Cause Marketing: Are You Ready to Make a Difference?


  • "Cause Marketing" is a promotional strategy that links a company’s sales campaign directly to a non-profit organization.
  • Cause marketing is a business expense, not a donation; companies can & should expect a return on their investment of time & money.
  • RAB offers a number of tools related to cause marketing that can help you get started on your next CM campaign.
  • It’s important to select a cause you believe in, create a campaign that will work for your format, and keep it simple.

Cause Marketing: Are You Ready to Make a Difference?
A Special Article from RAB’s NTR/Co-op Director, Bill Barr

Have you ever asked yourself, "Should our station be doing more with Cause Marketing?" We at the RAB would answer with an enthusiastic, "YES!" The Radio Advertising Bureau is very dedicated to Cause Marketing (CM). Furthermore, this Minister’s son is very passionate about the topic. If you are currently offering CM programs at your station, there is always room for more. If you are not involved with CM, the RAB can help you to better understand the benefits from these types of programs.

To get started, we need to look at a definition. Cause Marketing: Promotional strategy that links a company’s sales campaign directly to a nonprofit organization.

CM generally includes an offer by the sponsor to make a donation to the cause with purchase of its product or service. Unlike philanthropy, money spent on cause marketing is a business expense, not a donation, and is expected to show a return on investment.

The last line of this definition is the portion that might be difficult to understand for some of our members. When talking about CM with a potential client, you need to convey that you are not turning to them for just a donation. You are offering them a marketing opportunity to help them increase sales at the same time they will be supporting some kind of cause. Although this is a great way to increase awareness of a cause, both you and the client need to see a return on your investment of time and money.

Now that you have the definition, turn to the RAB to help you get started on your next CM campaign. Here is a list of CM tools that can be accessed through our Member Services department at (800)232-3131 or on RadioLink (

CM Client File - In this packet, we have grouped together current articles that discuss CM. These articles can help you with leads or ideas for a campaign.

Cause Related Sponsorships - This report on RadioLink provides you with over 100 companies and the causes that they support. You receive both the corporate phone number and the Website of the cause and its supporting company.

CM Proposals - Each edition of RAB’s Non-Traditional Revenue Proposal Book contains many examples of sold CM campaigns.

"Cause Marketing Extra!" - This regular feature in our Tuesday edition of Radio Sales Today can also help you with leads and ideas for CM.

CM Promotions - On RAB’s Website, RadioLink, or from Member Services, you can check out some great CM promotional ideas.

In addition to these helpful tools, we can also provide you with these simple rules to follow for your next CM campaign.

RAB’s rules for a successful Cause Marketing campaign:

1) Select a cause that you believe in. No one will buy a program if you are not sincerely excited about the campaign.

2) Create a campaign that will work for your format. Don’t forget who your listeners are, and select a cause that they will feel is important. Americans are impressed with CM programs that focus on one or more of the following categories: Education, health & welfare, crime prevention, youth activities, environment, or arts & culture.

3) Keep it simple. As with any campaign, you want the message to cause a consumer to react. If the offer is too complicated, no matter how good the cause, consumers will not act on the offer.

Once you have studied the RAB information, you are ready to start developing CM campaigns. During your next needs analysis, discuss the possibility of a cause tie-in with your prospect. If they are not completely sold on the idea of CM, this is when you can bring out the heavy artillery to support Cause Marketing.

The 1999 Cone/Roper Cause Related Trends Report states companies that are involved in CM are rewarded in sales, brand reputation and employee loyalty. Furthermore, here are several facts you should include while discussing CM’s benefits:

• 87% of employees of companies involved with causes feel a strong sense of loyalty to their company, versus 67% of employees at companies without cause programs.

• 90% of employees of companies involved with causes feel proud of their company’s values, versus 56% of employees at companies without cause programs.

• 61% of consumers believe cause related marketing should be a standard business practice.

• About 2/3 of consumers said if price and quality are equal, they are likely to switch to a brand or retailer associated with a good cause.

These powerful facts should sell both you and your client on the benefits of Cause Marketing. By offering the opportunity for Cause Marketing at your station, you will be helping your clients, your community, and your station. Cause Marketing is a win-win situation for all involved. So, the final question is, are you ready to make a difference?


Some of our members may be scratching their heads after watching the video included in their August kit. It seems that instead of RAB’s new “Radio Marketing Edge” video, the production house accidentally shipped a tape of Japanese animation in the kits of some of our members. So in case you’re wondering, martial arts skills are NOT among the tools and services RAB offers! Seriously, we apologize for any confusion; we will re-send “The Marketing Edge” to our entire membership in the October sales & marketing kit