Home Blog October 2015 Cause Marketing: Tips, Tricks and Strategies

Cause Marketing: Tips, Tricks and Strategies

Cause Marketing: Tips, Tricks and Strategies

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and Cause Marketing continue to evolve and Food Banks Canada is in a privileged position to work with a wide range of organizations. Not only do these partnerships allow Food Banks Canada to help over 840,000 Canadians every month but it also provided me with the opportunity to connect with 2 of their partners and pull together some key learnings and best practices in cause marketing.

I thought it would be interesting to focus on two very different, yet incredibly successful, campaigns, both of which raised funds for Food Banks Canada. I have identified some tips, tricks and strategies to help you get the most out of your fundraising and cause marketing effort based on the experiences of these partners.

As part of an international day of giving, BESTSELLER Canada selected Food Banks Canada as one of their national partners. The Give-a-Day campaign was simple in concept: BESTSELLER Canada planned to give 100% of all sales on April 10th to charity. All sales, not net profits- everything!

The result? $466,000 raised, half of which was given in support to Food Banks Canada the other half was given to BESTSELLER global charities such as GAIN, UNICEF and SAVE THE CHILDREN.

According to Frank Rocchetti of BESTSELLER Canada “Communication was key, to our staff and to our customers. We knew exactly how much it costs to feed a family and so we were able to determine how many people, say, the sale of a sweater would feed which we then communicated to our customers.” This made it easier for our staff to make the pitch and speak passionately about our chosen charities.

When asked what the biggest surprise of the campaign was, Frank said “Well, we raised 17 million Euros worldwide! But what really surprised me was how staff and customers connected over the cause, which was evident across our social media platforms. Everyone walked away feeling good…really good.”

McCain Foods, a long-time partner that is equally passionate about hunger, took a completely different approach to their campaign.

Joanne Devisser, of McCain Foods Canada, told me that they could have simply written a cheque as part of their goal to raise $1 million dollars in food and cash for Food Banks Canada, but the team wanted to make an even bigger impact. “Our food is inherently shareable, so we wanted to give our community a way to share food by sharing good stories and goodwill.” Said Joanne. This gave rise to the Share Something Good campaign where Canadians were encouraged to share stories of acts of kindness through social media. By sharing a story, McCain Foods donated $5 to Food Banks Canada as part of their overall goal of $1 million.

The result? 11,000 shares and over 5 million impressions!

When asked what surprised her most about the campaign, “I was amazed that people shared stories about how they themselves had used food banks at some point in their lives. It was really touching to see people share such personal stories.”

Joanne echoed Frank’s comments that communication was vital but she added that the campaign took off before they really began to promote it. “The community has to own the campaign” Joanne said “and our goal was to support the community in their campaign, not push the campaign into the community.”

What was clear from both companies was that a balance between a formal communication strategy coupled with enough room for the campaign to take on a life of its own was critical. Most important of all though, according to both Frank and Joanne, is that there must be a genuine connection between the campaign and your CSR strategy, your customers and your brand.

The best place to end is with some advice from Joanne, “make sure that who you partner with is consistent with your overall corporate directive. If someone questions your campaign and CSR goals, you have to be completely transparent. The only way to do that is to be able to point to an authentic connection between your company and your charity of choice.”

To help you build a stronger campaign and show your stakeholders the good work that you are doing in your community, I have outlined 5 tips for campaign success:

5 tips to make your campaign a success:

Tip 1: Choose a cause that fits your brand, CSR and customer interests. When the three come together, the campaign takes on a life of its own.

Tip 2: A great team is a must- think partnership, not campaign! Make the connection between your staff and your charity of choice early in the planning stages and bring both groups together to brainstorm.

Tip 3: You can’t have too much communication. Your staff needs enough information to feel comfortable talking about your campaign. Your consumers/customers want to know exactly who will be helped and how.

Tip 4: Make a plan but know when to ignore it! Leave enough room in your campaign for things to take on a life of their own.

Tip 5: Measure outcomes. If your goal is social media shares, dollars raised or products sold measure it! Check in weekly, daily or hourly and make small changes until you get the desired results.

Don’t miss!

Hunger Facts



of food distributed by Canadian food banks is fresh (eg. milk, eggs, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, bread)