Cause-Related Marketing: How it Can Make a Big Difference!

The growing trend of cause-related marketing results from businesses’ increasing desire to demonstrate their social responsibilities.

This marketing strategy focuses on collaborations with charitable causes and non-profit organizations.

This tutorial offers insight into what cause-related marketing is, its benefits, and how to successfully carry out a campaign if you’re thinking about implementing it into your company.

When a for-profit company collaborates with a non-profit or cause-based group, it engages in cause-related marketing.

The relationship aids in raising both the cause and the company’s sales. Both parties receive favorable visibility as a result. Many companies also use celebrity marketing these days in order to achieve higher sales growth. 

??‍♀️What to know about Cause Related Marketing

In 1983, American Express launched the first cause-related marketing (CRM) initiative when it launched a campaign to generate money for the Statue of Liberty’s repair.

American Express gave one penny for each charge card transaction completed due to the successful campaign, which raised over $1.7 million and increased card usage by 27%.

More than 90% of consumers are eager to switch to a brand that promotes a good cause, provided the quality and cost are comparable, according to studies.

CRM may provide non-profit organizations with a number of important advantages, including greater visibility and fundraising.

However, it’s crucial to consider the possible hazards to both parties’ reputations because even a noble goal might be interpreted as exploiting others for profit.

Selfish Giving and similar organizations, as well as materials like “Designing for the greater good: the best in cause-related marketing and non-profit design,” which provides numerous illustrations of effective campaigns and insights into non-profit branding, can be used to understand successful CRM partnerships better.

Digital collections like “Cause Marketing for Non-profits” also offer eBooks on corporate donations.

What is Cause Related Marketing

Cause-related marketing is a tactic in which businesses utilize their marketing initiatives to support a cause or issue that is significant to them.

The purpose is to increase public awareness of the issue and demonstrate the company’s dedication to social responsibility.

You may have seen marketing initiatives from several businesses that support a cause. You engage in a cause-related marketing campaign,

For instance, when you make a purchase from which a portion of the revenue is donated to a charitable organization.

For these initiatives, many businesses team up with non-profits, increasing the reach of the efforts for both sides. Additionally, some companies develop their own causes to promote.

Businesses aiming to improve their brand image might tremendously benefit from cause-related marketing.

As a customer, I prefer businesses that exhibit social responsibility. If I came upon a business through its cause-related marketing campaign, I would be more inclined to learn more about it and support its endeavors.

How it works

Businesses that promote a social cause or issue that is consistent with their values and views are said to be engaging in cause-related marketing.

Companies hope to increase awareness and show their dedication to social responsibility through a campaign.

Companies may opt to support a cause or collaborate with a non-profit organization in this kind of marketing.

The goal is to alter consumers’ perceptions of the brand positively so that they will identify the business with social responsibility.

Cause-related marketing may impact a brand’s reputation and client loyalty long-term, even though its effects aren’t always instantaneous.

For illustration, consider the possibility of a partnership between a fishing equipment supplier and a group dedicated to ocean preservation.

The business supports the cause while enhancing its reputation with clients by giving money and resources and encouraging workers to participate.

Customers get used to the business’s efforts over time, resulting in a more devoted clientele than when employing conventional promotional techniques.

Types of Cause-Related Marketing

A variety of tactics are included in cause-related marketing, including:

Financial Resources

Businesses provide cash resources to a non-profit organization by selling certain products, a set percentage of each transaction, or a general financial gift.


Employers may help charities by encouraging their staff to donate their time and talents. They could also offer volunteer opportunities or arrange activities that support the cause.

Product donations

Businesses provide items, a percentage of sales from a particular item, or a set sum from each sale to non-profit organizations.

Awareness Campaigns

Through marketing initiatives utilizing platforms like social media, email marketing, advertising, or events, businesses seek to draw attention to a problem.

Co-Branded Efforts

Businesses collaborate with non-profits to develop co-branded campaigns that market the cause and both organizations.

Employee involvement

Businesses encourage their staff to donate to a cause by giving them paid time off for volunteering, matching their contributions, or offering other rewards.

Pros and Cons

Advantages Disadvantages 
➜ Over 90% of customers prefer doing business with socially responsible firms, according to a 2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study. Additionally, 89% of clients desire updates on the social projects a business supports.➜ When companies partner with non-profits, they frequently make errors. This is due to the fact that whereas non-profits emphasize money without any commitments, businesses focus on sales and profit. Long-term disputes may result from these conflicting goals.
➜ You may boost sales for your company by satisfying the needs of your target market and acting ethically.➜ Investing in cause marketing to enhance a company’s reputation without guarantees of success may be expensive. This strategy’s success is debatable as it could only appeal to a small portion of the target market.

?Tips for Cause-Related Marketing

Some customers may negatively perceive cause-related marketing because they see it as a tactic businesses use to boost their brand recognition and increase product sales.

The aim of cause-related marketing, however, is to use the platform to promote a deserving cause and have an impact, not only to generate sales.

If done incorrectly, as Pepsi’s contentious protest commercial starring Kendall Jenner demonstrates, it may undermine the brand’s reputation and the cause it is attempting to support.

In order to boost sales and improve the marketing of their goods and services, numerous firms also adopt concentrated marketing.

In order to be successful with cause-related marketing, it’s crucial to:

  • Select a Reputable Cause: To prevent falling for a scam, confirm the charity’s qualifications and tax-exempt status before making any commitments.
  • Ensure Relevance: The selected cause should align with the organization’s goals and values to prevent becoming hypocritical or disingenuous.
  • Make a Direct Impact: If you want to demonstrate your sincerity and establish lasting relationships with the organization, consider volunteering, promoting events, and donating additional resources.
  • Maximize Promotional Efforts: Work with the charity to develop powerful marketing strategies that engage more people and convey a unified message.
  • Engage the Audience: Motivate the audience to take part in the initiative and raise awareness, motivating them to change things too.

?Trends and examples 

Ben & Jerry’s

Popular ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s introduced the limited-edition flavor “Empower Mint” in 2016 to promote awareness of the value of democracy.

The flavor was launched in conjunction with the “Democracy Is In Your Hands” campaign, which sought to inform ice cream lovers about the difficulties low-income groups experience in exercising their right to vote.

The company’s conviction that “voting offers everyone a taste of empowerment” was reflected in the flavor and promotion.

The campaign featured a film that highlighted the unfair voting practices that are experienced by low-income areas and underscored the demand for equitable access to democracy.

Even though the taste is a limited edition, the campaign’s message has been promoted throughout the election season.

The company’s website contains recent news concerning voter suppression and details on how and where to vote.

Since it is an ice cream firm, Ben & Jerry’s bases its campaigns on its key values, the corporation is a major advocate of democracy, and the “Democracy Is In Your Hands” campaign provided a means for the company to do so by introducing a new product.


On the website Bandcamp, performers may share and buy music from fans. Additionally included on the website are labels that give their artists e-commerce opportunities.

It was recently discovered that some streaming sites only provide musicians with a small portion of the royalties.

Bandcamp decided to take action in 2020 by temporarily waiving their portion of sales on designated days to promote independent musicians.

This campaign was developed to ensure that artists are fairly compensated for their labor.

The platform receives a 15% profit from digital music purchases and a 10% commission from physical product sales outside of Bandcamp Fridays.

This demonstrates Bandcamp’s dedication to helping people who utilize their platform by indicating that 25% of the purchases go directly to the artists.


In order to disrupt the conventional beauty standards for women, Billie, a business that offers razors and feminine care products, launched a new campaign in 2019 dubbed “Project Body Hair.”

The advertising campaign was introduced with a film that was the first for a razor company to feature women’s body hair, sparking discussion about this sometimes disregarded facet of feminine attractiveness.

Billie invites its customers to join the campaign by utilizing the #projectbodyhair hashtag on social networking sites and creating a library of women who accept body hair in order to continue the discourse.

By selling razors while clarifying that it is not pushing hairless beauty standards, the firm further highlights its support for abolishing the “pink tax.”

Beauty Bakerie

A cosmetics company declared that they would observe Juneteenth in 2020 rather than the Fourth of July. The day of Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, commemorates the abolition of slavery in America on June 19, 1865.

Beauty Bakerie, a Black-owned company, posted a message on its Instagram page emphasizing the significance of addressing and destroying oppressive institutions.

By holding its inaugural Juneteenth Festival, which featured a site-wide discount, guest speaker panels, instructional materials, and more, the company demonstrated its dedication to civil rights.

The festival, which was held on their website, sought to inform clients about the company’s decision to observe this holiday and celebrate emancipation and freedom.

Mythical Kitchen

The #LeftoversChallenge was recently introduced by Josh Scherer, the presenter of the YouTube culinary channel Mythical Kitchen, along with the hosts of other food channels Binging with Babish’s Andrew Rea and First We Feast’s Alvin Cailan.

The Restaurant Workers Community Foundation, an organization committed to enhancing the working conditions in the restaurant sector, was the beneficiary of this campaign. Making food more accessible was the aim of the fundraiser.

The #LeftoversChallenge encourages participants to create creative meals out of leftovers and post them online with the designated hashtag. Additionally, the designers offered contribution links and exhorted their followers to give.

A total of 50% of the funds generated were provided to jobless restaurant workers, 25% were donated to local non-profits that serve the community, and the other 25% was utilized to provide zero-interest loans to struggling eateries.

The initiative was a great success, earning more than $35,000 to aid businesses that could not deliver, had to fire staff members, or had financial difficulties.

Scherer accomplished a significant cause-related marketing initiative that increased awareness of food accessibility by working with several platforms.

FAQs on Cause-Related Marketing

What is the definition of marketing with a social impact?

A strategic alliance between a for-profit firm and a non-profit group called “cause-related marketing” (CRM) aims to advance both the business’s sales and the charitable organization’s cause. In 1983, American Express used the phrase for a campaign to generate money for the Statue of Liberty’s renovation.

What aspects of cause-related marketing are there?

Cause-related marketing entails a business collaborating with a non-profit organization to market both the firm and the cause. The objective is to raise both groups’ visibility and goodwill.

Why is cause marketing different from cause-related marketing?

A marketing strategy known as “cause marketing” involves a corporation advertising its goods while working to further a cause. Contrarily, cause-related marketing entails a company’s partnership with a non-profit group.

Is marketing for social causes profitable?

Cause marketing may indeed be a successful tactic. Without needing to include new features or perks, it enables a business to raise the profitability of its goods or services. The business may charge more for the same good or service it offers as its rivals, increasing sales.

What is a good illustration of a cause-related marketing approach?

A campaign where a business works with a non-profit organization and donates a portion of the sales revenue to the charity is an illustration of cause-related marketing. Expanding the audiences of both parties is advantageous.

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