Holiday 2010 Cause Marketing: 6 Key Trends (Part 2)

Cause Marketing that Really Gives Back for the Holiday Season and Beyond: What Companies Need to Know
Nov 24, 2010 10:00 AM ET

4.    The new cause marketing (the kind that is authentic and involves your customers and employees directly in giving back collaboratively and conveniently) is hugely important, is going mainstream and is here to stay.

We’re clearly biased but we’re we think it is hugely important; so much so that it likely shouldn’t be categorized as cause marketing as if it is a separate silo.  Social responsibility as an expectation and priority is everywhere, and there is increasingly acknowledgement that we cannot rely upon government and high net worth individuals to fund social action.  Younger demographics have a high appetite for sustainability and giving back, yet lack the means of the Boomers and others.  Enabling them to give back through microdonations and everyday activities is a compelling way to connect with them.

There is a growing body of evidence that shows that consumers (and employees) are looking to companies to give them opportunities to support causes they care about and that they are making decisions around which companies to purchase from, which products to try, buy and to recommend based on the associated opportunities to support causes. 

For retailers, cause marketing is hugely important because consumers want more cause offers and because the opportunity to give back to charities is motivating for them.  To wit, Sears is currently running a campaign in which they’re going to give away 1 billion Sears Reward points just in time for Christmas shopping and the winner must give half of the points to charity.  Apparently Sears decided on this initiative after commissioning research that showed donating to charity is an incentive: their study found that 81% of Americans say that if they came into a large sum of money, they’d most likely donate a portion of that award to a charity.

For retailers who target certain segments, notably women, Moms and Millennials, the research shows that cause marketing is even more important for these companies because it is more important to their target markets.   

5.    The causes that work best in cause marketing are the ones that matter to your customers.

Again, not to sound repetitive, we believe the causes that work “best” are the causes that most resonate with a company’s customers.   

There are definitely areas or pillars that hold broad appeal: such as health charities, childrens’ charities and environmental charities but ultimately causes are a very personal thing: every individual consumer has a unique experience and perspective that leads them to hold certain charities dear to them personally.  It is very difficult for companies to choose a single charity or even a cause theme that will resonate with their entire customer base. 

That’s why we’re big fans of enabling increased choice (i.e.: giving customers more choice in terms of where to donate to as part of a cause related offer) and of incenting corporate sponsored charities (charities companies have existing partnerships with) through creating corporate portfolios (a selection of charities that comprise a fund such as a children’s health charities fund or an environmental fund) and making matching offers available to consumers. 

6.    Cause marketing is really meaningful at a local level. 

Everything points to more local and customized solutions, and cause choices are no different. We’re definitely seeing a growing appetite for local cause marketing offers and at the same time, movement away from some large ‘big brand’ charity aggregators. The ability to support local causes in their communities really resonates with consumers and some of the smaller charities are the ones that most touch consumers (yet don’t necessarily appear on largeco corporate radar).  Most large corporations want to be national but act local, so being able to do both through their cause marketing programs is a Zen state.

Some companies are putting this into action: an example is Starbucks with the launch of their recent digital network that includes a Causes channel where people can make donations to to fund local educational projects. 

The challenge for many companies is how to easily onboard charities in all the regions that they operate in, how to have the capability to create location-specific cause offers and how to present these offers to their consumers in a cost-effective way.  This is again where we’re generating a lot of interest from companies who see that they can use Benevity as a highly customizable giving engine that gives them the capability to create local cause portfolios and build flexible giving options into a wide array of customer and employee experiences.


About Benevity

Benevity has developed North America’s first embeddable microdonation platform, a highly customizable giving engine that socially responsible businesses can use to engage their customers, employees and corporate partners in optional charitable giving on their terms.

Benevity lets companies integrate user-directed, tax receiptable donations and corporate matching programs into their existing transaction environments, using their own brands and systems. The Benevity platform helps companies build authentic and impactful cause marketing, workplace giving and other social responsibility initiatives that increase engagement, brand differentiation and return on social and community investment. To find out more, visit us at or view our short video at