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!
-Olga Kazakova, Director of Corporate Communications, Volusion