3 Resources for Newbies: What Exactly is Cause Marketing?

I've had a ton of new signups for my newsletter and I'm getting more questions about what exactly is cause marketing? Great question! 

These three posts will give you some answers - and will surely give you a few more questions that I'm happy to answer in the comments or in future posts.

1. What is Cause Marketing?

What is cause marketing?

This post goes all the way back to 2010, but it's still relevant in many ways. Read this post, but also read my follow up post and the comments on both posts. They are very helpful and highlight the fact the definition of cause marketing varies, and that's a good thing!


2. A Brief History of Cause Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC] 

As a cause marketer - and a huge history buff - I'm obviously interested in the history of cause marketing. And you should be too, if you're really want to know and understand what cause marketing is all about.

I have a hypothesis that cause marketing started in Boston (like all good things do), but I have yet to prove it!

What we do know is that cause marketing began in the 1970's when Bruce Burtch organized fundraisers between Marriott Corporation and the March of Dimes.

However, I've argued that cause marketing goes back a bit further to the start of the Jerry Lewis Telethon in the 1960's. Not only did Jerry Lewis and the Muscular Dystrophy Association harness the power of television for good, but they were quick to involve companies in the show.

In this pre-internet age, television was the undisputed advertising king for companies, and executives were eager to appear with Lewis to present their "big checks."

There are plenty of other events in cause marketing history, many of which are not included in my infographic. But it's a start! 


3. Six Top Cause Marketing Fundraisers [INFOGRAPHIC]

Now that you know what cause marketing is and have a basic understanding of its history, let's next take a look at the major cause marketing fundraisers.

This infographic highlights the six top cause marketing fundraisers. They include:

  1. Checkout Programs
  2. Percentage-of-Sales
  3. Buy-One, Give-One
  4. Digital Programs
  5. Action-Triggered Donations
  6. Cause Products

You can see examples of all these top fundraisers on Pinterest. For example, check out my board on action-triggered donations.


Bonus: cause marketing has had its share of controversy, for sure. If you're interested in the debate on the merits of cause marketing, read this post. Also, be sure to check out the comments, which includes the remarks of some of the biggest names in cause marketing - and some its most vocal critics!