What if making a purchase didn’t just benefit you, but also benefited something you believed in? This question, posed directly and indirectly to consumers, has fueled a movement into a burning inferno over the last decade. In short, caring is trendy. But not only is it trendy, it works. Products associated with a cause have better sales and more positive brand recognition.
This win-win scenario hasn’t just impacted the “do-gooder”, charity, or nonprofit world. Organizations and businesses in the event world have adopted social, political, and environmental causes as a part of their marketing strategies and growth plans. For example, concert tickets that give a portion of sales to correct a social injustice, merchandise sales that fund disaster relief, or simply using your business as a platform to gather donations for a charity of choice.
So if the customer feels better and debates less when purchasing a cause-oriented product, it’s a no-brainer for an organization to utilize the trend as a sales tactic. Sound sleezy? It can be. But it can also be done right while maintaining your credibility.
As a company that believes strongly in putting profit to work for good, here is how to go about embracing this movement in a way that benefits the consumer, the cause, and the cash hitting your bottom line.
Authenticity is Key
I visited a fast-casual restaurant where the cashier asked for a donation at checkout. When I asked her what the donation was for, there was long pause before she replied “hungry children”. While I’m not too cheap to give a few dollars to hungry children, it certainly gave me pause that she couldn’t tell me the name of the charity. Her hesitancy, like an actress forgetting her lines, made me hesitant to believe she actually cared.
Whatever you support, it’s important to choose a cause that your company can genuinely get behind. The top reasons the consumer gives to charity at checkout are recognizing the cause or having a personal connection to it. So it’s important that the company, from the CEO to the cashier, can communicate what they are supporting and why. If caring is part of your brand, it has to be authentic.
You Don’t Have to Tug on Heartstrings to Have a Cause
Most of us have seen the tissue grabbing ASPCA commercial with Sarah McLachlan’s song crooning in the background. With all of those sad puppy and kitty eyes, the cause is sincere but did they really have to go that far?
Don’t feel like you have to add something to your businesses just so people view you as charitable. Maybe you have a heart to teach young women to excel in business, maybe you’re trying to give mechanics a more honest reputation, maybe you’re just trying to make the best mac n’ cheese on earth! You can rally support to make the world a better place even if your cause doesn’t make people weep.
Don’t Believe Everything you Hear About Millennials
You can’t talk about businesses involved in charity without talking about millennials. Now the largest living generation of people on earth, they’ve really influenced the way business communicate their causes. One of the larger misconceptions about millennials as it relates to charitable giving is that millennials give more than donors from other generations. They don’t give more they give differently.
It shouldn’t surprise you that millennials expect the ease of online giving, social sharing, and peer-to-peer fundraising because it’s the language they speak. However, more important than offering the latest donor technologies is displaying the tangible results that their giving is making a difference. In short, they aren’t going to take your word for it. Investing the time in communicating the effectiveness of the cause is key in capturing millennial donations.
If you want to see how our clients are doing it, we’re happy to share how one non-profit increased their charity revenue by 13.7% or how Splashway Waterpark is using their ticket sales for Hurricane Harvey relief. So what about you? Have you had success in merging your business and your cause? Tell us about it in the comments below.