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4 Reasons To Use Cause Marketing

For credit unions, giving back is part of doing business. Now more than ever, evidence shows that telling this story to consumers in the form of cause marketing pays off.

Good causes are the new products. Every day, more and more companies incorporate causes from AIDS awareness to hunger relief into the key elements of their marketing strategies.

Why? Because it works. A brand’s cause affiliations drive its sales and build brand preference and loyalty among its consumers. According to the 2012 Edelman’s Good Purpose Study, customers consistently feel more inclined to buy products from companies aligned with causes.

Through cause marketing, credit unions can successfully create a thriving communication channel with both their prospective and existing member bases.

What Is Cause Marketing?

Cause marketing begins with a mutually beneficial partnership between a nonprofit and a business. In simple terms, a successful partnership is equal parts win-win and work-work:

  • Win-Win: Both partners reap the benefits of each other’s resources and strategies. The business partner raises money and builds awareness for the nonprofit’s mission. The nonprofit attracts and retains customers for the business.
  • Work-Work: Each partner works toward the other’s goals.The nonprofit partner commits to foster a successful relationship with the business, and prove to its partner that the business’ spending makes good business sense. In exchange, the business partner treats the cause partnership as an important and necessary aspect of its company culture and marketing strategy.

What Are The Advantages?

According to information provided by the 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study, here are four top reasons why credit unions should consider investing in cause marketing.

1. People want to see more cause marketing efforts.

The vast majority of American consumers polled showed interest in companies engaged in cause marketing. And 83% of Americans believe businesses should support good causes.

American consumers also think company support for causes is acceptable (88%) and hold those companies’ images in positive regard (85%).

2. Cause marketing yields a competitive edge.

A full 41% of Americans have made a purchasing decision in order to contribute to a cause. That number has doubled since 1993.

Cause marketing communicates higher value, as one in five consumers will pay more for products and services connected to a cause.

Cause marketing also attracts new customers. A cause will prompt 61% of undecided consumers to try a product with which they’re unfamiliar, and a whopping 80% of consumers said they would switch to a brand that supports a cause when price and quality between brands are equal.

3. Moms and Millennials (people aged 18-25) love cause marketing.

Household shoppers (Moms) and hipster shoppers (Millenials) are two of the most highly sought-after market segments today. The number of both consumer profiles who support and approve of businesses that help causes exceeds 90%.Women in general are one of the most valuable demographics for financial institutions. A recent study reported in Forbes indicates that in nearly 90% of households, women make the banking services decisions for the family.

4. Consumers want companies to act locally.

Large-scale companies and nonprofits aren’t the only organizations that can benefit from cause marketing. It’s just as easy and valuable for smaller-scale organizations to engage in corporate/nonprofit partnerships.

Local partnerships may even prove more lucrative, as 91% of Americans believe that companies should support an issue in the communities where they do business.

Credit unions stand to make the most from cause marketing efforts. A community-minded credit union that engages genuine partnerships with other nonprofits and espouses a culture of giving back is already primed for an effective cause marketing strategy.

Social Purpose And Social Media: Telling The Giving Story

Social media is a proven method to engage consumers. Through social networks, brands can control the range of their messages and broadcast campaigns on any level: broadly or locally, regionally or nationally.


Brand marketers involved in campaigns such as Pepsi Refresh or Chase Charitable Giving’ used Facebook to mobilize millions of consumers, whose votes guided how the brands in question spent their donation dollars. However, successful cause marketing programs needn’t be as massive or complex as the above campaigns, nor do they require extraordinary dollar amounts.

Alaska’s Credit Union 1 ($863.9, Anchorage, AK), for instance, thrilled local charities with $500 grants generated from a social media campaign that raised donations from every new Facebook like.

In California, Patelco Credit Union ($3.9B Pleasanton, CA) members provided over $10,000 to the American Red Cross Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund through a social media campaign in which the credit union matched $5,000 worth of online donations.


Sandra Morris is Founder and CEO of CafeGive, a unique company that combines social media marketing with meaningful, action-oriented cause marketing applications. CafeGive’s tools and applications have been used by companies and agencies of all sizes to connect with customers to build brand, enhance reputation, raise awareness and effect social change.CafeGive provides applications and tools to help credit unions create cost-effective and impactful cause marketing campaigns, and the expertise to make your campaign work. Our fully hosted and supported platform includes the templates and tools to create a campaign for your Facebook page or website, encouraging involvement and audience amplification among your social media community. Learn more about how to get started and how we can help you share your giving story at www.cafegive.com.

This article is sponsored by a recognized solutions provider in the credit union industry. Callahan & Associates does not endorse vendors or the solutions they offer, and the views and opinions offered here might not reflect those of Callahan. If you are interested in contributing an article on CreditUnions.com, please contact the Callahan team at ads@creditunions.com or 1-800-446-7453.
December 5, 2013

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