Ecommerce for a Cause: 5 Ways to Make an Impact with Your Online Store

Looking to change the world with your online store? Check out these five ways to give back and make a difference.

One of the best things about owning an online business is that you get to do what you love, everyday. Even better, you get to make an impact on the lives of others through the products and services you sell. Today, many companies are positively impacting their communities through relationships with non-profit organizations. You may or may not be already engaging in cause marketing with your online business, and today I’d like to share a few ideas with you about how to get started.

Cause marketing refers to a type of marketing involving the joint efforts of a “for profit” business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit. Business owners and their employees already personally support nonprofit organizations of their choice, and having the brand’s backing is a natural extension of that. Not only does cause marketing connect employees and customers to a greater cause, it also makes business sense. According to Edelman’s annual goodpurpose® study, in 2012, nearly half (47%) of consumers have bought a brand at least monthly that supports a cause, representing a 47% increase from 2010.

Here are just a few ideas that can get you started with a cause marketing program.

  • Pick an organization you believe in: Cause marketing is most effective when you and your team are connected to the main mission of the organization, and have a strong belief in the cause. Find out what matters to you, your team and your customers, and explore how you can make a difference. Then, find ways to partner with the organization throughout the year to keep communication and activity consistent.
  • Plan joint promotions: Typically, nonprofit organizations send monthly newsletters and host regular fundraising events. Discuss ways in which you can join forces on promotions, and list one another’s logos and information in marketing materials. Joint materials will help your brands establish better synergy, and show your supporters that you’re a team.
  • Donate your product or service: Toms.com is well known for their efforts in donating a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased. Not only did they donate over 10,000 pairs of shoes to children in need during their first year of business in 2006, but they also started a movement that swept the nation. If you have the opportunity to do so, pick a month, week or single day to donate your product or service to those in need. Your customers will remember the good deed, and feel more connected with your brand through the greater cause.
  • Donate a percentage of profits towards a cause: Volusion customer KAMMOK™ sells the ROO™, a camping hammock. With every ROO purchased, KAMMOK gives a treated mosquito net or health education to a family in Africa to fight malaria through their partnership with Malaria No More. Another inspiring example is Volusion Mompreneur Contest winner, Julia Butera of hope. health. joy who donates a whopping 75% of proceeds from her store to The Leukemia Lymphoma Society.
  • Utilize social media campaigns: Social media channels are great places for you to drive engagement for a cause. Because networks like Twitter and Facebook encourage us to share relevant and interesting information, you have the chance to reach the followers of your followers and unite thousands around a mission you care about. Think about donating a dollar amount for retweets on a tweet about the nonprofit you’re supporting, or donating a product on behalf of everyone who checks in at your business location on Foursquare. There are endless options for you to get creative with social giving, and setting up campaigns can take just a matter of minutes.

 

I hope you find these tips helpful as you think about cause marketing for your business, and how you can align with nonprofits to make a greater impact. If you’re currently running a cause-marketing program that you’d like to share with us, please explain it in the comments section below. We love hearing about how Volusion customers are giving back, and are continually inspired by your stories!

Happy Selling!
-Olga Kazakova, Director of Corporate Communications, Volusion

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2 Responses to “Ecommerce for a Cause: 5 Ways to Make an Impact with Your Online Store”

  1. Diane Hernandez

    Hi! My name is Diane Hernandez and I am interested in donating 10% of every sale my company Le Chic Pup will make to the Los Angeles Animal Services Department. As a matter of fact, they have already opened a checking account on behalf of my company so that I may make those deposits once I start making sales. My store will launch this July 25Th, 2012. I would like to know how I can publish their company logo or info onto my online store, maybe somewhere on my front home page of my store or at check out. can you help? I have less than 7 days to prepare so all the help I can get is extremely appreciated!!

    Reply
    • Matt

      Hi Diane,

      Thank you for your comment and interest in this subject matter. It is fantastic that you are looking to donate 10% of every sale to the Los Angeles Animal Services Department. What a great opportunity to give back to the community, and make an even bigger impact with your online business. There are a few steps you could take to market your affiliation with the organization and let your customers know that 10% of everything purchased will be donated. First, you can include this information on your “About Us”page. Volusion’s store builder has an “About Us” page built-in to the software, and you can include a paragraph there that explains your connection to the organization. Next, you can create a graphic/badge/callout for your homepage that shows that highlights the donation. Hope.health.joy (one of the Volusion sites I referenced in the post) does a great job with these two points on their homepage and About Us pages. Finally, in order to use the organization’s logo and get the best version possible for your website, it is helpful to find a representative at the company that is responsible for partner or community relationships and shoot them an email. Check to see if they have a program in place where they provide a ‘kit’ for partners and if they have approved verbiage that can be used on your site. Each organization is unique and will have different rules on how their brand can be used in external materials, but hopefully they have a policy in place and you can advertise their great organization directly on your online store! I hope this information helps, and I want to wish you the best of luck with the launch of your online store. I’ll be sure to check out Le Chic Pup this Wednesday. -Olga

      Reply

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