You’ve probably heard of the increasingly popular term “cause marketing”, but what is it and why is it important? In short, cause marketing is the cooperative effort of a for-profit and a non-profit teaming up for mutual benefits. Corporations have the power and resources to advocate and raise awareness for causes that matter to them while simultaneously promoting their brands' mission—it's win-win!
As conscious consumerism increases, so does the importance of cause marketing. Millennials and Gen Z are huge advocates for brands that display strong corporate social responsibility. In fact, 71% of Millennials are willing to pay more for a product if they knew some of the proceeds will go to charity (5WPR, 2020). And with so many brands hopping on board to the trend, it’s not difficult to shop with a competitor over a brand who is behind the times. Check out these brands that go above and beyond integrating cause marketing and CSR into their business strategy:
Patagonia has always been a pioneer in the corporate social responsibility space, as their entire business is central to doing good and giving back. As a certified B corp, Patagonia is a huge advocate for social impact and sustainability. In 2018, Patagonia released a statement explaining that they would be donating $10 million from an “irresponsible” tax cut to support the fight against climate change (Patagonia Works, 2018).
Furthermore, in 2011 Patagonia ran a Black Friday campaign to address the issue of consumerism. Instead of sharing sales and deals, Patagonia asked shoppers to not buy new garments, in support of their Common Threads Initiative to cut down on consumption and get more use out of clothes people already own by repairing and recycling (Patagonia, 2011).
Toms is best known for the popularization of the One-for-One model— meaning buy a pair, give a pair. Their success with this model inspired other brands to follow suit. Recently, Toms announced a shift in its social impact strategy. In the 12 years of their company, Toms has given shoes to 86 million children, but they wanted to do more (Forbes, 2019).
In 2018 Toms launched its first campaign to end gun violence. Seeing the effects of the growing gun violence issue, Toms created a system to quickly send a physical postcard to legislators regarding this issue. Within the first 12 hours, 58,000 people sent postcards. Additionally, Toms gave $5 million to organizations that are working to end gun violence. Now, they have spearheaded five new campaigns revolved around equality, mental health, women’s rights, homelessness, and safe water (Fast Company, 2019).
For Levi, sustainability is not even a question. Instead of falling into the fast fashion industry, Levi’s is pushing the envelope and exploring ways to reduce consumption and shift the notion that clothes are a disposable good (Fast Company, 2017).
In an effort to educate consumers on the dangers of fast fashion, Levi’s has created the Care Tag for Our Planet to provide customers with straightforward and sustainable care instructions for their jeans. This initiative is helping to drive the idea that if you take care of your jeans, they will have a longer lifespan, which means less waste. They also offer programs to repair your worn out jeans, or recycle them (Levi Strauss, 2020).
Cause Marketing Made Easy with ShoppingGives
While large brands like the examples above have great resources to integrate strong cause marketing initiatives into their overall business strategy, it doesn’t mean that smaller brands can’t do the same! At ShoppingGives, we exist to create impact on every purchase. We saw the demand for brands that do more than operate for a profit, and we wanted a way that we could include customers in this process. By connecting retailers, shoppers, and nonprofits, we enable brands to give back to the causes that their customers care about in an effort to create positive social impact and meaningful change.
Through our technology, Change Commerce, customers shop, retailers donate, and nonprofits receive the funds that they need to continue doing great things for those around us. With ShoppingGives, we can help you streamline your current corporate social responsibility strategy. If you don’t already have a strategy in place, we can help you create one.
- Our technology is natively integrated into your site and can be fully customized to best fit your brand style.
- You receive data insights to help you better segment and target customers based on what causes they support.
- You can measure donations and positive impact against your bottom line.
- With ShoppingGives you have a fully managed donation process, so we do all the work for you.
- You can use our data to build stronger relationships with your customers through authentic 1:1 personalized messaging strategies.
- If you already have a CSR strategy, you can use ShoppingGives to increase impact and awareness.
Special Giving Activation Dates
February (month): American Heart Month
February (month): Black History Month
February 4th: World Cancer Day
March (month): Red Cross month
March 3rd: World Wildlife Day
March 8th: International Women’s Day
April 22nd: Earth Day
May (month): Mental Health Awareness Month
June (month): Pride Month
August 17th: National Nonprofit Day
August 19th: World Humanitarian Day
September 5th: International Day of Charity
October (month): Breast Cancer Awareness Month
December 1st: Giving Tuesday
Tips and Tricks
With Change Commerce it’s important to remember that this is not just an app— this is a cause marketing strategy that is customizable for your business. Downloading and activating the Change Commerce app is a great first step to begin your CSR journey, but don’t stop there. Make it your own!
You have the ability to feature up to 6 causes that you care about. This shows your customers who you support and gives them the opportunity to support those causes as well. In addition, your customers always have the option to search and select their own cause.
If you have a favorite cause that you want to fully support or a cause that you want to bring awareness to during special campaigns, you have the option to set a default cause. Setting a default means that every order placed will automatically generate a donation for this particular cause, whether a customer activates the donation widget or not. With a default, the customer still has the option to search and select their own cause if they wish.
You have the ability to increase the donation amount for a specific nonprofit as well. This is a great tool to use during special giving activations. In the month of October, for example, you can incentive your customers to choose a nonprofit that supports breast cancer victims, research, and their families by offering a donation increase if they choose to support that cause with their purchase.
This is an amazing way to really tell your brand’s story. We all have causes that we care about, and creating an impact page is an easy way to show your customers why you care about the causes that you support and how you make positive social change. Your customers will feel more involved and attached to your CSR initiatives if they can learn about and understand why you are passionate about giving back.
Not sure where to start? Visit our toolkit page to download our templates to help you build out your impact page and gain inspiration for marketing via social media and email.
When your customers see the donation widget on the product page for the first time, imagine their excitement about being able to support their favorite cause, just by shopping online. When they interact with the widget they can learn more about each featured cause you have set, and watch the donation amount increase as they add more products to their cart.
Including the widget on both the product and cart page will keep the excitement going for your customer throughout the entirety of their purchase journey. Being able to see the exact donation amount next to the name of their favorite cause made their already great shopping experience even better.
Whether you are a cause marketing connoisseur or are new to the cause marketing space, Change Commerce can help you in your journey to giving back and creating a positive impact while still benefiting your business. Zachary Prell, for example, wanted a way to include their customers in their impact strategy and gained a 19% lift in conversion rate with Change Commerce.
“In our first six months with ShoppingGives, our conversion rate has increased by 19% and our AOV has grown by 11%. Moreover, we’ve seen the friction to conversion get reduced because customers feel good about their purchases” - Kevin Lee, Zachary Prell
No matter the size of your business, we all have the power to enable positive change and create meaningful impact on the world around us.