for a company to involve a cause or issue in its marketing (versus 88% average).
What this means for your nonprofit: If people are hungry for more ways to support charity through consumer activities, why not get involved in a cause marketing partnership so they can support your organization? Many nonprofits are worried about cultivating the next generation of donors and cause marketing is a great way to start a relationship with those elusive Millennials. Younger donors increasingly seek to integrate their do-gooding with their everyday lives and share their passion for specific causes with their peers. Allowing them to connect with your cause through consumer activities and bring that relationship into their social media networks will help you build your pipeline of support. (Not sure how to frame a cause marketing campaign? Follow Katya Andresen’s 4 Essentials of Cause-Related Marketing to create a successful project.)
2. Consumers are looking for ways to support you – their favorite charity – through corporate cause marketing initiatives.
• 54% of respondents would support a company that supports a cause that is relevant to them personally
• 39% of respondents would support a company that allows them to choose which causes it will support this month or this year (e.g., by voting for the issue/nonprofit).
What this means for your nonprofit: You don’t need to be a traditional cause partner to a company to benefit from cause marketing programs like online voting campaigns (think: Pepsi Refresh Project) or donate-a-thons (think: America’s Giving Challenge). Your supporters are ready to translate their passion for your cause into their everyday consumer activities. All you have to do is help them find those opportunities and make it easy for them to participate. That’s where your incredible communication and social media savvy come into play. (Need to take your communication skills to the next level? Check out resources at fundraising123.org.)
3. Cause marketing is not just about consumer product tie-ins anymore.
• The Cone research demonstrates that opportunities for partnerships between nonprofit causes and company brands are expanding. “Consumers are looking beyond the usual suspects (the products on store shelves; those with a recognized environmental footprint) and holding all industries accountable.”
What this means for your nonprofit: This is great news for nonprofits with missions of importance to niche audiences or strong relationships with specific industries. Don’t think you have a “sexy” issue area that will attract a brand beloved by everyone? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Take the Mosquito Squad and Malaria No More partnership as an example. The Swat Malaria with Mosquito Squad campaign educates about the risks of mosquito bites and raises funds for cause partner Malaria No More and its health programs in Africa. Who knew outdoor living protection was so alluring! It’s time to get creative with your cause marketing partnerships. (Want other examples of clever campaigns? Zoetica’s Geoff Livingston recently showcased a few on Mashable.)
4. Local community issues remain a top priority for many Americans.
• 46% of Americans believe companies should prioritize support of issues that affect the quality of life locally, in local communities.
What this means for your nonprofit: Tailoring a cause marketing partnership to a specific community allows you to tap into the support of your loyal followers – followers you have dutifully cultivated both online and through local outreach. Why not spend your efforts building relationships with local supporters around a cause marketing initiative that matters to them, than try to win millions of new fans across the country who may not care about your cause? (Looking for tips on how to connect with your audience around an issue? Nancy Schwartz’s Getting Attention Blog has some good ones.)
Want to read more about cause marketing best practice? Stay tuned for a new eGuide - Cause Marketing Through Social Media: 5 Steps to Successful Online Campaigns - available tomorrow! Network for Good and Zoetica teamed up to provide this resource for corporations looking to create online social good campaigns like the Pepsi Refresh Project or America’s Giving Challenge. But the lessons apply to nonprofits and cause partners, too.