Learn more about Cause Marketing and Non Profit Engagement with Transformative Digital Marketing, an Amazon best seller by Bill Eager, Jason Cormier and James Clark.

The most engaging stories are the ones based on true life.   And what better story is there then when you help make the world a better place?  Enter the era of social responsibility where cause marketing celebrates both what you do and who you help.  The hero of the story is your company, brand and customers… everyone takes this journey together.  It is a fact that customers respond extremely well to brands that support or have partnerships with worthy causes.   According to a Cone Cause Evolution Survey, the percentage of consumers who  would switch from one brand to another when the second brand is associated with a good cause has jumped to 87 percent.  And according to a Nielsen survey 40% of consumers say they would pay extra for products from companies that are committed to positive impacts. That’s significant.

When you deliver on the promise of your commitment to a cause; customers make the connection and cause marketing creates good will and stories that surpass results achieved with traditional ad dollars.  Consumers forge an emotional connection that is stronger than the connection they make with standard advertising.  From a marketing expense viewpoint, you get a lot of bang for your buck.  The stories you get from helping a non-profit are both human and diverse.  You can capture real people sharing their stories about the benefits of the campaign.  Lots of them.

And, because new things may be happening every week, you can leverage this flow of story to add value to the content stream that social requires.  Don’t forget, the non-profit(s) you work with also have an incentive to promote the campaign because of the upside they receive.  They will be putting you into their social media campaigns and creating content that you can use.  Your brand, the non-profit, the customer and the beneficiary of the service.  Cause marketing is a win-win-win-win.  Here are some keys for success:

Key #1 – Choose a cause that is related to your products and services. 

Find a cause where what you do is directly related to the people who need assistance.  It makes it easy to help; and it makes it easy for consumers to make the connection and it makes the affiliation between your brand and the non-profit much stronger.   If you sell toys it might be better to give toys to needy children then, perhaps food.

Key # 2 – Ensure authenticity.

Authenticity counts, especially with Millennials!   It means you walk-the-talk with cause marketing because the topic is important to you… and it reflects your company vision.  Dave Thomas, founder of the Wendy’s restaurant chain, never knew his birth mother, and was adopted by a couple from Kalamazoo, Michigan when he was 6 months old.  He started his Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption® which for more than 20 years has helped thousands of children waiting in foster care experience family memories and has exceeded 5,000 adoptions.

Key # 3 – Make your goodwill understandable.

Consumers and audiences cannot get behind something they don’t understand.  Make your donation easy to comprehend, such as a certain number of people, a specific location, one event.  It gets lost when you say you will give “2% of sales” to an organization.  When a Food Bank states that “$20 provides 50 nutritious meals” or “$120 feeds a family of 4 for 1 month”… well you know exactly what they mean.

Key # 4 – Deliver on your promise.

If you are going to help cancer patients, help them.   If you enter a relationship with a non-profit to make a difference, then your customers and audiences will expect that you actually do some good.  If you don’t deliver it will be worse for your brand, and sales, then if you never tried.