The Future of Cause Marketing


Cause marketing has changed rapidly in recent years and these changes have the potential to impact their contribution to the nonprofit sector. With the rise of online shopping, and many retailers closing up physical stores, the popular point-of-sale requests are becoming less viable. Fortunately, even with all of these changes, there are still ways to get customers involved and create a successful campaigns that support organizations both in raising money and awareness.  How?Joe Waters from Selfish Giving polled some leading experts from the industry about how they see cause marketing evolving and what the future of this fundraising and marketing tool will be. Here are their insights: 


"The tried and true bricks and mortar experience no longer works. Companies likeWarby Parker, Shinola and Yeti stores allow consumers to enjoy storytelling and hands-on opportunities in-store. This is perfect for cause storytelling, and creates an opportunity for consumers to learn more about how they can engage with a cause. Millennials and others want choice: 'Don’t ask me to add a dollar. Tell me how I can take action and make a change.' Experiential retail is the channel for this."

- Philips McCarty, Chief Executive Officer, Good Scout Group


"Other high consumer traffic venues will fill the gap as evidenced in the rise of cause marketing among casual dining, gyms, yoga, golf courses and even gun ranges utilizing the "customer ask" model. The giving buck isn’t going anywhere."

Rich Maiore, Vice President, For Momentum


"Surviving retailers need to innovate swiftly. One option is to replicate the personal interaction and engagement shoppers have enjoyed in the traditional brick and mortar context to go beyond the strictly transactional purchasing model. This would include providing personal shopping concierges to enhance the experience and provide unparalleled attention while simultaneously learning shoppers’ individualized preferences for products, interests and social causes. Such engagement could allow brands to share their charitable commitments and could bring customers along, join in the efforts and give via a customized e-commerce experience."

- Kasia Reterska, Managing Partner, McPherson Strategies


"Businesses need to move away from a 'request' model and toward a 'reward' one. Instead of pleading customers to make a donation themselves, businesses should use giving to thank their customers for engaging with their brand. Whether a customer makes a purchase, becomes a repeat visitor, or takes some other valuable action, businesses should reward that behavior by making a donation out of their own pocket on the customer’s behalf."

- John Rougeux, Co-founder & CMO, Causely


"The only reason checkout charity works now is because of convenience. When it is equally convenient and contextual to give elsewhere that will be the better option. Ultimately, companies need to offer an environment of giving in which they can provide an experience, connection and relationship. Some big companies are doing this, such as VF Corporation. They are building giving experiences that include employees, communities, supply chain, sourcing, end-of-life product reclamation and more."

- Chris Jarvis, Owner & Partner, Realized Worth


"Mobile pay and online shopping is on a fast growth trajectory - set to become the new normal in the next five years. Charitable checkout campaigns should leverage these new technologies in-retail, and embrace out-of-retail transactional tie-ins like mobile peer-to-peer payment apps (i.e. Venmo and Square Cash). With the latter accounting for nearly $100 billion in transactions next year, I'm encouraged by new fundraising options that can make it quicker and easier than ever to donate to our favorite causes."

Brittany Hill, Chief Innovation Officer, Catalist


"We predict an overall increase, not a decrease in corporate social investments through 2022 and beyond. Checkout charity isn’t dying. It is migrating away from the counter and into the virtual world.  Digital tools are giving all companies the direct touch-points with consumers, historically reserved for retailers." 

- Mark Feldman, Managing Director, Cause Consulting


"We're focusing a lot of time and attention on the power of digital engagement and fundraising and see it as a major growth opportunity in the years ahead. Meeting donors where they are is essential for charities that want to capitalize on new avenues of fundraising. As one example, I think it’s important to look to the sharing economy - lots of mobile transactions going on here with a social good deficit and much growth potential ahead."

- Dan Goldenberg, Executive Director, Call of Duty Endowment

We believe that cause marketing has a bright future and we are excited to see how retailers will adapt. It will move from simple one-off donations at the register, to something that is infused into every aspect of people’s lives. With fun social media campaigns, engaging cause products and the rise of cause-driven millennials, we know that cause marketing isn’t going anywhere, but it will look very different in the coming years.This blog included excerpts from a blog by great friend Joe Waters of

Selfish Giving


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