What's The Best Cause Marketing Program for My Business?

The last time I talked about cause marketing for businesses I looked at how to pick a cause partner. Once you have partner, the question becomes what should you do for a cause marketing program that will best serve the cause and your business (remembering, of course, that cause marketing is win-win). You can review the different types of cause marketing programs here. Regardless of which one you choose, focus on these four things.

Keep your program simple. Especially if it's your first one. Try to choose something that's a simple extension of your business. If you run a busy ice cream shop, pick an ice cream flavor to support your favorite cause and tell customers every time they buy it you'll make a donation. Simple.

Another example of keeping it simple is Care4Kids, a program Constant Contact, the company I use for my email newsletter (which you can sign up for in the top right!). Current customers like me can nominate a kids charity to receive a free Constant Contact account so they can better communicate their message.

Not only is Constant Contact giving away a service they own, but their customers are the ones nominating the causes to receive the service.

Pathos should drive your program. Pathos is just another word for emotion. Supporters want to connect viscerally with your campaign. This means focusing on some aspect of the cause that will tug at people's heart strings. If it's an animal shelter the emotional tug is all the puppies and kittens that will be saved. If it's an environmental cause focused on green spaces it will be the playgrounds and parks for children. It's no coincidence that Constant Contact's Care4Kids program is for charities that help kids. Children are a powerful, emotional triggers for people.

Make sure your program is easy. Overly complicated programs are a drag for everyone. If you choose a point-of-sale program, for example, limit your ask to one sentence. "Would you like to donate a dollar to help save the trees in Walden Woods?" Also, if your employees are required to ask shoppers to join your email list, if they need anything else (e.g. batteries, etc.) limit these additional asks during the cause marketing promotion period, which is generally two to four weeks. Don't give your employees or your customers an excuse to say no.

Strive for a program that feels spontaneous. Spontaneity may seem like a strange thing to expect of a cause marketing program. But it's not when like me you've seen a lot of programs that our forced and unnatural. That's why it's important to pick a cause that resonates with your employees and customers. A good cause partner is a natural extension of your brand that makes the inclination to market and support it automatic.