Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cause Marketing Opportunities for your Business

By Kathy Kelley, Professor of Horticultural Marketing and Business Management    
 
It is October and many of us think a bit more about charities and cause marketing this month.  Over the past couple of years, Dana has written a couple of blogs about building a cause marketing program for your business: charitable activities and cause marketing products. I wanted to add a bit more to this important discussion.

It is suggested that consumers “feel good” about spending their money on goods that support a cause.  With so many local, national, and international causes already being supported by your customers’ generosity, how can you compete with them and the businesses that sponsor them?  Consider the following which could help bolster your cause marketing program:

  • Make sure that the donation process is transparent.   For each dollar that you collect you need to show how and where these funds were distributed.  Consumers who do not see any progress associated with the money they donated may very well choose not to donate anymore.  Be sure to indicate on your website, in your promotional activities, and in-store that money collected helps to do great things. 
  • Consider a cause that has a natural connection with your business.  Perhaps a member of the business has suffered from a disease that could benefit from a donation.   Or, if fruit and vegetables are your primary product why not support a cause that helps eliminate hunger?
    Here is an example of cause marketing.  This local baker will
    donate a portion of the proceeds from these cookie
    sales to Traci's Hope, an organization that provides
    financial support to breast cancer patients

Promote that you are accepting donations in addition to selling a product or two where the proceeds go directly to support the cause.  You, as the business owner, may assume that consumers would automatically understand that there is more than one way to support a cause; however, it may not occur to consumers that they can make a donation in place of making a purchase.              

Finally, involve employees in more than just the process of collecting donations or indicating to customers what purchases support the cause.  Involve them in the process of selecting the cause and associated administration needed to support events or activities.  The more employees support the effort the more likely they are to alert customers that your business is involved in collecting donations to help those in difficult situations.

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