How Cause Marketing Is a Win-Win
The United States is the world’s most generous nation, according to the 2013 World Giving Index, which ranks countries based on monetary giving, volunteering and helping of strangers in a typical month. It should come as no surprise, then, that this national emphasis on philanthropy is carrying over into the business world.
According to Giving USA, in 2013 all charitable contributions totaled $335 billion with $16.75 billion coming from corporations. And the IEG Sponsorship Report released by global sponsorship consultants IEG shows that corporate cause sponsorship grew 4.8 percent in 2013 to reach 1.78 billion and is projected to rise to $1.8 billion in 2014.
So why are so many businesses opting to spend time and money to support causes near and dear to their corporate hearts? I95 BUSINESS talked to three local businesses about the strategy and reasons behind their investments in cause marketing.
“It Comes Back Ten-Fold”
At the Greene Turtle in Aberdeen, Marketing Director Danyelle Filiaggi can always be found out and about in the community, looking for ways to support the community while helping grow business at the local restaurant and sports bar. Recent initiatives range from supporting local families and charities through “Funds for Friends” evenings where a percentage of proceeds goes to the designated cause to establishing a Team Green Turtle to participate in the Harford County Boys & Girls Club Kiss A Pig fundraiser. In October, the restaurant will host “Wheels to Work,” a car show event to benefit Harford Family House, Anna’s House and SARC.
So why do they do it? According to Filiaggi, it’s an important part of their corporate mission to connect with the community. “I don’t go into it thinking what I’m going to get out of it,” she says, “but it comes back ten-fold by building a loyal clientele of repeat customers who tell their friends about the good things we’re doing.”
A Non-Profit Helping Other Non-Profits
As a non-profit itself, the Presbyterian Home of Maryland understands better than most just how much other causes rely on the generosity of corporate supporters. That’s why the organization, which currently operates an assisted living and nursing facility in Towson and plans to open the Carsins Run at Eva Mar continuing care retirement community in Bel Air, focuses so heavily on community outreach, involvement and giving.
The organization’s community relations team of Heather Lamont, Diana Klug and Nancy Heid can be found regularly volunteering their time with organizations including Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna’s Women’s Build and Center for the Arts. Lamont is also a graduate of the Harford Leadership Academy Class of 2014 and serves on the board for Chesapeake Therapeutic Riding, while Klug serves on the Chesapeake Professional Women’s Network Fashion Show Committee and recruits new members for the Community Foundation of Harford County’s Women’s Giving Circle.
Additionally, Carsins Run at Eva Mar sponsors a number of events for area non-profits, including the Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation Starnight Gala, Harford Family House’s Home Runs for the Homeless, the Harford County Public Library Foundation Gala and Chesapeake Therapeutic Riding’s 4th Annual Benefit Polo Match, among others.
Lamont says, “All of us on the community relations team really enjoy giving back to the community, but at the same time we recognize it’s an important part of our marketing strategy to build both awareness and a positive association with the Carsins Run at Eva Mar brand.”
Turning Junk Into Treasure
While the Greene Turtle focuses primarily on fundraising and Presbyterian Home of Maryland emphasizes volunteering and sponsorships, area junk removal company BumbleJunk relies on cause marketing as an inherent part of its business model. Recently, the company partnered with Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake to provide a new, express, paid pick-up service to homeowners and commercial offices. BumbleJunk picks up items for donation and delivers them to Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake ReStores, nonprofit home improvement stores that sell building materials, furniture, appliances and more at discounted prices. All income generated helps enable Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake to create affordable homeownership opportunities in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County.
Additionally, all non-building related salvageable goods collected by BumbleJunk are donated to local charities including Goodwill and the Salvation Army. BumbleJunk co-owner and founder Ryan Sentz says, “We are proud to support our local community in an eco-friendly way. We believe the relationships we have with Habitat for Humanity as well as other non-profits are as beneficial to us as they are to them, since they enable us to fulfill our goal of providing an eco-friendly alternative to traditional junk disposal.”
The net result of a successful giving strategy is a win-win for everyone. Companies provide support to important social causes and see increased business or improved brand image (the so-called “halo effect”) in return. So what are you waiting for? Start thinking about ways your business can align with a cause that’s meaningful to you to the benefit of everyone involved. I95