Can marketing with a cause serve your nonprofit?

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Júlia Bacardit -
  • Avon's marketing campaign to fight breast cancer
    Avon's marketing campaign to fight breast cancer .
  • Marketing with a cause is useful for companies too
    Marketing with a cause is useful for companies too.
  • The Children’s Miracle Network have raised over $750 million in donations
    The Children’s Miracle Network have raised over $750 million in donations.

Marketing with a cause can be a good way to raise fundings for your nonprofit, but first of all you need to be aware of its potential advantages and disadvantages.

Avon is a cosmetic company, but in 2013 they launched a special campaign: “100.000 desires against breast cancer”. Under this slogan, the company sold many pink scarfs and invested the benefits in breast cancer research, which is Avon's Foundation mission. 

When a nonprofit and a company align themselves with a marketing cause, both the company and the nonprofit can win. There are different ways to collaborate with a company, and marketing with a cause is one of them.

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages marketing with a cause can have for your nonprofits.


  • When done properly, marketing with a cause can cause a big positive impact on your nonprofit: through it, many more people may become aware of your mission.
  • It can give your nonprofit  the required fundings it needs to evolve towards its mission.
  • If the experience works for both sides, a punctual campaign can become a more regular long-term relationship between your mission and the company. 


  • The image of your NGO can be at risk if the campaign turns out wrong.
  • Big companies prefer big NGOs, because consumers know about nonprofits like Greenpeace and its mission but don’t know that much about a small nonprofit like Huacal. This means if your nonprofit is still small or medium maybe you should either wait untill you grow or try marketing with a cause with smaller or medium companies.
  • Growing mistrust towards nonprofit campaigns among companies, who tend to view such campaigns as opportunistic.
  • Loss of your nonprofit’s autonomy: marketing with a cause might cause your NGO an excessive dependence on a single company.
  • Particular donors’ outrage. Your nonprofit should handle marketing with a cause carefully and with a strong, well-defined communication strategy. Otherwise you risk your loyal donors thinking your nonprofit is paradoxically promoting consumerism

Even if disadvantages outnumber advantages, there are some cases that prove that marketing with a cause can bemore than useful to your nonprofit’s mission. If you need some inspiration for your nonprofit you can try to follow the example of successful campaigns.

Such was the case of the Miracle Ballon Campaing, which is the result of a collaboration between the Walmart supermarket and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals: Walmart consumers have donated 1 euro to the cause six weeks a year for 27 years. So far, the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals have managed to raise over $750 million in donations.

If you want to find out more about marketing with a cause succesful cases’ click here.

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