Cause Marketing 101: Examples of Powerful Giving Campaigns

Cause marketing has the unique potential to build loyalty for your brand. See examples of brands running successful cause marketing programs.
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Marketing is challenging for any business, and ecommerce is no exception. You have to master technology, branding and complex buyer behavior. 

Younger people are more likely to shop online. However, they also may be more likely to disregard online advertising. You need a marketing plan that helps you to stand out and build credibility with online audiences. 

A cause marketing campaign has the unique potential to build loyalty for your brand by supporting charitable causes. This can make customers more likely to keep shopping with you. They may even recommend you throughout the years. Such dedication is valuable in the constantly changing online marketplace.

What is Cause Marketing?

Cause marketing is a win-win for business and not-for-profit causes. For-profit and not-for-profit companies can team up to provide marketing benefits and increased profits for both.

Furthermore, businesses can focus on social causes throughout marketing. People are more likely to remember and be loyal to a brand that is strongly associated with a charitable cause.

Businesses have used a cause marketing campaign to draw positive attention for many years. American Express might be one of the best as well as first cause marketing examples. They gave a penny for every dollar spent on their card for three months to restore the statue of liberty. 

This cause marketing campaign had a positive effect on the American public's opinion of American Express.

Cause marketing is marked by a willingness to donate or reduce revenue for the cause. However, many businesses find that well-designed cause marketing campaigns increase earnings considerably.

Perhaps the most distinctive thing about cause marketing is that it is bigger than a brand. It allows direct engagement with customers that helps a brand to become part of the culture.

Are Cause Marketing Campaigns Effective?

Cause marketing is exceptionally effective, and it's only getting more critical. Millennials and Gen Zers may respond especially strongly to marketing for a cause.

Benefits of Cause Marketing

Cause marketing has a wide range of benefits. Practically any business can take advantage of this form of marketing. Cause marketing may have a special meaning for online retailers, eCommerce of all kinds, and any other company that may be lacking in natural attention-getting.

From boosting service and product sales to improving the public's impression of your business' dedication to corporate social responsibility, there are many reasons to team up with a great non-profit organization.

Get attention while building, not losing credibility

Although Millennials make over half of their purchases online, 30% of Millennials are not willing to engage with online advertisements. Cause marketing is another way to reach clients online and through social media without directly advertising your products or service. 

You can raise awareness for your cause and your business at the same time, escaping the scrutiny and disregard given straightforward advertisements. This is especially important for companies that operate entirely online. 

Where companies stand on specific social issues also impacts consumers’ purchase decisions, especially for Millennial and Gen Z consumers. 41% of Millennials believe that brands should take a stance on social issues, and the same is true for 50% of Gen Zers. This is especially important in the growing era of activism and cancel culture.

66% of Americans say even if they love a company’s products or services, they will still cancel that company if it does something wrong or offensive. However, 73% say they are less likely to cancel a company if it is purpose-driven.

This means that a well-targeted social media campaign that explains how your business is helping the good cause that your consumers already care about is a cause marketing example that can get a lot of positive attention for your business, quickly and inexpensively.

Win in the race for loyal customers

Every business, from an entrepreneur just setting out to a well-established multi-million dollar company, wants loyal customers. Loyal customers bring in more loyal customers by telling friends and family about a company, displaying brands, and supporting each cause marketing campaign.

You may not want to wait around in the race for loyal customers. In 2022, corporations gave more than $21 billion to nonprofit organizations, a 13.4% increase over the previous year, which indicates that corporate philanthropy is still on the rise. Additionally, a recent study found that 75% of respondents indicated they were planning to increase their charitable contributions in 2023. 

Cause marketing is growing, and you don't want to be left behind as more brands begin adopting corporate social responsibility.

Customers are becoming more loyal to brands, but only a few brands win out with each customer. (Yotpo 2019) If you want to be in the handful of companies that have a customer's loyalty, you need an edge over the competition.

A third of customers have already stopped purchasing favorite brands by 2019 because they lost trust in the brand. However, when a company leads with purpose, consumers are 76% more likely to trust that brand, and are 72% more likely to become a loyal customer.

You want your customers to trust you more thanks to your commitment to a cause, not to change brand loyalty because they lose confidence in your brand.

Stable revenue growth

Cause-related marketing doesn't just raise awareness for your cause and business—it increases income. 71% of Millennials are willing to pay more for something if they know some profits will go to charity.

Furthermore, 61% of consumers will pay more if they know they’ll get a good customer experience. The satisfaction of contributing to a good cause can aid customers' experiences and will make them even more willing to pay more.

Cause marketing can dramatically improve customer loyalty. Customers are more likely to be loyal to a brand that they believe is committed to a nonprofit organization or cause. Increasing a customer's loyalty by just 7% can increase lifetime profits per customer as much as 85%. 

Olaplex has even found that implementing a cause marketing strategy can increase customer lifetime value 36%, and retention rate 51%.

Loyal customers are more likely to keep purchasing from a brand. There is a 60-70% chance of selling to an existing customer, compared to just 5-20% for new customers.

Cause Marketing Examples

Kenneth Cole.

Kenneth Cole has a number of initiatives to further their evergreen causes of social justice, equality, and mental health. In December 2023, Kenneth Cole launched their inaugural Day of Purpose campaign to celebrate 40 years of social impact for their brand. Through this campaign, Kenneth Cole donated 100% of online sales for a 24-hour time period towards vital mental health efforts.


Social impact is an important pillar of Coach’s brand. Committed to sustainability and making an impact on every purchase, Coach formed Coachtopia, a collaborative lab for innovation. Coachtopia was founded with a mission to help advance a circular fashion system and is a member of 1% for the Planet. On all online purchases, Coachtopia donates 1% to Black Girl Environmentalist, a national organization dedicated to addressing the pathway and retention issue in the climate movement for Black girls, women and gender-expansive people.

Veronica Beard.

Veronica Beard takes an evergreen approach to their cause marketing initiatives, and rotates the nonprofit organizations they work with on a quarterly basis. From January-March 2023, they partnered with The Jed Foundation. Through this partnership, Veronica Beard donated on every online purchase and ran volunteer events in support of The Jed Foundation.



As a cause marketing example, they use controversy and giving back simultaneously, making a strong statement as well as increasing brand loyalty.



Nike has many positive initiatives. During the Coronavirus quarantine, they recruited athletes to help promote their message to play inside.



Dove is one of the most poignant cause related marketing examples. They have been developing their reputation with a cause marketing campaign aimed at making real women feel beautiful for a very long time.



By giving away a shoe for every shoe that they sell, Toms formed a marketing campaign based entirely around cause marketing.

Levi Strauss.  

Levi Strauss

Levi has begun cause-related marketing by starting a free skatepark for kids in India.

Savage x Fenty.

Savage X Fenty

Rihanna extends sizes for all products instead of creating distinct lines for different body types. Her cause-related marketing of appealing to every woman equally is present throughout the products, marketing, and every other aspect of her lingerie and clothing lines.

What is an Effective Cause Marketing Strategy?

The benefits of cause marketing are substantial, but unless you utilize an excellent cause marketing strategy, your investment will be wasted.

  • Clarify your brand identity. Know what you want to communicate with your cause marketing campaigns so that you can create a plan that accomplishes your goals.
  • Research causes. Choose a cause that aligns with your business values. Some nonprofit organizations are better conceived and more likely to last and work well with your business.
  • Organize. Develop specific ways to proceed with marketing and make sure that everyone is on board and understands the mission. Consider various types of cause marketing to choose a plan that will work well for your company.
  • Check language. You do not want to release any advertising or marketing language that could be considered insensitive, so it is essential to check and recheck your campaign to be sure that you are inclusive and respectful.
  • Be patient. Developing a new brand image based around a cause takes time. Some brands, like Dove, for example, have been working on developing their campaign for many years.

How to Promote Cause Marketing Campaigns

  • Let consumers know how they're helping. Utilize newsletter and social media updates about how customer spending has allowed the company to contribute to the cause. A good example or two of specific success stories are also helpful.
  • Launch campaigns to prompt more spending. For example, match a donation to a charitable cause on every purchase.
  • Banners reinforcing your corporate social responsibility in every email and on social media, as well as in every other advertising campaign.
  • Welcome consumers to your social media and website pages with information about your cause.
  • Reinforce why customers should feel good about your company after they have made a purchase.
  • Encourage customers to share their involvement in your social cause.

Creative Cause Marketing Examples

A cause marketing campaign opportunity may occur when you are least expecting it. World and national events and unrest can create openings for you to start a campaign that appeals to the specific needs of customers going through a challenging time.

War, pandemic, and economic depression are unique times. It isn't hard to find a charitable cause to contribute to at such times. Opportunities for a compelling cause marketing campaign are plentiful when the nation is distressed.

Cause marketing examples during such times abound. Not only is it a good marketing decision to get involved, it is the right thing to do.

E-commerce brands have an especially valuable opportunity to reach out to customers during times when shopping in stores is more complicated. Consumers are more likely to reach out to new businesses and try new things when so much of life is changing.

  • Make or sell products that you usually don't. Unexpected products may suddenly become some of the most valuable commodities, so stretch your business to see how you can creatively meet demand. Doing so isn't just a good business decision; it also is a way to help the cause at this time. Finding ways to make products cheaper is also crucial at such times.
  • Defer payments. Wherever possible, now is the time to increase goodwill with your customers by allowing more extended payment plans and deferred payments wherever possible. Be sure to cite your dedication to the cause of helping people get through this challenging time as your reasoning.
  • Build a new normal. If you can offer a product or service that shapes the new normal of living after a disaster, you can establish yourself as an essential part of this new lifestyle.
  • Help, however you can. Whatever your business can do to make things easier on your customers or offer something valuable during this difficult time will increase the positive perception of your business.
  • Respond. You may be swamped with requests that you can't do anything about, but it is essential to respond quickly to build trust with customers.
  • Be consistent. Maintaining consistent posts on social media and your blog may be more difficult during this time. Still, it is crucial to maintain consistency so that you remain present in the minds of your customers as a voice during a crisis.

Start Your Campaign Today

If you're ready to start a campaign that will help your business to stick in the minds of your customers, build trust and loyalty, and do something good in the world, a campaign built around a charitable cause is a great choice.

Make sure to do your research and create a corporate social responsibility campaign that will work for you. Using a solution like ShoppingGives makes it easy for you to raise money for a charitable cause and incorporate powerful marketing campaigns in your business.

To discover deeper insights on how your brand can get started with integrating cause marketing for your business, download the free Your CSR Playbook: Power Strategies For Social Impact Success Playbook below.

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