How To Successfully Market A Cause

Imagine streets full of pink. Thousands of survivors, fighters and supporters flooded New York streets this past Sunday. They were there for the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure.

In the public service announcement shown below you can see in the faces of the women involved that they are proud to wear pink. They have bright t-shirts on that not only display a message of hope but every time they wear it they will be reminded of the race and so will the people who see them wearing it. This is a great example of successful cause marketing and the “power of pink”.

The best way to fight Cancer is through education and early detection. In honor of this, October has become National breast cancer Awareness Month. A month dedicated to promoting education about the disease, providing free testing, raising money for research and gaining support for a cause that has affected so many.

For over 30 years The Susan G. Komen Foundation has worked to help eliminate breast cancer. Although the Foundation does many things to promote education and awareness for a disease that is proven to be fightable with early detection, most notable is The Race for the Cure and the color Pink that has now become a color synonymous with the fight against breast cancer.

Choosing a cause to support is something every business should do. Supporting a cause is not only beneficial to your company financially but it also translates to your consumers as your company being sensitive and up to date on issues that may be affecting them in their everyday lives. Your company does not have to be on Fortune 500’s list to get involved.

With just a color, breast cancer has been brought to the forefront of our minds and the business world. That is the true “Power of Pink”. A marketing tool that automatically makes you think of a cause and/or product. But this October, which has been coined breast cancer Awareness Month, let us not just think about how we can market a cause for our own companies benefit but rather reflect on how our own businesses can be a benefit to that charity at the same time.

Breast cancer is just one example of a cause that can be marketed, but the cause that your company chooses is not as important as making the choice to market one. Picking a well known cause that many other companies support makes marketing and promotion easier for your company but there is no one list of causes your company has to choose from. Whatever Cause your company decides to support, giving back is what’s most important. How to successfully market a cause? Read below for more information.

breast cancer Awareness Race for the Cure

5 Ways for your Company to Market a Cause

Boost Office Moral
Market your cause in the office. If breast cancer was your cause of choice maybe you can have a Pink Day, a day in which everyone in the office wears pink or maybe everyone in the office could wear a pink ribbon pin. The options are endless and it will engage your consumers/clients. They will be drawn to ask what it is your company is participating in gaining immediate exposure and interest for your cause.

Offer Financial Support
There is no shortage of causes and/or charities that your business can donate money to. In this ever increasingly busy world you really may not have the time or energy to donate to a cause. I have not found a charity yet that will turn down a financial donation. Most donations can also be written off at tax time, which is always a great incentive.

Get Involved
There are many ways to be a hand on marketer for your cause. Donating your time is just one way of accomplishing this. The Race for the cause is one example of how donating your time can be beneficial to your business and your cause at the same time. Make it a corporate event, your employees will be proud to represent your brand when it is tied to a cause.

Give Non-monetary Donations
Recently I went to the dentist and while I was there my Dr. told me all about his trip to Haiti. Once a year he travels to Haiti to offer free dental treatment to people who otherwise may never see a dentist. Then his assistant told me that they would be giving free dental treatment to Veterans and their families one day this month. Not only did this make me proud to tell people he was my dentist but it also encouraged me to refer him to 5 other people who may have never heard of him otherwise. Consumers, patients and clients like to know that your company is not only interested in profit. Although every successful business needs to profit, profits are not the only thing that makes a business successful. A little charity can go a long way.

Awareness Promotions
Promotional Products are probably the most cost effective way for your company to market a cause and gain exposure at the same time. There are many different pink promotions but no matter which cause your company decides to market, one of the most exciting things about the times we live in is there is a awareness item out there for just about anything. Many promotional products can be used in our everyday lives but some of them are just plain fun. No matter which product your company chooses, any one of them is guaranteed to let your consumers know what cause you have decided to market.

What Cause has your business supported? Have you run The Race For The Cure? How did your company support that Cause? Which charity would you choose and why?

56 thoughts on “How To Successfully Market A Cause

    • Jacqueline- My father-in-law who was also a dentist went several times a year to under privileged countries to give dental care. When he was alive he would tell me how he would sleep on a cot, no place to really get a good shower but that it didn’t matter because he was helping others. It is great that a dentist today is doing the same thing in Haiti.
      Arleen recently posted…How To Successfully Market A CauseMy Profile

  1. I applaud the breast cancer advocates who have done so much to generate funding for research and education. I was on the board of the NY affiliate of the American Heart Association (AHA), which is how I learned that heart disease is the leading killer of women, by far. Yet many women still don’t know that. AHA has a program comparable to the symbolic pink of cancer — “Go Red for Women.” Type that in your browser to reach their site to learn more about the risk factors for heart disease and how to be more heart healthy.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…7 Tips for Promoting Your Business on InstagramMy Profile

  2. There are so many causes and so little time. What my take away is from this Arleen, is to just pick a cause and support it. A couple of years ago I supported my husband in HIS support of the American Heart Association. He’s the survivor of 2 open heart surgeries. We gave time, money and energy for a couple of years. Now that he is still coping with diabetes, we give money to American Diabetes Association. Yep; sometimes money is just easier.

    Thanks for a terrific post!
    Patricia Weber recently posted…6 Ways the Internet Works for Introverts by guest blogger Jake MaglebyMy Profile

  3. The cause I’ve most consistently supported on a regular basis would be the Humane Society. I spent a year walking dogs, but stopped when I finally found the perfect puppy. That was years ago, but I donate on a regular basis and also take part in Boise’s See Spot Walk. Lately, I’ve been thinking of other causes I could help support, so this is a timely post for me.
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  4. Hey Arleen,

    I agree 🙂 Supporting a cause is not only a great way to promote our brand, but also increase the company’s own morale (and of course, we are helping more people through our participation in a cause, which means in the end, we get a better world :D).

    I loved the tip about non-monetary donations and getting involved. I personally companies should invest more time and effort into these than just donating money.

    Anyways, thank you for the tips, Arleen 🙂 I will keep these in mind (I do plan to start a business in the future; expand on my blogging business, perhaps? These tips could certainly be useful).

  5. It is a good cause and we have similar activities in my country to support it. There was a well known Ophthalmologist in Australia who would perform for fee treatment for eye problems that occurred in overseas countries and among our aboriginal population. After he died his widow continued the foundation and it has saved thousands from going blind.
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  6. As a breast cancer survivor myself I know how important it is to get involved & support causes. I also have 4 rescue pets – 3 dogs & 1 cat. When I clean out my closets all of the clothes go to the local women’s shelter shop. I think what’s important is just to contribute to something that is important to you. You cannot help all the worthy causes there are.

    BTW – perhaps you want to contribute something to my Herbs For Health series. Based on your comment it sounds like you would have some good information to contribute. Just throwing it out there… 🙂
    Geek Girl recently posted…Herbs For Health: A New SeriesMy Profile

    • Cheryl- It really doesn’t matter the cause but getting involved does matter. I also give my clothes to battered woman foundation.

      I appreciate your offer for Herbs for Health series but I am not an expert by any means. I just live my life very differently. Instead of running to the doctors I use acupuncture. Our bodies are powerful machines.
      Arleen recently posted…How To Successfully Market A CauseMy Profile

  7. Hi Arleen – As a mom of a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, I understand the importance of company support. There have been many fundraisers that I have been a part of in cooperation of other businesses. When businesses support a good cause I am more likely to support that business. It’s all about Pay It Forward.
    Elizabeth Scott recently posted…The Importance of Strong PasswordsMy Profile

  8. Hi Arleen

    I agree business should support a cause. I think the October Breast cancer awareness and pink events have put Breast Cancer out there as one of the most recognizable fund raising and awareness campaigns.

    My daughter in law works for an American Oil company based in Texas. They support MS and each year the staff take part in a fund raising cycling event in Texas. My daughter in law flies to America for it. I think that is a great idea.

    Marketing is essential to any Charity and some do it way better than others.

    A great post Arleen.

    Sue Price recently posted…Moving Forward : Accepting Change – part 4My Profile

  9. I know my company sponsors many causes. This is my first October with them so I’m not sure about breast cancer but you better believe I’m going to ask tomorrow.

    You make some really great points and it’s great to see that there are more than one way to support a cause, both as an individual and as a corporation.

    I remember I did a dual birthday party with a friend and instead of asking for gifts we asked for donations to a charity of our choice. Susan B. was one of them.
    Johnny Bravo recently posted…Best Time To Cold CallMy Profile

  10. Arleen congratulations,
    once again you posted super content!

    I knew somebody with breast cancer,
    which was very important to me …
    but personally I do marketing with different cause.
    It is research and development of new technologies,
    from which and their use we can all benefit.

    Often are new technologies abused,
    because their development can be afforded
    only by entities with questionable causes.
    Matjaz Primec recently posted…How to make money blogging (fast and easy)My Profile

    • Debra- Supporting a cause if your business is rewarding. It is money well spent. Companies always want ways to get out their brand recognition, and donating promotional products with their logo and the charity on the item really goes a long way for both.
      Arleen recently posted…How To Successfully Market A CauseMy Profile

  11. Susan G. Komen does a 3 day walk to DC and camp on the mall. After the event any pink tents left over is given to the Girl Scouts. One year I was able to get a 2-man tent for every girl in the troop. Anyway, it was just something I was thinking reading the beginning of this post. I have always been a fan of the national parks system. My family has always supported them, I think it’s time for me to bring it to my business. Thanks for the idea.
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  12. Hi Arleen, Thank you for the tips on supporting worthwhile causes. Your tips and advice is well taken and should be a call to action to all who are able to to get behind something that can really make a difference in the lives of folk everywhere. There no better way than to accomplish this than through business because it touches many people. What ever cause we choose to support it’s good to remember even a little dose a lot.
    Tony recently posted…Raising the Bar with Superior Online Business Marketing Customer ServiceMy Profile

  13. Arleen,

    Yes, it is so important to support a cause! I like the promotional items the best. I love my little pink purse, and other things that I’ve purchased for breast cancer.

    We all have a special cause in our hearts and to promote it with our brand is something wonderful to do. We can even advertise that a portion of our proceeds can go to our cause.

    I just love the story about your Dentist! It is people like that who get truly involved who I like to do business with. It is a powerful thing he has done.

    Great article!
    Donna Merrill recently posted…Irrational FearMy Profile

  14. Hey Arleen,

    Supporting any type of cause I believe is just the right thing to do. Both of my parents have had cancer and my Dad had Parkinson’s as well so those causes are pretty important to us.

    My mother still volunteers for MD Anderson making hats and shawls for the patients. I volunteer when they need some genie pigs but I feel like I’m doing my part.

    I think the companies that donate part of their proceeds to a worthwhile organization says a lot about who they are. I realize it’s great marketing but as long as it helps the cause then all the more power to them.

    I loved the story of the dentist, what a wonderful thing to do. Just says what a big heart he has. Bravo Arleen.

    Thank you for sharing this and I do hope that everyone will do their part next month.

    Adrienne recently posted…Why It Is Never A Waste Of TimeMy Profile

    • Adrienne- That is wonderful that your family is involved the way they are. It can be proceeds, items for the organization to sell to make a profit, money, whatever can be done to support causes that are important to each of us. Isn’t that great about the dentist. I am sure there are more people out there that do give of their time, but we don’t know their stories.

      Breast cancer awareness is getting attention so the power of pink does work.
      Arleen recently posted…How To Successfully Market A CauseMy Profile

  15. In addition I would like to say that flood up the free classified sites and social networks with your cause to get their users notified about the event planned by you or your company, for business event promotion you can check the site linked to my name.

  16. Thanks for another inspiring post, Arleen (and a lovely short video!)

    I worked for our health service, so I’ve never worked for a business that’s supported a charitable cause. I think it’s a wonderful idea and hopefully your post will inspire more businesses to take this on. I’ve no idea which charity I’d choose – there are so many worthy causes. I’d probably opt for something a bit less high-profile than breast cancer – I know it’s an important cause, because I have two colleagues who’ve suffered from it, but it does already get lots of attention and it might be nice to promote a less well known charity – maybe something to do with Alzheimer’s or Motor Neurone Disease, because those neurological conditions cause untold suffering and don’t often get much press.
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    • Susan-I knew you would appreciate the short video, although the blog was up before your article. The point of the article is not pushing breast cancer awareness but any cause small or large. It is a good way for a small or large business to contribute and make a difference, also giving that business some brand recognition. I am a breast cancer survivor so breast cancer awareness is important to me.
      Arleen recently posted…How To Successfully Market A CauseMy Profile

  17. Yes, I have run in the Race For The Cure, here in Portland, Oregon. The energy current is very strong, and the sense of sisterhood between women.

    I love your story of your dentist contributing his dental skills to people in Haiti, and also to vets in this country. Great sentence, this: “Not only did this make me proud to tell people he was my dentist but it also encouraged me to refer him to 5 other people who may have never heard of him otherwise.”

    I agree that businesses should stand for something in addition to their own profits. Like you, this makes me much more interested in doing business with them. I see promotional products a bit differently. I can’t say that I’ve ever bought anything as a result of coming into contact with a promotional product. But I might be in the minority here.

    Great topic and great post, Arleen.
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    • Allison- It is great that the Race for the Cure has gotten so much attention. When my father-in-law was alive he would go to under developed countries and donate his time and equipment and would stay there for three months living under poor conditions.

      Promotional products do work for businesses as it is over a $19 Billion Dollar industry. I am glad it works or I would be out of business.
      Arleen recently posted…How To Successfully Market A CauseMy Profile

  18. Our area has a great Breast Cancer Awareness Month. At our home games, we all wore special t-shirts coloring our side of the stadium pink. The football players wore pink arm bands in honor of those close to them impacted by this disease. They even colored the water at local fountains pink. Hope you can use the ideas too.
    Mary-andering Creatively recently posted…Saturday Thankfulness 🙂My Profile

  19. Hi Arleen,

    Oops… Sorry, I’m late to come over here dear.

    That’s really an interesting story depicted in the video and uniting for such causes is wonderful indeed! It’s not just about supporting, but effective enough to spread the message around others who might never thought about supporting a cause.

    Showing businesses how they can take opportunity by marketing a cause is excellent Arleen! I hope it will work as an encouragement for other businesses out there to support causes while promoting themselves, instead of investing money on ineffective strategies. A win-win situation. Isn’t it? 🙂

    Non-monetary donations are always the best as I believe Arleen. They can inspire others to get involved too. As like you did, people like to go for a extra mile when they notice how supportive a business is. Same may not happen if a company just donating money all the time. Well, as I experienced so far.

    You might remember me mentioning a movie when you talk about “Pay It Forward” concept 🙂 It’s similar to your dentist’s story, but now he’s offering all his time in Africa now. Anyway, thanks for recommending the Pay It Forward movie, I’ve enjoyed it so much.

    You have a lovely weekend Arleen 🙂

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    • Mayura- Doing something large or small, money or time is helping a good cause. Breast cancer awareness has come a little long way in helping with the survival rate. We all can make a difference. Nothing wrong with promoting your business and at the same time standing up for a cause that means something to you. Yes getting involved is what is all about. Glad you enjoyed the movie. Have a good weekend Mayura
      Arleen recently posted…How To Successfully Market A CauseMy Profile

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