How to Use Cause Marketing to Meet Your Goals

Being a mission-driven brand is a wonderful start — but running a wildly successful cause marketing campaign also requires clarity. This post will help you use cause marketing to meet your goals, whether they center around AOV, engagement, or other metrics.

When we guide our top-tier brand partners to run a great campaign, we ask: what does success look like to you?

Are you looking to…

  • Increase your average order value (AOV)?
  • Boost awareness about a cause you love or give your brand affinity (a.k.a. brand loyalty) a lift?
  • Drive mission-driven customer engagement?
  • Maximize impact?
  • Encourage repeat purchases?

Based on your goals, we can recommend a specific campaign and approach to help you crush it. 

Plus, DailyKarma offers a lot of flexibility: you can place most giving campaign modules on product pages, your cart, checkout (available for Shopify Plus stores), or even your impact page (pretty much anywhere in your store that accepts HTML).

Would you like to DIY it for now? We got you! Keep reading for the 101 on choosing the best give-back campaign based on your brand’s definition of success.

How to Use Cause Marketing to Meet Your Goals

If you want to raise your AOV…

Customer donation campaigns (where you invite the customer to donate as part of the purchase) often raise AOV — our many case studies attest to this! 

The main contributor to a higher AOV is our Donate for Discount campaign, where you invite the customer to donate in exchange for a discount on their order or on a specific product. The typical engagement for this campaign is 10-15% although we’ve seen it go as high as 56% (see our John Masters case study for details)! 

Some brands, such as Bubba Rose, use Donate for Discount as their only way to run sales — this approach tends to galvanize shoppers into action. The result? Engagement rises together with AOV.

And speaking of AOV, Rare Beauty saw a 34% jump using Donate for Discount between Thanksgiving and Giving Tuesday 2020. 

Even your conversion rate can shoot up with our flagship campaign — see Faherty and Ivory Ella’s story here.

Tips for running Donate for Discount on your store:

  • Make the offer competitive — don’t run it against another, more enticing sale
  • The donation ask should be lower than the discount they’ll receive 
  • Consider your current AOV to come up with a tempting donation ask/discount ratio

That said, we’ve also seen our Donation Tiers campaign contribute to a higher AOV. This campaign often has an engagement rate of 2-10% — although when customers are gung ho about your cause, we’ve seen it shoot up as high as 42.54%!

If you want to increase awareness around a cause and/or brand loyalty…

Consider running a Portion of Sales campaign, where you as the brand donate a percentage or fixed amount of sales (either the entire order or specific items) to a cause.

Something to note: Portion of Sales applies the donation to an order whether or not the shopper takes action through the donation module. Consequently, running this campaign helps prove your commitment to a cause and brings visibility to it. That said, Portion of Sales often has a softer effect and might only serve to spotlight your chosen cause rather than to influence engagement or AOV.

Displaying the Portion of Sales widget on your product pages or the cart will shine a light on your chosen cause(s), especially if you mention the cause right on the campaign widget. This way, even if your customer doesn’t click on the widget and trigger the pop-up, they will still know what cause their purchase is benefiting.

Alternating between Portion of Sales and Round-Up (or Add $1/Custom Amount) is an effective strategy to inform customers about your mission and invite them to partake. 

Biossance has used this combo to raise over $250,000 in donations to world-changing nonprofits to date! Further, Adina’s Jewels has used this approach to inspire 5,193 customers to get involved.

Notably, Portion of Sales can even work as a new customer acquisition tool! (See how John Masters Organics did it.)

If you wish to drive mission-driven customer engagement…

As you now know, Donate for Discount is a solid driver of engagement. Additionally, Round-Up is a classic, low-pressure way to invite shoppers to take action and give back

Engagement can fluctuate between 4-10% with Round-Up although we often see it go much higher! 

For instance, Rare Beauty has seen as many as 17% of shoppers donate through Round-Up at checkout. The brand even experienced an AOV rise of 14.63% for orders including a Round-Up donation during Spring 2021!

How-to-Use-Cause-Marketing-to-Meet-Your-Goals- impact

If you wish to maximize impact for a cause…

To raise the most funds for your favorite nonprofit(s), we’ve seen it helps the most to ask for higher donation amounts. This can mean Donation Tiers, Donate for Discount, Custom Amount (which often sees an engagement rate hovering around 3%), and even Portion of Sales.

Psst… Donation Tiers and Donate for Discount, in particular, have been shown to create the highest impact.

Further, you can get your customers excited about giving back when you offer to meet them halfway by matching donations. This is a clever alternative to Portion of Sales, as it motivates your customer to act because they know you will join them in the effort.

For example, you can invite shoppers to give to a cause and let them know that you will:

  • Match their donations up to $5,000 for a month
  • Match their donations for a specific period of time (say, during October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month)
  • Match their donations indefinitely

You can match donations from any campaign — just email our support team and we’ll set it up for you! 

If you want to encourage repeat purchases…

Our partner Harney & Sons skyrocketed their repeat purchase rate by a whopping 69.3% by integrating additional touchpoints into the experience. 

What Harney did was run Donation Tiers and then send a thoughtful note together with a discount code to each person who donated. (This could also work well with our $1 Donation/Custom Amount campaign or any customer donation campaign.)

Harney & Sons did this by tagging the Donation Tiers product in Klaviyo, triggering an automated email containing a discount code for a future purchase. The result: 69.3% of those who donated came back and shopped again!

A note on post-checkout donations…

Asking shoppers to donate once the purchase has been completed is nice but cannot contribute to increasing your AOV, as by then the purchase has already taken place. 

Because we care about your generating impact for social good — and also want to help you increase engagement and AOV, all of our cause marketing campaigns are pre-checkout. 

That said, it could help you meet the goal of cause awareness, even running a campaign post-checkout won’t help you sell more.

Final notes on using Cause Marketing to Meet Your Goals…

Now that you have some ideas and concrete examples of how to choose between our many giving campaigns based on your goals, let’s go a little broader. 

Marketing is key… and it’s a beast! It follows that the success of your campaign depends on many factors — here are some to consider:

  • How well you inform your customers about it throughout your website, social media, emails, and ads. See our best practices here.
  • How consistent you are in your mission-driven narrative — is it going to feel authentic or opportunistic? (Hint: be consistent to gain trust!)
  • Avoid technical hiccups by making sure you’ve crossed your T’s and dotted your I’s — follow our cause marketing launch master guide to help ensure nothing gets missed!

Want some hand-holding? That’s what our advanced plans are for! 

See our Pricing page to request a custom demo

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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