Cause Marketing Campaigns – Look Before You Leap

August 16, 2017

This guest post is by P.J. Chambers of WebIXI, presenter of “Cause Marketing: Convincing the For-Profit World to ‘Out Care’ Their Competition”, part of the Speak Up, Speak Out track at this year’s conference. Learn more and register here:  

What started as an advertising campaign by American Express to raise funds for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty back in 1980 has exploded into a $2 billion industry in 2016.

Cause Marketing Campaigns have been growing in popularity over the years, and suddenly many nonprofit organizations are jumping on the bandwagon to see if it could work for their cause. But does it?

Well, let’s face it – if it didn’t work, we wouldn’t see the NFL wearing pink on their uniforms.

However, many nonprofits tend to jump into cause-related marketing without doing their own proper homework first, thinking that any potential partnership that brings in donations and awareness will be beneficial for the organization. This can lead to extremely embarrassing situations and massive PR blunders – does everyone remember the infamous Pink Buckets at KFC? I’m sure the Susan G. Komen organization does.

So what can a nonprofit organization do to both help ensure that a cause-marketing campaign will be the right marketing effort with the right company?

 Let’s start by asking ourselves a few questions –

  • What is my goal and objective? What do I want to accomplish for my organization by doing this? It is honestly alarming how often this question is overlooked.
  • Who am I trying to reach with this marketing campaign? We need to define marketing personas for the people we wish to reach with our efforts. By defining these, it will help shape the narrative we tell.
  • What qualities does the ideal partner possess? Just because a company is willing, does not make them the right choice for the campaign.
  • What does my nonprofit bring to the table? A cause marketing campaign needs to be beneficial for all parties – not just the nonprofit. What do you bring to the table? How will your organization or this campaign help the for profit business?

These are a few great questions to start the conversation about a cause marketing campaign and if it is the best way to accomplish your goals as an organization.

Join us at the Maryland Nonprofits 2017 Annual Conference in October, where we will be discussing Cause Marketing in more detail.

About the Author 

P.J. Chambers is President of WebIXI, a family owned and operated Online Marketing Firm based in Harford County, Maryland.  Founded in 1995, which is “literally forever in this industry”, Chambers and his family believe in improving the local community.  A few of the most recent accomplishments include:      

2015 – Chambers became a “Standards for Excellence Licensed Consultant”     
2015 – WebIXI awarded the “Governor’s Volunteer Service Certificate” from Governor Hogan and the State of      Maryland for their Nonprofit Advisory Group Initiative     
2014 – Chambers named “Member of the Year” for the Harford County Chamber of Commerce     
2013 – WebIXI named one of the “Top 100 Small Businesses” in the Nation by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce 
2013 – Chambers named one of “Harford’s Most Beautiful People” by the Harford County Department of  Community Services     
2012 – WebIXI received the “Harford Award” from the Harford County Chamber of Commerce