Among the many product labels you see when browsing supermarket shelves, you’ll often find some that claim to support a good cause. But is the product maker really helping a charity when you buy their products, or is this just a marketing ploy designed to exploit your sympathies?
What’s known as cause-related marketing should be a win for all parties involved. So says Hailey Cavill, who’s been developing cause-related partnerships between companies and charities for almost 20 years through her business Cavill + Co. However, depending on how well the partnership has been arranged, some cause-related marketing campaigns may be more effective than others.
[Brands] can see a sales increase of up to 5-10% [as a result of cause-related marketing]
- Hailey Cavill
While the emotional part of our brain may be moved by a brand’s decision to align with a charity, it’s important to remember that the brand has most likely made this decision primarily for business reasons. “[Brands] can see a sales increase of up to 5-10% [as a result of cause-related marketing],” says Cavill.
As well as potentially increasing sales, partnering with a charity can also have a positive influence on the way consumers view a brand. Research in 2012 found cause-related marketing has a better impact on consumers’ responses to brands than other marketing strategies such as sales promotions or sponsorship, provided the charities with which brands partnered were a good fit.
But does it help the charity?
“Cause-related marketing can generate significant funds for vital causes, ” says Rob Edwards, CEO of the Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA). Provided all relevant laws are being abided by, and it’s in line with its Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, the FIA has no issue with it.
Cause-related marketing can generate significant funds for vital causes
- Rob Edwards, CEO of the Fundraising Institute of Australia
But it’s probably fair to say that we can’t just shop our way to a better planet. Cavill argues that, in general, the amount raised through cause-related marketing is quite a small part of a charity’s overall fundraising budget. Despite this, she argues the money raised can be critical as it is untied, meaning it doesn’t have to be earmarked for a particular purpose.
“A lot of charities are good at getting tied income from government or sponsorships, [but] the hardest thing is [getting] untied money they can use to pay staff and so on,” says Cavill. One such example is the partnership she secured between Vaalia and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, which has been able to fund experimental research as a result of untied money.
Learn more about the pros and cons for the charity or find out how cause-related marketing works?