If you’ve ever said…
“I really want to give to others, but I can’t afford it yet.”
“I look forward to when my company can give back.”
You’re not alone. Most business owners and entrepreneurs have a strong desire to give to others. And many plan to do so AFTER their company is successful.
But what if you could grow your business through charitable giving?
That’s what many savvy small businesses are doing. They are affiliating their company with nonprofit organizations to market their businesses.
And it’s working like a charm.
Social responsibility makes consumers take notice
It’s working because today’s consumers are looking for companies that are giving back.
A Cone Cause Evolution Survey indicates that 87 percent of consumers say they would switch from one brand to another if the other brand were associated with a good cause.
Even niche markets are now showing a strong preference for brands they believe to be socially responsible. For instance, according to a College Explorer study from Alloy Media, nearly 95 percent of students say they are less likely to ignore an ad that promotes a brand’s partnership with a cause.
These statistics make it clear what consumers are looking for. And your job is to…
Give people what they want
Your customers care about others. And they want to know that you share their desire to make the world a better place.
So, you really can’t afford to wait until you’re making big money to start giving. If your business or brand doesn’t stand for a cause now, consumers may turn to your competitors.
However, you don’t want to pick a cause just because it’s well known or is trendy. It’s critical that you choose something that really resonates with you and what your business represents.
If you don’t already have an appropriate cause in mind, get your juices flowing by thinking about what your business/brand represents at a deep level.
For example, in 2008, Barack Obama’s Presidential Campaign stood for Hope. The candidate embodies and exudes hope. But it went deeper than that. The campaign also stood for the intrinsic hope that average people have the power to change their lives.
The Livestrong Initiative represented the ability for anyone to thrive despite overwhelming challenges—physical, mental, or emotional.
And our company, the Proctor Gallagher Institute, represents living abundantly. This is a desire that most people share.
What do you want your brand to stand for?
Knowing the answer to that question will not only help you frame your marketing, but it will also help you identify a cause that is a good fit for your company.
Affiliating your brand with a charitable organization helps you develop a robust network while helping others in the process.
For it to work, though, your brand and your nonprofit partner should fit like a hand and glove. There must be a natural integration between your message and what they do.
Fashion designer Julia Fiske’s company, Save the Ta-tas®, is a perfect example of this…
Julia designs clothing and accessories targeted at raising breast cancer awareness. So, her company donates a percentage of every sale to support the fight against breast cancer.
When Julia started her company in 2004, she leveraged her brand with cause marketing.
Cause marketing is a cooperative effort between a for-profit company and a nonprofit organization for mutual benefit. The money donated creates social value, increases visibility for both companies, and generates revenue for both organizations.
Even though Julia started donating proceeds right away, her company has grown tremendously, received a lot of publicity, and profits are soaring.
Don’t be shy
Linking your name to a charitable cause should be a cornerstone of your brand.
There’s no reason why you should not benefit from the positive exposure that can result from donating money, goods, or services to a charitable organization. So, publicize your donations.
Here are a few things you can do to get the word out:
- Send press releases and photos to the local media
- Display your affiliation with the nonprofit on your website and in your marketing materials
- Ask the charity to recognize your support in their publicity efforts
Also, most nonprofits have thousands of people that either belong to the charity or are affiliated with it. These people make excellent prospects for your business because of your association with them. So, market your products and services to them.
You might consider offering exclusive discounts and targeted promotions to people who are associated with your nonprofit partner. Or offer to donate a percentage of each sale to the cause.
You can also invite your charity to market your products or services.
Always give from the heart
There are countless ways to partner with a nonprofit group and to use cause marketing. Do what feels right for you and aligns with what you want to bring to the world.
If you believe in the organization you’re supporting, you will feel great about the help you are providing, and you’ll work hard to make a difference.
If your business is already associated with a cause, we’d love to hear about it. Share your story in the comments below.
To more and better,