There are many benefits for small businesses to engage in cause marketing. For the many small businesses who do not have resources to run full marketing programs a cause campaign can raise visibility by providing local media attention and create a positive image that provides a competitive edge over the competition. Research shows people will choose products that support a cause over ones that don’t. That immediate customer goodwill created through the cause marketing campaign can translate into longer term customer loyalty while engaging, attracting and retaining quality employees. Many Nonprofit’s also hold fundraisers, which can provide small businesses networking opportunities with stakeholders and potential clients. Below is an ad I did for a local restaurant that supported local food banks.
Despite not having the funding to take part in large-scale efforts there are ways a small business can engage in cause marketing through participation and sponsorship in local charity events or activities. The book Cause Marketing for Nonprofits provides us with some examples including the participation of local banks in the Food Bank for New York City Bank-to-Bank partnership and the Canadian Cancer Society’s daffodils sale through Thrifty Foods.
I found another great example of local small businesses using cause marketing in a a Jewelry trade magazine. Many jewelry stores are still locally owned and family run small businesses that can benefit from cause marketing efforts. One way is for jewelers to participate in local silent auctions through donations. They bring media attention and goodwill to the business and could turn into longer term cause marketing efforts. Another example is a jeweler who created “Battery Mondays” in an effort to raise money for Jewelers for Children. The jeweler says people specifically come in on Monday to make sure the proceeds benefit a nonprofit. Designating a day of the week to benefit a nonprofit is an effective method to increase traffic and sales on traditionally slow days.
Other suggested small business efforts I found included book drives for local child’s learning centers, support for local museums, field trips for children at local schools or sponsoring children’s sports teams and league charitable events. The local hardware store by my house raises money for Vickie’s Angel Walk – a local nonprofit with a mission of helping families fighting cancer who have difficulties paying their bills during the challenging times of fighting their cancer. The small business owner makes it easy to make a donation to the cause at checkout. What cause can your small business support?