Cause Related Marketing

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Cause Related Marketing


Big Cat Rescue is looking for the right corporate partner for a mutually beneficial Cause Related Marketing campaign. We are doing so many good things for the animals in our care, the captive animals in need and the wild animals and their habitats, but we need funding to make these programs stronger and more effective.


If your company is looking for a way to increase it’s profits and yet establish itself as a valued member of the community consider the following excerpts:


Creating Win-Win Relationships Through Cause-Related Marketing


By Elizabeth A. Amery


With the ever-present emphasis on shareholder value, corporations are reconsidering how community involvement and corporate social responsibility can be tied to their business objectives. In this environment, corporations are teaming up with non-profits in creative ways to achieve their goals.


Cause-related marketing is, perhaps, the most progressive outgrowth of this trend.


Generally defined as a mutually beneficial relationship between a company and a non-profit organization or a social cause, cause-related marketing (CRM) has taken corporate/non-profit relationships to a new level. Through CRM, corporations and non-profits often work closely together. Corporations might use CRM to enhance a brand image or product, or as a way to enter new markets, while non-profits might expect fundraising dollars, in-kind donations, or increased public exposure for the cause and organization.



Over the last two decades, CRM has manifested itself in various ways. While some argue that CRM programs have existed since at least the first half of the twentieth century (see Pringle and Thompson), the rapid growth of modern CRM can be traced to the American Express campaign for the Statue of Liberty renovations in 1980. That successful campaign raised $1.7 million for the Statue of Liberty and substantially increased American Express card membership. Based on the success of this first foray into CRM, in 1993 American Express teamed up with Share Our Strength, an anti-hunger organization based in Washington, D.C., for the successful Charge Against Hunger campaign.


Wal-Mart generated more than $104 million for Children’s Miracle Network’s local hospital members; Seven-Up raised more than $18 million for the Muscular Dystrophy Association; Dannon’s Danimals yogurt made a lifetime commitment to raise more than $1 million each year for the National Wildlife Federation; Coca-Cola’s 10-year, $60 million commitment to Boys & Girls Clubs of America helped triple the number of children served from one million to three million; Sponsors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America committed the promotional resources that enabled the cause to recruit a record number of volunteer mentors at a 40 percent growth rate over the past two years; and Sponsors of MADD spent $30 million promoting its “Don’t Drive Drunk” message last year.


North American companies spent $545 million on cause-related activities in 1998, up 400 percent from $125 million in 1990, according to IEG, a Chicago-based company that tracks sponsorship activities. (For more information please see )


The benefits for corporations are varied. The Corporate Survey, a study published in 1998 by Business in the Community, a London-based organization that works to improve corporate citizenship, confirms that internal corporate support for CRM had grown dramatically since the first study in 1996. Seventy-five percent of chief executives interviewed felt that CRM could “enhance corporate or brand reputation,”

and 81 percent of marketing directors believed that “companies should address the social issues of the day.” (For more information please visit:



The 1999 Cone/Roper Cause Related Trends Report, a five-year study of CRM trends, noted that almost 2/3 of Americans would be “likely to switch brands or retailers to one associated with a good cause, when price and quality are equal.” Not only do consumers react favorably to CRM programs, but employees are also positively influenced. Cone/Roper found that nine in ten workers at companies that have a cause program “feel proud of their companies’ values.” (For more information please visit: )


In addition to this qualitative research, companies have more quantitative ways to illustrate the effectiveness of CRM programs. Since partnering with SOS for Operation Frontline, a three-year program to provide long-term solutions to hunger through education and training, Tyson Food, Inc. has seen its monthly brand tracking survey results on perceptions of good corporate citizenship jump 10 percentage points.



While the potential benefits of a well-planned CRM program may be enticing, creating and implementing a CRM program is a major undertaking for both sides. Tyson’s CRM program with SOS took about a year to implement. Bob Corscadden, Senior Vice President of Marketing Services at Tyson Food, Inc. explains: “You don’t wake up one day and decide to have a program and then have a program the next day. It takes significant human investment to make this work.” Non-profit organizations also need to be ready to commit the resources to handle their responsibilities as a partner. SOS has three senior executives and three coordinator/assistants working full-time on CRM campaigns and programs.


However, CRM has created some true believers in its effectiveness. Joanne Fisher, a spokesperson for American Express notes: “We look at this as a win-win situation … Cause-related programs continue because they work.”



Advice from the pros:


Joanne Fisher, spokesperson for American Express:


American Express was one of the pioneers of CRM, creating the campaign for the Statue of Liberty renovations as well as the Charge Against Hunger campaign. Most recently, American Express launched a program with the Hawaii Nature Center to produce a curriculum for fifth graders that focuses on environment preservation and awareness.


“We look for a cause that resonates with card members and merchants. American Express proactively seeks out the cause and the organizations. Non-profits should seek out companies that do these programs and determine how their cause is relevant to the corporation.”



Dean Kasperzak, consultant and former Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Calphalon:


Calphalon created a CRM campaign with SOS that included co-branding under-performing pans with the SOS name and logo, and pledging to contribute $5 from each sale. Calphalon’s sales increased 250%.


“They need to be proactive with companies that relate to their assets. How can they be distinctive? What do they offer that other organizations don’t? They need to be more competitive.


“Act more like a marketing partner and less like a charity with its hand out. Understand the challenges of the corporate sector, which change yearly, due to mergers, the stock market, etc. A non-profit may find itself working well with one company and expect it to continue. They need to understand the seasonality of the business world; there’s turnover and some people go. New management may want to do something else.


Bob Corscadden, Tyson:


“Find a strategic fit with your business. We were approached by a host of other organizations that didn’t fit our business. Know what your objectives are up front and know the measurable results that you will look at during the campaign and at its completion. Have a few simple measures.


You have to commit internal resources to the program, it can’t be an afterthought.

And, you must have buy-in from the top managers. If the managers start questioning why you’re spending so much time and resources on this, you’re dead in the water.”


Bob Speltz, Global Grant Manager for Nike, Inc., noted the importance of carefully researching potential partners and what Nike looks for in a partner: a public charity with experience in design and execution of national grantmaking programs; national credibility with key stakeholders; a commitment to true partnership; an organization that is professional, dynamic, flexible and experienced in working with celebrities; and experience in working with a Fortune 500 company.


Having coordinated The Longaberger Company’s cause-related marketing for over five years, I am a strong advocate that a strategic cause-related marketing program is a win-win situation for both the cause and the company. At Longaberger, we developed a relationship with the American Cancer Society to raise money for breast cancer research and education. This focus made real sense for the company: the majority of its sales associates, as well as its customers, are women. For a two-month period every year, the company sells a specially-designed basket, and $2 from the sale of each basket goes to the American Cancer Society. To date, the program has raised over $5 million and reached over 11 million women with educational information. Employees from the mailroom to the executive staff know about the program and are proud of the company’s involvement in and support for this issue.


* Lisa Buckley is Managing Director of Changing Our World’s Philanthropy

Division and the former Director of Community Relations at The Longaberger Company, where she developed the company’s successful “Horizons of Hope” CRM program.

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