Cause Marketing For Dummies®

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Table of Contents

About This Book
Conventions Used in This Book
Foolish Assumptions
How This Book Is Organized
Part I: Getting Started with Cause Marketing
Part II: Promoting Your Cause Marketing Plan
Part III: Implementing Your Cause Marketing Program
Part IV: Taking Your Cause Marketing Program Online
Part V: Expanding Your Cause Marketing Plan
Part VI: The Part of Tens
Icons Used in This Book
Where to Go from Here
Part I: Getting Started with Cause Marketing
Chapter 1: Getting to Know What Cause Marketing Is All About
What Is Cause Marketing?
Exploring the Most Common Forms of Cause Marketing
Point-of-sale cause marketing
Purchase or action-triggered donations
Message promotion
Employee engagement
Digital programs
Making the Case for Doing Cause Marketing in the First Place
Benefiting from Cause Marketing
For the cause
For the business
Understanding What Cause Marketing Is Not
Preparing for the End of Corporate Philanthropy
Chapter 2: Launching a Successful Cause Marketing Program
Determining Your Cause Marketing Approach
Giving at the point-of-sale
Working with purchase and action-triggered donations
Digital programs
Looking at other approaches
Determining What You Need for Success
Get buy-in from your boss
Commit staff or staff time
Bring entrepreneurial spirit to the team
Analyze your existing assets
Set realistic expectations for your campaign
Crafting a Strong Cause Marketing Message
Pinkwashing shouldn’t color your thinking
Choosing your Famous Last Words
Messaging does not always equal mission
Keeping things simple
Moving from Transactional to Transformative Cause Marketing
Why branding is key
Is slick what makes great brands tick?
Striking the Right Balance of Philanthropy, Marketing, and Business
Chapter 3: What a Beautiful Couple You Make! Finding the Right Partner
Defining What a Partner Is in Cause Marketing
Managing Prospects through a Circle Strategy
Researching a company for your cause
Identifying the right cause for your company
Zeroing in on the best companies
Keeping your partners organized with customer relationship management (CRM)
Weighing National versus Local Companies
Managing lots of locations
Shooting for lots of foot traffic
Dealing with fewer companies than you think
Cause Marketing Isn’t for Everyone
What cause marketing can do
What cause marketing can’t do
Making the choice
Chapter 4: Making Your Best Qualities Work for You
Analyzing Your Assets
Leveraging what you’ve got
Using your events to land new partners
Leapfrogging your way to success
Capitalizing on Qualitative Factors
Part II: Promoting Your Cause Marketing Plan
Chapter 5: Selling Cause Marketing Programs
Reaching Out to Prospects
Calling or e-mailing as the first step
Opening with an offer
Positioning cause marketing as win-win-win
Dealing with gatekeepers
Staying Top of Mind
Leaving messages — two perspectives
Using a blog to stay relevant
Avoiding finality, unless it’s a yes
Preparing for the Meeting
Leaving your boss at the office
Setting expectations
Postponing levels for later
Bringing your questions
Packing punch to your PowerPoint
Chapter 6: Closing the Deal
Knowing the Three Types of Decision Makers
Just the facts, ma’am: Thinkers
This feels right: Feelers
It’s all about trust: Deferrers
Getting to Yes
Free is for me
Avoiding excuses to say no
Increasing the number of touchpoints
Making the Numbers
Accepting selling as the key to your success
Knowing, seeing, selling
Getting over the ones that got away
Preparing Winning Proposals
Part III: Implementing Your Cause Marketing Program
Chapter 7: Implementing Your Point-of-Sale Program
Your No. 1 Weapon: Pinups
Keeping Your Message Simple
Honing in on the Power of One
Setting Limits Will Raise More Money
Getting Results with Active and Passive Cause Marketing
Avoiding Unnecessary Signage
Adding Value with Coupons
Focusing on Managers Is Key
Using Incentives as Motivation
Using weekly versus monthly incentives
Finding free incentive prizes
Using secret shoppers
Addressing Pinup Fatigue
Working with Your Partner
Printing Guidelines for Pinups
Shipping and logistics
Determining the quantities and fulfillment
Chapter 8: Working with Purchase or Action-Triggered Donation Programs
Getting the Inside Scoop on Purchased-Triggered Donation Programs
When the company makes the donation
When the consumer makes the donation
Looking at Some Great Programs
Leprechaun Lattes
Warm Coats & Warm Hearts Drive
Understanding Why Triggered Donations May Not Be as Lucrative as Point-of-Sale
Paying Attention to the Fine Print
Rating Your PTD Program
Part IV: Taking Your Cause Marketing Program Online
Chapter 9: Taking Your Cause Marketing Program Online
Harnessing the Power of Group-Buying Sites
Picking the best group-buying site for your program
Raising money with GoodTwo
Raising Money and Awareness with Facebook Likes
Fundraising with Twitter Hashtags
Promoting Your Program with Social Media
Starting a blog
Extending your reach with a Facebook page
Making Twitter a part of your strategy
Improving Transparency with Quora
Using Social Media to Compete in Online Contests
Succeeding with online contests
Understanding the good and the bad of online contests
Chapter 10: The Next Frontier: Location-Based Cause Marketing
Understanding Location-Based Marketing and Services
Facebook Places
Applying Location-Based Marketing to Cause Marketing
Dealing with the Reality of Location-Based Marketing
Jumping in to location-based marketing
Reaping the rewards of location-based marketing
Getting Started with Location-Based Marketing
Linking Consumers to Your Cause with QR Codes
How QR codes work
A quick guide to QR codes
Part V: Expanding Your Cause Marketing Plan
Chapter 11: Measuring and Building on Your Success
Measuring the ROI of Your Program
Building on Your First Program
Educating partners
Establishing new points of value
Working a businesses’ circle of influence
Thinking outside of point-of-sale
Dealing with Unhappy Partners
Addressing Common Partner Complaints about Cause Marketing
Incorporating New Strategies
Working with celebrities
Using affiliate cause marketing
Adding text-to-give
Chapter 12: Exploring Other Cause Marketing Resources
Joining Cause Marketing Forum
Reading Five Must-Read Blogs
Following Ten People on Twitter Today
Keeping Tabs on the Frontrunners
Share Our Strength
Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Toys “R” Us
Reading Publications That Follow Cause Marketing
Ad Age
The Huffington Post
Part VI: The Part of Tens
Chapter 13: The Ten Commandments of Cause Marketing
Thou Shall Know What Cause Marketing Is
Thou Shall Not Confuse Cause Marketing with Philanthropy, Sponsorship, or Social Responsibility
Thou Shall Choose Cause Marketing Partners Carefully
Thou Shall Create Cause Marketing Programs That Are Win-Win
Thou Shall Act Like a Business Person, with a Conscience
Thou Shall Not Limit the Benefits of Cause Marketing to Money
Thou Shall Make Your Cause Marketing Transparent for All to See
Thou Shall Not Expect Results Overnight
Thou Shall Use Social Media Strategically with Cause Marketing
Thou Shall Not Overcomplicate Cause Marketing
Chapter 14: Ten Common Cause Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
Choosing the Wrong Cause or Company for Your Program
Viewing Cause Marketing as Philanthropy, Not Marketing
Being Unnerved by Competitors
Refusing to Be Transparent about Your Program
Making Your Program Overly Complicated
Expecting Too Much of Your Partner
Being Too Focused on Cause Marketing
Rewarding Supporters with Unnecessary Perks
Thinking Cause Marketing Will Solve All Your Problems
Choosing the Wrong Type of Program
Chapter 15: Ten Low-Budget Cause Marketing Ideas
Looking Within
Focusing on Pinups
Setting Up a Simple Percentage-of-Sales Program
Planning Shopping Days
Using Social Media
Making Your Program Easy to Find with SEO
Building Your Program with Existing Events
Teaming Up with Another Cause or Company
Starting with Coin Canisters
Joining Cause Marketing Forum
Chapter 16: Ten Cause Marketing Campaigns We Wish We Could Take Credit For
Wehrenberg Theatres Gold Heart Pin
Starbucks Leprechaun Lattes
Absolut “City” Vodkas
SXSW Check-In for Charity
A.C. Moore’s Act for Autism
FedEx Trees for Troops
Dine Out for No Kid Hungry
Whole Foods Supports Local Causes
Dickies Detroit 874
Massage Envy Social Media Challenge
Chapter 17: Ten Ways to Nail Your Next Cause Marketing Presentation
Know the Who, When, Where, and Why
Include Famous Last Words (FLW)
Limit Your Presentation to 20 Minutes
Tap the Power of Three
Listen to Your High School English Teacher
Balance Emotion with Other Appeals
Be Your Best Visual Aid
Use an Outline to Stay on Track
Let Your Nervousness Energize You
Unleash the Nonverbal You
Cheat Sheet

Cause Marketing For Dummies®

by Joe Waters & Joanna MacDonald


About the Authors

Joe Waters: Joe Waters is a leading expert on cause marketing and social media for nonprofits. He’s the blogger behind the web’s No. 1 cause marketing blog, Since 2004, he has shared his experiences and insights on how small companies and causes can raise money and awareness with cause marketing on a shoestring budget. Joe’s the director of cause marketing for a Boston hospital where he manages a team of sales, event, and marketing professionals that develop cause marketing programs with local and national companies. A sought-after commentator on the subject, Joe is a regular speaker at Cause Marketing Forum’s annual conference. He’s contributor to The Chronicle of Philanthropy and’s Trailblazers for Good and has been featured in the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy Journal,,, and the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Joanna MacDonald: Joanna works alongside Joe and is a senior member of the cause marketing team at a Boston hospital where she focuses on cause marketing sales and operations. She specializes in third-party partnerships and cause marketing events and is the yang to Joe’s ying! Joanna’s long career in nonprofit and for-profit work include stints at the United Way, Cablevision, and Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. With Joe, she is the cofounder of, a training program for causes that want to launch effective and lucrative cause marketing campaigns.


This book is dedicated to all the causes from whom we’ve learned so much about cause marketing, and to all the companies that helped make our programs so successful. We are honored to have learned and worked with them.

Authors’ Acknowledgments

We’re very thankful to Wiley Publishing for giving two new authors the chance to write a For Dummies book on such a great topic like cause marketing, which seems to be on every company’s and nonprofit’s to-do list.

Amy Fandrei, our acquisition editor at Wiley, expertly guided us through the process of becoming Wiley authors. Throughout the writing of the book, she offered advice, insight, direction, and even comfort. She was always upbeat and only knew one direction: straight ahead. Thank you, Amy.

Kelly Ewing, our editor at Wiley, made writing this book a lot easier. And the prose you’ll find in it is much better because of her. Every writer needs a good editor. Ours was Kelly.

Kelly wasn’t our only editor. We also needed a technical editor who knew and understood the topic as well as we did and could flag something that needed more explaining, tell us when we were incorrect, or just plain wrong! This heavy task fell to Portland-based cause marketer Megan Strand, a consultant with InCouraged Communication, who did an excellent job providing feedback and helping us produce a much better book.

We couldn’t have written this book without access to some basic resources.

My friend and colleague David Hessekiel at Cause Marketing Forum was a wonderful resource. We found much of the information we needed right on his fantastic website (

Another tremendous resource was Cone LLC, a leading cause marketing agency based in our hometown of Boston. Its thought leadership on cause marketing is well known and respected. It’s also reflected in the research and studies on cause marketing it frequently shares with the world. Having Cone to turn to was like having our own cause marketing research team a phone call or tweet away! We especially want to thank Sarah Kerkian from Cone’s Insights Group for all her help.

Finally, we want to thank our families for their support while we wrote this book. While they didn’t contribute directly to the research, writing, or editing of the book, they nourished the project with their love, sacrifice, and encouragement. Their patience allowed us to harness passion to prose and produce the book you now hold in your hands.

Publisher’s Acknowledgments

We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments through our online registration form located at

Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:

Acquisitions, Editorial, and Media Development

Project Editor: Kelly Ewing

Acquisitions Editor: Amy Fandrei

Technical Editor: Megan Strand

Editorial Manager: Jodi Jensen

Editorial Assistant: Amanda Graham

Sr. Editorial Assistant: Cherie Case

Cartoons: Rich Tennant (

Composition Services

Project Coordinator: Patrick Redmond

Layout and Graphics: Joyce Haughey, Lavonne Roberts, Corrie Socolovitch

Proofreader: John Greenough, Lauren Mandelbaum, Evelyn Wellborn

Indexer: Cheryl Duksta

Publishing and Editorial for Technology Dummies

Richard Swadley, Vice President and Executive Group Publisher

Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher

Mary Bednarek, Executive Acquisitions Director

Mary C. Corder, Editorial Director

Publishing for Consumer Dummies

Diane Graves Steele, Vice President and Publisher

Composition Services

Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services


We both entered the workforce about the same time in the early 1990s. Joanna worked in the community relations department of a cable company, and Joe did fundraising for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Despite being in different organizations with different responsibilities, we both found ourselves at the intersection of marketing, philanthropy, and business.

We had a lot of different names for what we did. Corporate giving. Sponsorship. Community relations. Neither of us thought to call our work cause marketing, a practice that had only been around a decade. Only in the late ’90s did we begin to view ourselves as cause marketers and truly understand this new, dynamic field.

About This Book

Today, cause marketing is on the tongue of just about every cause and company you talk to — and rightfully so. An industry that saw just $120 million in spending in 1990 is now projected to be at $1.7 billion in spending in 2011, according to the latest IEG Sponsorship Report.

But the growth in cause marketing has been uneven, as it generally hasn’t included the small companies and causes that are the backbone of American business. This book looks to correct this issue by focusing on three major themes:

check.png Traditional cause marketing, such as point-of-sale and purchase- and action-triggered donation programs, which companies and causes of any size can execute.

check.png The introduction of social media and how it can be effectively combined with cause marketing to level the playing field with larger competitors, raise money, and build awareness.

check.png The future of cause marketing and how it’s unfolding with mobile technology and location-based services, such as Foursquare, Facebook Places, and Gowalla. These developments promise further advantages for smaller companies and causes, if they will only embrace them.

More than anything else, this book is about what works now or what will work in cause marketing in the years ahead. We speak from experience; we’ve personally tested most of the things we talk about. We’re also confident that what did work for us is not a fluke. The tactics, tips, suggestions, and insights we offer can be repeated by anyone and produce the same successful results.

If your goal was to pick up a book that was practical, actionable, tested, and detailed, you’ve come to the right place.

Conventions Used in This Book

For us, cause marketing is not the marketing of causes, as it is for some people. Cause marketing is a partnership between a nonprofit and a for-profit for mutual profit. This book is about win-win partnerships between companies and causes.

We wrote this book with causes and companies in mind, but specific sections address issues that are unique to businesses and nonprofits. Both have challenges and opportunities. And while they share much in common, there are times when we treat them separately.

The fact that companies and causes are so different is one of the reasons their partnerships are so strong. They complement and complete each other. That’s why treating them as one and the same would be a mistake to our readers and a disservice to these powerful partnerships.

Throughout this book, we include URLs (web addresses) where you can go to find out more information relating to cause marketing. You can easily identify these links because they appear in a different font — for example,

Foolish Assumptions

As we were writing this book, we pictured small companies and causes staring awestruck at the cause marketing campaigns executed by their larger counterparts. Although these companies were impressed, they were frustrated that such success was well out of their reach.

But we’re passionate that these causes and small companies have the same ability to execute successful programs as the larger organizations do, if they only had someone to teach them how. That’s what we’re here to do.

As we wrote this book, we made the following main assumptions about you, the reader:

check.png If you’re a cause, you’re looking for a new way to raise money and build awareness. If you’re a company, you want to help good causes and give yourself a powerful competitive edge.

check.png You’re open to a new way of thinking about how causes and companies work together. Cause marketing is not philanthropy, corporate giving, or sponsorship. Are you ready to wear a new hat?

check.png Your interest extends beyond causes and companies and how technology, social media, and location-based services will drive cause marketing in the months and years ahead. Hey, you’re a hipster and follow the coolest trends!

How This Book Is Organized

This book is made up of six parts that introduce you to the traditional world of cause marketing (for example, point-of-sale, purchase-triggered donations, message promotion) and the online cause marketing world that is emerging with social media and location-based services.

Part I: Getting Started with Cause Marketing

Part I is all about getting you up to speed on what cause marketing is (and isn’t) and choosing the right approach for your cause or company. This part also looks at what no cause marketing program can do without — a partner. We explore how partners are not so much found as they are detected. Finally, we show you how you can make your best qualities work for you. Like good partners, assets are uncovered, not discovered.

Part II: Promoting Your Cause Marketing Plan

Part II covers the actual selling of your cause marketing program. We take you from making the initial phone call and dealing with gatekeepers to the meeting and using PowerPoint effectively. (Don’t worry: We don’t leave you hanging at the slideshow!) We take you to the most important step — the close.

Part III: Implementing Your Cause Marketing Program

Part III begins with a look at the best type of cause marketing, point-of-sale. We show you how to create a timeline; work with operations staff; and how to navigate your printing and shipping options. Taking your cause marketing program from the back office to the storefront, we look at the key role managers and cashiers play in your success and how to maximize their involvement. Lastly, we switch gears and look at creating and executing the second major cause marketing strategy, purchase- and action-triggered donations.

Part IV: Taking Your Cause Marketing Program Online

The web, social media, and location-based services will play a key role in the growth and development of cause marketing. Part IV examines how group buying services, question-and-answer sites, and Facebook Likes, among other online tools, are creating new opportunities for win-win partnerships and are making cause marketing more transparent and ubiquitous than ever.

Part V: Expanding Your Cause Marketing Plan

Part V takes your cause marketing program to the next level. We explain how to build on your first program, even when you hit a few bumps on the road with your new partner. We also look at advanced cause marketing strategies: tapping the power of events, celebrities, text-to-give, and third-party partners.

Part VI: The Part of Tens

Like all For Dummies books, this one has a Part of Tens. These chapters list the ten commandments of cause marketing, ten mistakes to avoid, ten low-budget cause marketing ideas, ten cause marketing programs we wish we could take credit for, and ten ways to nail your next cause marketing presentation. Phew! We love lists of ten! And we think you’ll agree with us that some of the most important advice in the book is found in this easy-to-read and helpful section.

Icons Used in This Book

The little pictures (called icons) you see in the margins throughout this book emphasize a point to remember, a danger to be aware of, or information that we think you may find helpful or will make a task easier. Here’s what each of those icons mean:

tip.eps Tips are bits of information that you may find useful or that make something you need to do easier.

warning_bomb.eps We use this icon to point out situations that can get you into trouble.

remember.eps When you see this icon, take special note of the information so that you remember it later.

justforcompanies.eps If you’re a business owner interested in cause marketing, you’ll want to watch for these icons. We wrote this text especially for you.

Where to Go from Here

You don’t have to read this book front to back, but you may want to. As much as possible, we follow a chronological progression with Cause Marketing For Dummies that takes you through the steps of creating and executing a cause marketing program.

Of course, the great thing about this book, and For Dummies books in general, is that each chapter stands alone, so you can use this book as a reference. The detailed table of contents is a big help in finding the specific information you’re seeking.

Not sure where to begin? If you’re new to cause marketing, start with Chapter 1 so that you can fully understand what cause marketing is and how our perspective on it may be different from how others have talked about it. If you aren’t interested in one particular aspect of cause marketing, then you can proceed sequentially as we begin with basic offline strategies and move to more advanced campaigns involving social media and location-based services.

If you’re somewhat familiar with transactional cause marketing and are fortunate to already have a partner to work with, you can skip the first few chapters and jump into the cause marketing tactics that might make sense for a partnership program.

If you’re interested more in the future of cause marketing and the direction it will take in the years to come, or if you are just looking for some quick tips, resources, or inspiration, start with Part V.

Please note that some special symbols used in this eBook may not display properly on all eReader devices. If you have trouble determining any symbol, please call Wiley Product Technical Support at 800-762-2974. Outside of the United States, please call 317-572-3993. You can also contact Wiley Product Technical Support at

Part I

Getting Started with Cause Marketing


In this part . . .

Part I lays the foundation for cause marketing success by explaining what cause marketing is, the different types of tactics, and how to find what every program needs: a partner. We also show you how you can maximize the success of your program with training, motivation, and incentives.