Cause Related Marketing

Cause Related Marketing (CRM) is a marketing tool used by nonprofit organizations and companies. This mutually profitable strategy benefits the charity financially from the sale of specific products. The nonprofit carries a much smaller logo while the company encompasses a larger logo which makes them look as though they are supporting a worthwhile charity, project, or cause. Basically, this type of fund raising aligns companies with causes. It is a way for companies to merge profit with passion. CRM can mirror a company’s values, beliefs and integrity.

CRM was first used by American Express in 1983 to help restore the Statue of Liberty. American Express donated $ .01 toward the restoration of the Statue of Liberty every time a card holder used their American Express card. This type of CRM helped raise millions of dollars. American Express card holders increased by 45%, and card usage increased by 28%.

From a business standpoint, a company builds loyalty to their consumers when they commit to a worthy cause. Many consumers would rather do business with a company that stands for something beyond profits. Companies should volunteer because it makes them look trustworthy, and target a cause they believe in. When the public sees that a company cares they will most likely help with the cause. Consumers tend to believe that a company will put as much passion and commitment into the business they own if they partner with a nonprofit. The company’s responsibility should make sure their target market sees the connection between their goal and the mission of the organization. Using this type of fund raising technique, a company can increase sales, visibility, customer loyalty, an enhanced company image, and can also receive positive media coverage.

Companies such as Avon, Target, Home Depot, and Timberland have begun this type of social commitment. Nonprofits are competing with like organizations for corporate support and public awareness. CRM has become a standard and widely accepted business practice with many of the world’s largest companies. Nonprofits should expand their research efforts and refer to resources in business departments of public and/or academic libraries before partnering. To build a quality partnership, The Foundation Center, recommends nonprofit organizations read up on cause related marketing. One book specifically mentioned is entitled, Mission and Market: The Resource Center for Effective Corporate-Nonprofit Partnerships.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) believes that CRM has become controversial. They believe that CRM undermines traditional philanthropy and that nonprofits are changing their programs to attract CRM dollars. Also, it is believed by AFP that only well-established non-controversial causes attract CRM dollars. In July 2004, AFP conducted a study where 81% of Fortune 500 consumer product manufacturers believed that sales impact is a top factor when it comes to partnering with nonprofit organizations. After looking at the research nonprofit organizations should begin looking for businesses with like minded agendas and whose goal can be better achieved by partnering with that business.

Breast cancer has become the poster child for corporate cause related marketing campaigns. In 1997, BMW launched the “BMW Ultimate Drive Campaign” to encourage potential customers to test drive its vehicles. For each mile driven during a test drive, BMW donated $1 to Susan G. Koman for the cure. This year Estee Lauder has promised to donate $500,000 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation from the sales of its Pink Ribbon Lipstick Collection. Lastly, Yoplait’s “Save Lids to Save Lives” campaign pushes consumers to purchase Yoplait yogurt and in turn the company will support the cure by donating $.10 for each lid mailed in to the company.

Bear in mind that you have to make your own decision in a diverse platform like business and for starters you can have sales CRM software to accelerate your contact management.

In conclusion, nonprofit organizations can bring in a load of income by using the CRM method of fundraising. The cost is low as well as staff and volunteer involvement. Although, this does not build a personal relationship with the community, it makes the organization highly visible to the public. An organization does not have to spend a lot of time developing this method, but they do have to do the research. Internally, this may be an opportunity for employees to receive promotions and/or perks which boosts morale and builds skills.


Brandon Ingram created Galactic Squid and he hopes to see his site to touch the heights that it deserves. Brandon loves to write about tech and gaming.

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