June 22, 2023

5 Ways to Up-Level Your Cause Marketing Tactics

Up-level your cause marketing efforts by choosing an authentic cause, establishing meaningful partnerships, creating compelling content, fostering employee engagement, and measuring and communicating impact.

You may be familiar with TOMS' original business model – for every pair of shoes you buy, a pair is donated to someone in need. I can distinctly recall the advertisements, the "One Day Without Shoes" campaign, and the detailed information on the tag about where the shoes are donated and who will benefit. The social impact-driven nature of their brand resulted in great success, and the shoes quickly became popular (they were all the rage at my high school). Over time, TOMS evolved their mission beyond shoes and now invests 1/3 of all profits into grassroots campaigns and organizations in local communities. TOMS' story and business model is a prime example of cause marketing.

Man putting red TOMS shoes on a little boy
TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie, giving a pair of TOMS (source)

Cause marketing has become a powerful strategy for businesses to make a positive social impact while promoting their brand. If done correctly, it's a win-win for both companies and the charitable organizations and causes that benefit from these campaigns. By aligning with a cause, companies can engage customers, build loyalty, and drive meaningful change – much like TOMS. In this blog post, we'll explore five key tactics that can up-level your cause marketing efforts, drawing inspiration from industry experts and successful campaigns.

1. Choose an authentic cause

Selecting the right cause is crucial for an effective cause marketing campaign. Start by identifying a cause that aligns with your brand's values and resonates with your target audience. Authenticity is key, so choose a cause that genuinely reflects your company's mission and beliefs. For TOMS, this was simple – buy a pair of shoes, donate a pair of shoes. The one-to-one nature of their mission was easy for consumers to understand and the impact was felt. Research shows that consumers can sense inauthenticity, so ensure your cause is something your brand is genuinely committed to supporting. By selecting an authentic cause, you can build trust, enhance your brand's reputation, and connect with customers on a deeper level.

2. Establish meaningful partnerships

Collaborating with reputable nonprofits is a crucial aspect of successful cause marketing. Look for organizations that have a strong track record, align with your chosen cause, and share your values. Establish a genuine partnership by working closely with the nonprofit to understand their needs and goals. Trust needs to be built, especially when building a long-lasting campaign and partnership. This collaboration can lead to innovative joint initiatives, co-created content, and shared resources, maximizing the impact of your cause marketing efforts. By partnering with a credible organization, you can leverage their expertise and established network to amplify your message and reach a wider audience.

Boy wearing a Make-a-Wish tshirt and wearing Mickey ears smiling in front of a Mickey Mouse statue
Make-a-Wish and Disney have had a strong partnership for over 40 years, granting wishes to kids who want to visit Disney parks (source)

3. Create compelling and shareable content

Engaging content is essential to capturing the attention and interest of your target audience, including donors. Develop compelling stories that highlight the impact your cause is making. Utilize various formats such as videos (especially short-form videos), illustrated infographics, and blog posts to convey your message effectively. In the hunt for viral content, you might also consider celebrity endorsements. Make the content shareable, encouraging your audience to spread the word and become advocates for your cause. Leverage social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram to amplify your content's reach and engage with your audience through interactive campaigns, hashtags, and user-generated content. Compelling and shareable content can create a ripple effect, increasing awareness and driving participation in your cause marketing campaign. A great example of this would be the ice bucket challenge, which raised awareness for and greatly accelerated the fight against ALS.

Ready to simplify giving?

Talk to one of our experts today to find out how Change can help you.

Talk to an expert

4. Foster employee engagement

Employee involvement is a vital component of successful cause marketing. Engage your employees by providing volunteering opportunities, organizing fundraising events, and offering donation matching programs. Encourage employees to share their experiences and stories related to the cause, amplifying the impact of your campaign. Foster a sense of purpose and community within your organization, aligning your cause marketing efforts with your employees' values. By involving employees, you not only strengthen their connection to the cause but also inspire them to become brand ambassadors, spreading the message to their networks.

5. Measure and communicate impact

To assess the effectiveness of your cause marketing campaign, it is essential to measure and communicate the impact achieved. Set clear goals and define key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress. Utilize tools and analytics to measure the reach, engagement, and conversion rates of your campaign. Share the results transparently with your audience, showcasing the tangible outcomes and demonstrating the difference your brand is making. You might consider publishing a quarterly report, sharing when you reach fundraising milestones, or inviting partners from beneficiary nonprofits to do an Instagram or Twitter takeover in which they talk about their organization. Effective communication of your impact builds credibility and encourages ongoing support from customers, stakeholders, and partners.

Selena Gomez surrounded by other women smiling, surrounded by Rare Beauty products
Selena Gomez's beauty brand, Rare Impact, publishes a yearly social impact report (source)


By implementing these five strategies, you can up-level your cause marketing tactics and drive meaningful change from both a social impact and business perspective. Authenticity, meaningful partnerships, compelling content, employee engagement, and impact measurement are key elements in creating successful cause marketing campaigns. Embrace these tactics to connect with your audience, build brand loyalty, and make a positive difference in the world. And, when you're stumped, take inspiration from companies like TOMS. Cause marketing may be a newer field of marketing, but there are many companies that have done an amazing job so far. Look to your peers!

Incorporating these strategies into your cause marketing efforts will help you create a lasting impact, foster meaningful connections, and inspire change. Start today and leverage the power of cause marketing to drive positive social change while growing your brand.

Learn about other brands that have taken a social stance

Check it out

The only comprehensive compliance & donations solution

Talk to an expert