Cause Marketing Examples: Campaigns Making a Difference

Cause Marketing Examples Done Right

Marketing is a challenge, especially for the growing number of eCommerce stores that need to figure out the delicate balance of technology, branding, and addressing the complex behaviors of buyers. While younger people are more likely to be found shopping online, they’re also more likely to ignore traditional advertising. This is where brands have to get creative and design a marketing strategy that builds credibility and helps them stand out.

Cause marketing is one way brands are getting noticed by younger shoppers today. As a brand, it can help you build loyalty and increase the likelihood of customers shopping with you or recommending your business to others. That kind of loyalty and dedication is invaluable in today’s ever-changing digital marketplace.

What Is Cause Marketing?

Cause marketing is a unique marketing tool that focuses on social causes instead of traditional advertising efforts. Both businesses and non-profit organizations can find increased profits and other benefits from this type of marketing. People are more likely to remember brands when they’re associated with a charity. They’re also going to be more brand loyal. 

Cause marketing includes an intention to donate funds or reduce profits for the sake of a charitable cause. Perhaps one of the first campaigns to catch the public’s attention was American Express, which gave a penny for each dollar spent on Amex cards over three months to help restore the Statue of Liberty. Not only did their campaign do something good, but it helped boost their reputation as a result. 

This marketing strategy is bigger than the brands that utilize it. It allows you to engage with customers in a uniquely effective way. Most brands will see that even though they’re giving up some profits for charitable donations, they can increase their overall earnings quite impressively when they do it right. 

The case for cause marketing is strong if you look at the numbers:

  • While only 6% of millennials consider online advertising credible, 58% are more likely to purchase from a business that is associated with some kind of charitable cause. 
  • 81% of millennials expect the brands they buy to make charitable contributions. 
  • 72% of consumers feel that it’s important to shop with companies that share similar values. 
  • Customer lifetime profits can increase by 85% when loyal customers believe in a brand and its cause. 
  • The average order value (AOV) increased by as much as 29% when adding a donation option at checkout. 
  • 71% of millennials and 67% of all consumers report being willing to pay more to contribute to a good cause with their purchase. 
  • Cause marketing is quickly becoming one of the most effective marketing strategies available today. People tend to avoid brands that don’t create a social impact. Many people think that companies should take a stand on social and political issues. It can help you avoid losing current customers, attract new customers (especially younger audiences) and connect to your audience by expressing shared values.

    For eCommerce brands, cause marketing can help boost product sales, order values, and most importantly, the general public’s impression of brands and their dedicated efforts toward corporate social responsibility. 

    How Can Companies Engage in Cause Marketing?

    Cause marketing campaigns are a lot simpler than you might realize. The simple collaboration between your business and the nonprofit or charitable organization of your choice will allow you to increase brand loyalty and raise awareness for causes that are important to you and your audience. All kinds of brands are engaging in various cause marketing efforts, from limited-run campaigns to brand-based cause marketing efforts like those from Bombas and TOMS, who donate products for every product purchased as a part of their business structure. 

    There are several different ways that companies can engage in cause marketing, at several touchpoints throughout the customer journey. For example, brands can create digital media campaigns to promote a cause or collect donations through various outlets, including social media. There’s also the option to create content that further promotes the cause or charity in question. 

    Perhaps companies will encourage their employees to work with various causes and then share the experiences both with the rest of the team and the brand’s audience. A company could also pay a charitable organization to use its branding on products and special sales or donate a percentage of sales or purchases for a specified period to a charity or cause. 

    And of course, for eCommerce brands, there’s perhaps the easiest and most effective way to engage in cause marketing: use your online store platform to ask shoppers during the checkout process if they’d like to add donations to their purchase to support your cause or charity. There are plenty of ways to engage in cause marketing—what matters is finding what works for your brand. 

    Cause Marketing Benefits 

    When you do it well, cause marketing comes with several different perks:

    • Brand Image: When you engage in cause marketing, you are improving your brand’s reputation and professional image. You might even attract new customers with your new efforts or attract even more interest from your existing ones. 
    • Employee Morale: Today’s employees like to work for companies that share their values. People are looking for culture more than anything else in the job search and knowing they work for a company dedicated to doing good can boost morale and job satisfaction. 
    • Community Engagement: Today’s consumers like companies that are engaged with their communities and the markets they serve. You can create a partnership that builds publicity for both of you, spreading the message of positivity and increasing the awareness of your brand even further. 
    • Set Your Brand Apart: A unique cause marketing campaign could be just what you need to set your brand apart from the competition. Even if you’re not the only one utilizing cause marketing, you might choose a different social issue or approach, or personalize your message to stand out. 

    These are just a handful of the benefits that come from an effective cause marketing strategy. Of course, the key here is that you need to create an effective strategy to reap these rewards. Let’s talk about what that looks like. 

    What Makes an Effective Cause Marketing Strategy?

    All the benefits of cause marketing require that you have an effective strategy in place. Several elements are involved here, but it starts with knowing your brand identity and how that relates to the causes that you’re considering. Research different causes if you don’t already know where you want to donate and find one that works well with your business. 

    You will need to organize the effort that you’re going to put forth—come up with a marketing strategy, loop in the entire team so everyone understands the mission at hand, and create a cause marketing implementation strategy that helps you hit the ground running. Make sure that your marketing materials are respectful and inclusive, and that you’re clear about your intent with this campaign. 

    Finally, be patient. It can take time for cause marketing to become effective. Other efforts are a success from the start. It all depends on what your cause is and how well you can get people’s attention focused on your campaign. To that end, here are some tips to help create successful cause marketing efforts. 

    Cause Marketing Tips 

    If you want to succeed with your cause marketing efforts, you have to educate yourself and prepare ahead of time so that you are ready to dive in once your marketing campaign launches. The process involves three main steps: 

    1. Building your campaign 
    2. Promoting your campaign
    3. Maintaining your cause marketing efforts 

    Here are some tips to help.

    • Choose a relevant cause that means something to you, your brand, or your industry. 
    • Decide if your brand is donating a portion of sales to charity or if you want to ask your customers to contribute donations when checking out. 
    • Make sure that your pledge or ask to donate is clear and concise. The last thing people need is a confusing disclaimer about donations, sales, etc. 
    • Ensure that you register for Co-venturing status across several stats per non profit you want to support. This can take a lot of time, but with providers like DailyKarma these hurdles are lifted for you. 
    • Create a strong social media marketing campaign to build traction and spread the word about your new endeavor. 
    • Utilize experts to help you craft the perfect cause marketing campaign and promote it across all verticals and channels. 
    • Choose a strategic time for the campaign that seems most logical or effective. For best results, do something outside of the holiday season—the giving spirit is high but the market is so oversaturated from October to January that you might get lost in the shuffle. 
    • Leverage influencer marketing where you can. 
    • Set a budget and a goal from the beginning. This ensures that you know what you have to spend and what you hope to earn for the charity you’ve chosen to work with. 
    • Ensure that all donations are sent to the non profit as soon as possible. Certain states have regulations that donations must be passed along within a specific time period. California is 45 days! Seems like a burden? Don’t worry. Platforms like DailyKarma distribute funds for you! 
    • Make sure you’re measuring your success and pay attention to your conversion lifts! Majority of campaigns can help lift conversions and overall customer loyalty! 

    Examples of Cause Marketing Campaigns

    Brands of all sizes can engage in cause marketing. To help you get inspired, here are some real-world examples of this strategy in practice. 


    TOMS is a brand that has created an entire business model built around the idea of giving back. In addition to investing 1/3 of the company’s profits in various grassroots efforts, they also give a pair of shoes for every pair purchased, helping to provide shoes to people around the world. The programs they support focus on increasing access to opportunity, ending gun violence, and promoting mental health awareness. 


    Dawn has been doing cause marketing for well over 40 years and helping the environment along the way. Dawn donates bottles of its dish soap to the International Bird Rescue and the Marine Mammal Center and has ads showing the use of Dawn in helping with cleaning up animals after oil spills. They also advertise wildlife images on their packaging to further drive the effort home. 

    Alex’s Lemonade Stand

    Alex’s Lemonade Stand was started by a child who wanted to help beat cancer. Now, it’s a full-fledged foundation that supports childhood cancer research to help find cures. There are plenty of corporate sponsors for this program, including Applebee’s. Customers will be prompted to donate when they make a purchase and during the fundraiser, there are lemons that people can write their names on to show they donated. 

    Box Tops for Education 

    The Box Tops for Education program has been around since 1996 and is one great example of cause marketing in action. Parents, grandparents, and children alike were invited to clip the Box Tops logos off various products and donate them to schools. Schools can collect and redeem the box tops to help with various expenses and needs, from playground equipment to library books and more. Today, there’s a mobile app that makes it even easier.

    Red Nose Day 

    Although many brands and organizations participate, Walgreens is probably best known for its partnership with Red Nose Day, helping to raise money to end child poverty. This six-week campaign has been running since 2015 and uses the power of social media marketing, experiential marketing, and influencer marketing to get results. 

    Warby Parker

    Warby Parker is known for being a stylish eyeglass brand. They sell frames online that come in all styles and fashions, and they’re also into giving back. With their Buy a Pair, Give a Pair campaign, they will donate one pair of glasses to someone in need for each purchase made. The company switched gears during the pandemic, buying PPE and health supplies for each pair sold, but they’re back to the original campaign. 

    Top Tools to Help You Scale Your Cause Marketing Efforts

    To make the most of your cause marketing, you’ll want to ensure that you’re using all the right tools to help streamline your efforts and launch an effective campaign. 

    DailyKarma takes giving seriously and works hard to connect eCommerce with giving back. Their full suite of donation campaigns and advanced analytics ensures your cause marketing campaigns will go off without a hitch and deliver an engaging experience that encourages consumers to give back. If you’re ready to take the first step towards successful cause marketing, contact us today. 


    Go beyond product & price with purpose & impact.

    Turn the social causes you care about most, into engaging ecommerce experiences that deliver meaningful impact and measurable business results.

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