5 Reasons Your Cause Marketing Should Have Coupons

We've always included coupons on our cause marketing pinups. They have an immediate value at the register when cashiers are asking shoppers to support our cause. "Would you like to donate a dollar to help sick kids? As a thank you, you get these coupons that have $125 in savings."

It's a great one-two punch! But here are four more reasons your cause marketing should have coupons.

Coupons open the door to cross-promotional partners. We learned early on that some retailers would partner with us they could cross-promote with another business. This was the case with Valvoline Instant Oil Change, which wanted to target the minivan-driving moms that shopped at iParty. Now when we recruit a partner we partly base our prospect outreach on what businesses would value cross-promotion in their stores.

Coupons are hot! According to a Ad Age, last year redemption of coupons that go through clearinghouses surged 23% to 3.2 billion coupons (and up 30% to $3.5 billion in value) in the U.S., the first gain in 17 consecutive years. Through the first nine months of 2010, coupon redemption is up another 5.3% to 2.5 billion vs. the year-ago period, with the value of coupons redeemed up 7.7% to $2.8 billion. Consumers are looking for more coupons, which is great for cause marketers like me that rely on point-of-sale programs like pinups where coupons can be added. The surprising news is that consumers of all ages aren't getting their coupons from the internet, they're getting them the old-fashioned way: they're clipping them.

Coupons are overwhelmingly clipped, not downloaded. 2.1 billion coupon redemptions last year came from print inserts. Internet coupons account for just 1% of distributions. So if you think adding coupons to your pinups seems a bit old school, think again. A soon to be released report shows that 91% of consumers ages 25 to 34 use newspaper coupons. Consumers are eager to use coupons and they're getting them almost exclusively offline. And what better place to get your coupons than after donating to a good cause at a favorite store.

Coupons prove that cause marketing works. Coupon redemption during or after a campaign is an excellent way to show partners that cause marketing works and is driving traffic. After successfully helping your cause, this is just the result a business wants. One partner of ours was thrilled when a pinup program brought in 1,100 coupon-bearing customers from cross-partner stores that generated an additional $400,000 in revenue.

Coupons give your cause marketing program a one-two punch, open the door to additional partners and provides the paper trail that cause marketing works. You also have the wind at your back. Coupons are in high demand and consumers get them offline so why not through a pinup.

Why wouldn't you want to include coupons in your next cause marketing program?