To Get the Effect, Find Your Cause

As the leaves begin to turn shades of orange, red and brown, you’ve probably noticed one color that is not a typical characteristic of the fall palette. Pink. This powerful fundraising and awareness campaign during the month of October brings retailers, sports teams and individuals together in support of breast cancer awareness and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Since the 1980’s the prevalence of cause-related marketing campaigns has grown, rapidly leading to partnerships that have raised millions of dollars for philanthropic causes. In recent years, it has become an expectation from consumers that the brands and products they purchase contribute back to the community at large.

A study released in 2010 found that 90% of American consumers want companies to tell them what causes they are supporting. In addition, 80% of Americans would switch from one brand to another if the brand they were switching to was associated with a good cause (source: Cone Cause Evolution Study).

Customers are making decisions about the brands to purchase based on the causes those brands support. As a result, businesses are making a greater effort to consider how they can give back to the community and how they will let their customers know about their efforts.

While the power behind the pink ribbon may seem like the product of a massive budget, the practice of businesses teaming with non-profit organizations is not limited to national programs or bunches of cash.

This fall, Miramont Lifestyle Fitness will launch ‘Share the Health,’ a referral program in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County, Respite Care and Cancer Center of the Rockies. Through Share the Health, Miramont will donate money to the three partner organizations for each new member referred to Miramont until the end of the year. The member responsible for the referral will have the opportunity to select the charity they prefer to receive a $10.00 contribution on their behalf.

Beyond the Share the Health campaign, Miramont is committed to improving the health of the entire community. By aligning their mission with organizations they support, they build a strong sense of purpose and engage their members in a unique approach to giving back. Furthermore, they get new customers they may not have otherwise come into contact with. So, everybody wins.

So, how do you build cause-related activities into your full marketing program? Evaluate your purpose, vision and community interest areas. Is there a clear relationship between what you do everyday with a community-supporting organization? What do your employees care about? What values are critical to your brand that align with other non-profit focus areas? For burrito giant Chipotle, the choice to support sustainable farming came naturally as a result of their product line and the environmentally-friendly business practices built by their corporation.

Don’t forget to share your good work with others. When Starbucks initially opened, purchasing coffee through fair trade practices was a value they took very seriously, but it was not until 2008 during a rebranding process that they made these efforts known to the public. If you are doing good things, don’t be afraid to let the world know.

Make it easy for your customers to be a part of your cause. Give them an action item so that they know how they can help. Chili’s restaurant supports St. Jude Children’s Research each fall through the Create-A-Pepper campaign. By asking restaurant visitors to design a simply colored logo, they educate and involve their customers in a goodwill activity that is also interactive.

As the holiday season approaches, giving is likely on the forefront of your customers’ minds.  Don’t miss the opportunity to inspire those individuals with your efforts to contribute to a better world. Developing an intentional and relevant cause-related marketing campaign can introduce you to a new audience of supporters and clientele. A-Train’s experience and commitment to driving the greater good can provide you with the strategic support you guidance you need to create results that produce a return on investment that means more than just a better bottom line.


Making a Point of Your Customer’s Purchase
Point-of-Purchase fundraising educates customers and builds relationships.

As you travel around town, point-of-purchase fundraising campaigns are hard to ignore. The Muscular Dystrophy Association clovers in your gas station window or Children’s Miracle Network Balloons at your grocer – each paper icon symbolizes that for $1 you can make a difference.

Point-of-purchase fundraising is an easy and inexpensive way to build an interactive and visible campaign with the potential to raise thousands of dollars for a valuable cause. Paper hangers are the most common and recognizable point-of-purchase campaign, but the sky’s the limit when selecting a creative option for fundraising at the cash register.

One local example of a successful point-of-purchase campaign is the charity of the month program at Odell Brewing Co. This month’s beneficiary, Homelessness Prevention Initiative will receive all taster tray proceeds from the Odell tasting room during the month of October. Rather then keeping the proceeds from what is a small percentage of the company’s overall business, Odell Brewing Co. uses the tasting room proceeds as an opportunity to build community partnerships and promote their corporate philanthropy to each and every visitor.

Another option is asking customers to round up their purchase, making a donation to a local cause. Department store, JCPenney, asks customers to round up to the next dollar amount, with the proceeds going to after-school programming. Locally, proceeds will benefit Boys and Girls Clubs of Larimer County. A .99 cent to .01 cent donation may feel like a more reasonable contribution to a shopper then a whole dollar bill. Over time, donations of spare change can add up to a significant contribution.

A point-of-purchase campaign can help keep your community commitment top-of-mind and remind customers that their support benefits the entire community. Let A-Train help you identify a point-of-purchase strategy that will work for your organization and help forge new relationship with your supporters.