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What makes a successful cause marketing campaign?

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At a glance

  • Cause marketing is a strategic collaboration between a business and a nonprofit organization or a charity.
  • A few benefits of cause marketing are brand awareness, the potential to gain access to new marketing and the creation of meaningful conversations and impact.
  • To start a cause marketing campaign, research organizations that share similar values to your brand or company.
  • If you’re interested in learning more about marketing, consider a Bachelor of Science in Business with a Marketing Certificate at University of Phoenix.

Cause marketing, also known as cause-related marketing, is a strategic collaboration between businesses and nonprofit organizations or charities that aims to benefit both parties. Cause marketing can also increase brand awareness while giving back to the community and positively engaging the public.

Today, corporate social responsibility drives brand loyalty. Research has shown that when customers are aware of a company’s cause initiatives, they’re more likely to recommend that brand or company to friends or family. According to one survey, an overwhelming majority of consumers — 70% — wanted to know what the brands they supported were doing in regard to social and environmental issues. Moreover, almost half of those surveyed stated that they paid close attention to a brand’s social responsibility[1]  efforts when making product purchases.

When implemented successfully, cause marketing campaigns can benefit the business and the nonprofit. For businesses, cause marketing provides an opportunity to build trust between them and their customers and differentiate themselves from their competitors. For a nonprofit or charity, cause marketing can help raise awareness of its mission and gain visibility on a larger scale.

Benefits of cause marketing

While it’s clear cause marketing can benefit both companies and nonprofit organizations, it also offers several other advantages:

  • Cause marketing campaigns help businesses gain access to new markets and reach millions of potential customers at a reduced cost.
  • By partnering with a charitable cause, businesses use these campaigns to tap into powerful emotional appeals that align with people’s desire to help those in need.
  • Campaigns allow companies to engage in more meaningful conversations with their customers and further strengthen the relationship between them and their cause.
  • Cause-related marketing enables a company to measure its impact and demonstrate its commitment to social causes.

For nonprofits and charities, cause marketing strategies help:

  • Increase public awareness of a cause and attract wider attention
  • Generate more donations and support for the cause or charity
  • Raise money to fund programs and initiatives
  • Create greater visibility for the cause or the organization’s mission

As a symbiotic partnership between businesses and cause-based organizations, cause marketing is a powerful tool for improving the lives of those in need.

How to start a cause marketing campaign

Launching a cause marketing campaign requires careful planning and organization. It’s important to consider several local, national or international charities before selecting the cause that best fits your company’s mission and values.

You should also research the cause itself by answering the following questions:

  • What are its fundraising goals?
  • What kinds of campaigns have been successful in the past?
  • What kind of resources and budget do you need to make it successful? 

Once you’ve selected the cause to work with, consider which channels are most appropriate (like social media or email campaigns) and create a timeline that outlines all steps for the campaign.

Actively promote your cause on social media platforms by sharing stories and links to related cause videos or articles and engaging with those who comment or share your content.

Finally, measuring the success of your cause marketing campaign is essential. Measure things like website visits, email open rates and shares on social media to determine the impact of the marketing efforts.

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Elements of a strong cause marketing campaign

Cause marketing campaigns vary widely, but some key elements make them successful. Giving thought to the following considerations can provide better insights into what the cause needs and how best to partner with it, ultimately driving a more successful campaign.


Passion drives business and is contagious — so much so that customers can often sense it. If a cause marketing campaign is handled by those genuinely passionate about the cause, it will show in the execution.

The opposite will also usually show. Consumers can tell if a cause marketing campaign is disingenuous by:

  • A lack of enthusiasm or understanding of the cause on the part of a business
  • A disconnect between actions and cause purpose
  • The cause campaign not being integrated into the business’s brand story

 Business savvy

A working knowledge of cause marketing and the business world is essential to cause-related campaigns. Businesses that understand how cause marketing works can create campaigns that appeal to their customers and drive donations or other support for the cause. People familiar with cause marketing know which channels work best for reaching potential donors, which tactics work best for engaging audiences and how to leverage cause marketing to further their business goals.

Brand synergy

Brand synergy is when two brands connect in a natural, seamless way. This kind of connection helps cause marketing campaigns feel organic and authentic. Plus, it can help create bridges between need and resources, such as when a restaurant donates food or a company provides space for a fundraiser. By finding cause marketing partners with similar values, a cause’s message can be amplified and its reach extended.

Local connection

Cause marketing campaigns that are localized and belief-driven can be very effective in raising awareness, generating brand loyalty and driving donations. Local cause marketing has the potential to reach more people who may not have previously heard about a cause, and it offers an opportunity for companies to engage with their community. For businesses, especially franchises, cause marketing can be a great way to establish a presence in their local area and build a stronger connection with customers.


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When considering partnering with a cause, research organizations located nearby or that have community ties. This allows companies to better tailor cause marketing campaigns to their local market and amplify their message. Additionally, cause marketing can help businesses further their commitment to being responsible community members.

Cause marketing examples 

While marketing campaigns are big undertakings, they don’t have to be overwhelming. Many campaigns are designed to be simple, easy-to-implement cause marketing initiatives such as:

These simple yet powerful cause marketing tactics can be transformative when leveraged correctly to create a positive impact while advancing business goals.

Marketing courses at University of Phoenix

If you’re interested in taking courses to bolster your marketing knowledge, consider the following University of Phoenix programs.

Marketing Certificate (Undergraduate) — This certificate program teaches specialized skills that cultivate leadership prowess while also imparting knowledge on how to design product development strategies, manage supply chain quality and improve organizational systems.

Bachelor of Science in Business with a Marketing Certificate — In this program, you’ll learn how to differentiate products and win consumers’ hearts and minds. Skills taught include communication, leadership, management, operations, marketing analysis and marketing management.

A general marketing course is taught in both the Bachelor of Science in Business and Bachelor of Science in Management programs, but if you want more in-depth courses on this topic, it’s best to consider the Marketing Certificate program.


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