Four Reasons to Use Cause Marketing

By: Sandra Morris, CEO/Founder CafeGive Social

Good causes are the new products. Every day, more and more companies incorporate causes—from AIDS awareness to hunger relief—into the key elements of their marketing strategies.

Why? Because it works. A brand’s cause affiliations drive its sales and build brand preference and loyalty among its consumers. According to Edelman’s Good Purpose Study 2012, customers consistently feel more inclined to buy products from companies aligned with causes.

Through cause marketing, credit unions can successfully create a thriving communication channel with both their prospective and existing member bases.

What Is Cause Marketing?

Cause marketing begins with a mutually beneficial partnership between a nonprofit and a business. In simple terms, a successful partnership is equal parts “win-win” and “work-work.”

Win-Win: Both partners reap the benefits of each other’s resources and strategies. The business partner raises money and builds awareness for the nonprofit’s mission. The nonprofit attracts and retains customers for the business.

Work-Work: Each partner works toward the other’s goals. The nonprofit partner commits to foster a successful relationship with the business, and prove to its partner that the business’ spending makes good business sense. In exchange, the business partner treats the cause partnership as an important and necessary aspect of its company culture and marketing strategy.

Four Reasons Why Credit Unions Should Invest in Cause Marketing

1. People want to see more cause marketing efforts.

The vast majority of American consumers polled showed interest in companies engaged in cause marketing. Eighty-three percent of Americans believe businesses should support good causes.

American consumers also think company support for causes is acceptable (88%) and hold those companies’ images in positive regard (85%).

2. Cause marketing yields a competitive edge.

Forty-one percent of Americans have made a purchasing decision in order to contribute to a cause. That number has doubled since 1993.

Cause marketing communicates higher value. One in five consumers will pay more for products and services connected to a cause.

Cause marketing attracts new customers. A cause will prompt 61% of undecided consumers to try a product with which they’re unfamiliar, and a whopping 80% of consumers said they would switch to a brand that supports a cause when price and quality between brands are equal.

3. Moms and Millennials (people aged 18-25) love cause marketing.

Household shoppers (Moms) and hipster shoppers (Millennials) are two of the most highly sought-after market segments today. The numbers of both consumer profiles who support and approve of businesses that help causes exceed 90%.

Women in general are one of the most valuable demographics for financial institutions. A recent study reported in Forbes indicates that in nearly 90% of households women make the banking services decisions for the family.

4. Consumers want companies to act locally

Large-scale companies and nonprofits aren’t the only organizations that can benefit from cause marketing. It’s just as easy—and valuable—for smaller-scale organizations to engage in corporate/nonprofit partnerships.

Local partnerships may even prove more lucrative: Ninety-one percent of Americans believe that companies should support an issue in the communities where they do business.

Credit unions stand to benefit the most from cause marketing efforts. A community minded credit union that engages genuine partnerships with other nonprofits and espouses a culture of giving back is already primed for an effective cause marketing strategy.

**2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study

Social Purpose and Social Media: Telling The Giving Story

Social media is a proven method to engage consumers. Through social networks, brands can control the range of their messages, broadcasting campaigns on any level: broadly or locally, regionally or nationally. Brand marketers involved in such campaigns as “Pepsi Refresh” or “Chase ‘Charitable Giving’” used Facebook to mobilize millions of consumers, whose votes designed how the brands in question spent donation dollars.

Successful cause marketing programs needn’t be as massive or complex as the above campaigns, however, nor do they need to trade in extraordinary dollar amounts.

Alaska’s Credit Union 1, for instance, thrilled local charities with $500 grants generated from a social media campaign that raised donations from every new Facebook “like.”

In California, Patelco Credit Union members provided over $10,000 to American Red Cross Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund through a social media campaign, in which Patelco matched $5,000 worth of online donations.

CafeGive provides applications and tools to help credit unions create cost-effective and impactful cause marketing campaigns, and the expertise to make your campaign work. Our fully hosted and supported platform includes the templates and tools to create a campaign for your Facebook page or website, encouraging involvement and audience amplification among your social media community. Learn more about how to get started and how we can help you share your giving story at

For more information on the research cited in the article, please review Joe Waters’ whitepaper, “Cause Marketing: A Good Investment for 2013.”


About CafeGive: Sandra Morris is Founder and CEO of CafeGive, a unique company that combines social media marketing with meaningful, action-oriented cause marketing applications. CafeGive’s tools and applications have been used by companies and agencies of all sizes to connect with customers to build brand, enhance reputation, raise awareness and effect social change.

Strategic Link is the NWCUA’s wholly-owned service corporation, using the power of aggregation to provide the Association’s member credit unions with exclusive high-quality, competitively-priced products and discounted services. Contact Director of Strategic Partnerships Craig Reed today to find out how Strategic Link can help your credit union save money while meeting its goals in 2013 and beyond: 206.340.4789,

Posted in Community Impact, Financial Education, Marketing & Communications.