How to Develop Effective Cause Marketing Partnerships

Marketers, eCommerce stores, and Shopify store owners looking to stand out from competitors while making a difference should consider a cause marketing campaign. Building a relationship with a nonprofit organization provides a powerful opportunity to promote a social or environmental cause while financially contributing to the effort.

But how do you develop a meaningful cause marketing partnership?

At Daily Karma, we’ve curated a suite of effective cause marketing campaigns designed to make a difference. We’re well-acquainted with the small details that make a successful cause marketing partnership, so stay tuned as we dive into practical ways to make the most of a cause marketing partnership.

Cause-Related Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing focuses on promoting a product or service to increase sales. It uses persuasive techniques to influence consumer behavior. Traditional marketing focuses on short-term goals, such as making a set number of sales, generating target revenue, and generating new customers using a sense of urgency.

In contrast, cause-related marketing focuses on promoting a social or environmental cause and raising funds for the mission. A focus on building long-term relationships leaves an everlasting impact on the corporate partner, consumers, and the cause.

Finding the Right Partner for a Cause Marketing Partnership

The relationship between the business and the nonprofit organization can make or break the partnership. So, when it comes to finding the right partner for a cause marketing partnership, several important factors must be considered.

Alignment of Values

Values serve as a guiding principle for an organization’s actions and decisions, acting as a framework for how the organization interacts with various parties. These values define the organization’s missions and goals, helping to create a sense of purpose.

Having aligned values ensures that both the business and the nonprofit have a shared understanding of the cause or issue they are working to address.

Relevance to Audience

Whichever cause you choose, it should resonate with customers and align with their brand values. Taking care in this regard will help businesses create a more effective marketing campaign and generate positive brand awareness. It helps to build stronger connections with customers and enhance the company’s reputation and brand image. In addition, choosing a cause relevant to the business (and its target audience) helps increase employee motivation and engagement. For example, a business selling surf apparel may collaborate with an ocean conservation organization, communicating a mutual love and respect for the ocean.

Reputation and Credibility

Associating with a respectable nonprofit enhances your business reputation and credibility. The target audience is more likely to trust and support your business if they recognize a good alliance.

Before associating your business name with another organization, it’s essential to conduct thorough research and ensure that your chosen nonprofit doesn’t have any black dots against its name. It’s best to avoid controversial organizations with negative media records.

Ability to Measure Impact

Measuring impact allows you to understand the effectiveness of the campaign’s efforts and make adjustments as needed. For example, when aligning with a cause that reduces childhood hunger, it’s wise to set a specific goal to provide a certain number of meals to children in need. Not only does it have the ability to measure and track progress, but it also provides quantifiable results to share with customers and stakeholders, helping to build trust and credibility.

Communication and Collaboration

Clear and consistent communication are building blocks to a successful partnership, ensuring that both parties are on the same page and working toward mutual goals. Constructive communication involves transparency, open-mindedness, and the willingness to share information. As the campaign progresses, both parties should be receptive to feedback, helping to build trust and meet objectives.

How to Create a Winning Partnership

Each partnership is unique, and the campaign’s objectives will guide the details of the partnership. However, there are a few key steps to include in the blueprint for all cause marketing campaigns.

Clearly Define The Goals and Objectives

Once you’ve vetted an organization and approached them about a partnership, you must begin with the basics. Clearly defining the goals and objectives of both parties ensures that both organizations are working toward a shared vision and that their work aligns. While establishing goals, it’s worth including measurable targets that can be tracked, ensuring adjustments can be made as needed.

Choose a Value-Aligned Cause

By partnering with a nonprofit that reflects the same values and mission as the company, the message is amplified.

It’s important that values align for several reasons. It ensures that the campaign is mutually beneficial and reduces tension by removing contradicting values. It also helps to create a deep connection between the cause and the customers, as well as the employees and stakeholders.

Communicate the Benefits of the Partnerships to All

If you want to boost engagement and commitment among the team, then you need to communicate the benefits of the partnership to all parties involved. Begin by creating a clear and compelling message highlighting the campaign’s shared values and goals and the impact it intends to make.

In addition to communicating the benefits, it’s essential to be transparent about the financial contributions or support each partner provides, helping to build trust among the team.

Develop a Comprehensive Plan

A well-structured plan outlines the responsibilities and expectations of each partner and provides a clear roadmap for achieving the partnership’s goals and objectives.

The first step to developing a comprehensive plan involves holding a planning meeting or series of meetings with representatives from both organizations to discuss and agree on the strategies and tactics that will be used to achieve the partnership’s goals. The final plan should include details on promoting the collaboration and its impacts, such as through social media, email marketing, and other communication channels. It should also have a budget and a timeline for the partnership, outlining key milestones and deadlines.

Utilize the Strengths and Resources of Both Parties

Businesses expose themselves to additional resources and capabilities by joining forces with a nonprofit. The campaign should leverage the strengths and resources of both parties to maximize the impact, boost awareness and garner more support for the cause.

For example, the nonprofit can use its volunteer network to promote the partnership and its impact through grassroots campaigns. In contrast, the business can use its established marketing channels and customer base.

Regularly Measure and Evaluate Progress

Tracking progress makes it easier to identify areas that are working well and pinpoint those that need improvement.

Depending on the campaign’s goals, there are different ways to track progress. For example, if the goal is to increase awareness of a cause, then metrics such as website traffic and social media engagement can be monitored.

Leverage All Marketing Channels

By leveraging all available marketing channels, the cause can reach a wider audience and boost its impact. Promoting the campaign through various marketing channels increases visibility, reaches new audiences, and builds support for the cause.

Consider the following marketing channels as examples; Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok create a buzz and raise awareness Email marketing is a powerful tool for targeting specific audiences Press releases and traditional advertising cast a wider net to reach a broader audience

Encourage Employee Engagement

Encouraging employee engagement and volunteer opportunities helps to build a deeper connection to the cause, as invested employees are more likely to act as ambassadors for the partnership. Employee engagement also helps to create a sense of purpose and meaning among employees, leading to increased job satisfaction and employee retention.

Examples of Successful Cause Marketing Efforts

Countless companies have invested in cause marketing partnerships and contributed to making a difference. Consider the following two examples as inspiration.

Ivory Ella

Ivory Ella, a for-profit clothing store, used Shop for Good, DailyKarma’s Shopify app, with a mission to Save the Elephants. With the app’s help, Ivory Ella could easily redirect 10% of their profits to nonprofit organizations such as Save the Elephants and others that promote wildlife education and the preservation of endangered species.

The effort is made possible through website integration and financial support provided by Shop for Good. This partnership allows Ivory Ella to focus more on raising awareness for their cause and constantly introducing new products to generate donations. As a result of these efforts, 57% of consumers chose to donate, boosting their average order value (AOV) by 18%, spurring donations calculated at $ 1.4 million in total sales.

Read more about Ivory Ella’s cause marketing campaign.

American Express

In 1983, American Express launched a successful campaign to raise funds to restore the Statue of Liberty. The campaign, which was run in partnership with the Ellis Island Foundation, aimed to raise $1.7 million to restore the iconic statue and its surrounding island to its original condition.

The campaign was widely successful, receiving donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations. By the end of the campaign, the Statue of Liberty was fully restored and reopened to the public in 1986.

Grow Your Online Store (and Positive Impact) With DailyKarma

Investing in a cause marketing campaign goes beyond corporate social responsibility and includes multiple other benefits, such as boosting brand loyalty and building meaningful relationships.

Streamline your marketing effort by teaming up with Shop for Good, which offers fair and straightforward pricing, helping you launch a compelling cause marketing campaign. Start your free trial today and download the app from the Shopify app store, or book a demo to learn more.

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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