When it comes to mutually beneficial relationships, cause-related marketing (CRM) definitely takes the cake. The term was coined in 1983 by American Express to describe its campaign to raise money for restoration work on the Statue of Liberty.
American Express donated 1 cent toward restoration every time someone used its charge card. The campaign raised over 1.7 million and boosted American Express’ card use by 27%. What’s more, new card applications increased by 45% from the previous year—and this was all accomplished in a 3-month period.
Since then, CRM has become a popular way for non-profit and for-profit organizations to raise funds. According to The Balance, CRM has grown from a $120 million industry in 1990 to more than $2 billion in 2016.
Here’s a snapshot of six successful CRM campaigns from 2010 and beyond.
1. The ALS Association’s “Ice Bucket Challenge”
Perhaps you or a friend or loved were one of the 17 million people in 2014 who took the ALS Association’s “Ice Bucket Challenge”?
The challenge encouraged nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured over their heads to raise awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), known as Lou Gehrig’s disease in the U.S. Participants then nominated others to do the same. Within weeks of the challenge, the ALS Association received $41.8 million. The challenge was later repeated in 2016 and 2017.
2. Walgreen’s “Noses On”
Starting on April 17, 2015, Walgreens kicked off a nationwide, 6-week charity drive to support the Red Nose Day non-profit, which raises funds to end child poverty. Customers were encouraged to show their support by purchasing a Red Nose for $1. All profits benefited Red Nose Day. According to Double the Donation, the campaign raised $18 million.
3. Patagonia’s “Fundraiser for the Planet”
In 2016, Patagonia announced that it would give 100% of their global retail and online Black Friday sales directly to various grassroots environmental organizations. Customers called it a “fundraiser for the earth,” which inspired the name of the campaign. Patagonia expected to raise $2 million in sales, but to their pleasant surprise, they raised more than $10 million.
4. Warby Parker’s “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair”
Warby Parker, a company that sells eyewear, partnered with VisionSpring, a non-profit that provides eyeglasses to impoverished people around the world. For every pair Warby Parker sold, they donated to their non-profit partners—including VisionSpring—to cover the cost of sourcing a pair of glasses. According to VisionSpring, uncorrected vision results in a $202 billion loss to the world economy. Eyeglasses are most needed in developing countries, where there are some 703 million people in need of them. More than 1 million pairs of glasses were distributed.
When it comes to mutually beneficial relationships, cause-related marketing definitely takes the cake.
The Arby’s Foundation teamed up with Share Our Strength, a non-profit dedicated to ending child hunger in the United States, to launch the PurposeFULL campaign.
The campaign occurs at the point of sale at Arby’s fast food restaurants, where people are asked for donations during the sale of an item. Customers saw information about a donation request via screen prompts, signs or via a direct request from a cashier. The PurposeFULL campaign requests $1 donations, which can provide food for 10 meals.
6. Jersey Mike’s “Month of Giving”
Since its inception in 2011, Jersey Mike’s, a sub sandwich chain, has raised more than $12 million for various causes during its Month of Giving. Money is raised through a month-long cash-register fundraiser and a Day of Giving when 100% of sales nationwide go to its 150 charity partners.