By Tempest Wright, Staff Writer/Illustrator –  October 7, 2019

Strategic Advocacy Marketing for Nonprofits

Within the advertising realm, the last decade has seen the rise of a business strategy called cause marketing. People want to see how their actions – and the actions of large companies – are making a difference. According to a study conducted by Alloy Media, approximately 95 percent of college students reported that they were less likely to ignore an advertisement that promotes a brand’s affiliation with a good cause. Consumers are more likely to invest in a brand with values that parallel their own.

Nonprofits obviously benefit from cause marketing because the general public needs to know about their missions in order to contribute. Although nonprofits need generous individuals to give to their cause, marketing is also important to attract volunteers and other partners who can help do the work. Additionally, marketing gets the attention of media and government entities with vast resources.

The work that goes into marketing a nonprofit doesn’t stray far from that of any other brand. Just like a for-profit company, nonprofits must identify their target audiences and demographics, the best channels through which to reach them, and the best ways to garner and maintain their attention. Those responsible for nonprofit marketing must also set distinguishable campaign goals, such donations and member acquisition.

For brands and companies that market for profit, a partnership with a nonprofit organization may benefit them as much as it benefits the cause in which they advocate. This type of partnership falls in the sponsorship category of cause marketing. For companies, social investment is almost as important as financial. When people connect with a brand’s social efforts, they are more likely to buy that brand’s products or services and remain loyal to the company throughout the years. Partnerships with nonprofits also draw free media attention, attract new business, and yield tax donations. For nonprofits, the benefits of sponsorship are numerous, with the obvious being an increase in funding and awareness.

Not only is cause marketing socially responsible, it’s a sound business move. If a nonprofit is to partner with a company, it’s important that the company aligns with the organization’s values. The company itself should also prioritize compatibility with an organization, as a partnership gone sour is problematic for both parties. Ultimately, cause marketing is another strategy that fosters collaboration among multiple individuals, inspires advocacy, and earns consumer trust.


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