With new methods of fundraising popping up all over the internet these days, it can be hard to decide what the best, most efficient options for your particular organization are. But if you have a cause that appeals to a large audience - or even better, that matches up with the mission or vision of a private, corporate counterpart - then you cannot afford to overlook the hottest new ticket in nonprofit fundraising: cause marketing.

Cause marketing refers to the practice of teaming up a nonprofit's mission with a "for-profit" marketing campaign. If you've ever bought something pink because it supports the Susan G. Komen Foundation, or agreed to donate that extra dollar to you local food bank at the supermarket checkout counter, then you have participated in a cause marketing campaign. Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty", which raised money to educate young women about positive body image, and the commitment of the Newman's Own brand to donating all of their profits are other highly-visible examples. Donating a portion of profits from the sale of products or services is a common cause marketing strategy, but many other strategies (like the supermarket checkout up-sell) have also been very effective.

The benefits are clear: businesses gain good PR, improve their corporate image and are likely to see more sales, while nonprofits gain greater exposure and stand to greatly increase their fundraising income.

But the most important thing to note is that consumers prefer to purchase products and services that support a cause. This means that cause marketing is highly effective and gaining a lot of momentum! Here are some powerful statistics from the Cause Marketing Forum:

  • In 2012, at least 47% of consumers bought a brand that supports a cause at least once a month - and that's a 47% increase over 2010!
  • It's estimated that corporate spending on cause sponsorship was $1.68 billion in 2011, and was predicted to increase to $1.73 billion in 2012.
  • 93% of consumers want to know what businesses are doing to improve the world we live in.
  • In recent years there has been a 39% increase in the number of consumers who say they "would recommend" cause-related brands.

So, as you can see, cause marketing is becoming a popular option for organizations and a big draw for consumers. If you are interested in learning more about it, many marketing experts now specialize in cause marketing and are happy to guide nonprofits through the process. Consultants, eBooks and experts can be found online, as well. If your nonprofit or charity has experience creating or participating in a cause marketing campaign - come over to our forum and tell us about it!