Although corporations and not-for-profits have been teaming up for decades, “cause marketing” partnerships have recently gained new popularity.
Types of relationships
Whatever your not-for-profit’s mission, location or size, you’re likely to find a cause marketing relationship that works. Common forms include:
Transactional giving. These programs often involve online platforms that enable shoppers to donate a dollar amount or percentage of each purchase to their chosen charities. Or donors may be able to convert customer-loyalty program rewards (such as airline miles) into cash contributions.
Message promotion. A company may promote a cause-focused message, usually related to its own products.
Licensing. Here, a company pays to use your nonprofit’s name and branding on its products. Note that licensing partnerships can have legal complications and usually are recommended for larger, more sophisticated organizations.
Cause marketing offers clear benefits for nonprofits. Corporate financing and business expertise can help your organization increase its visibility and educate new audiences about your cause. And new connections with your corporate partner’s customers, vendors, employees and other stakeholders potentially open up all kinds of avenues for growth.
But what’s in it for companies? When a cause marketing partner provides funds or services to a nonprofit, it’s ideally rewarded with an enhanced public image, greater customer loyalty and other marketing advantages.
If you decide to pursue a cause marketing campaign, look for a company with a mission and culture that are sympathetic to your own and that offers products or services that are related to your programming. Also, unless your nonprofit has nationwide reach, partner with an established and reputable local business.
Finally, don’t forget to consider the legal or tax consequences of cause marketing. We can help you work through the issues to help ensure a beneficial partnership.