Select Page

Types of cause marketing campaignsChoosing the Right Types of Cause Marketing Campaigns

There are a variety of types of cause marketing campaigns and they differ considerably in structure. This variation makes finding a clear cause marketing definition difficult, even from Wikipedia, but a quick overview of the types of campaigns should bring some clarity to the concept. Think carefully about what type fits best within the context of your objectives as well as your customer base.

If you are having trouble understanding a particular type of campaign below, a quick visit to our matching cause marketing examples page will help clear things up.


Type #1:Types of cause marketing: Portion of purchase

Portion of Purchase

Example: Starbucks & (RED) — World AIDS Day

In Portion of Purchase campaigns, a business commits to donating a portion of the proceeds or profits from the sale of a product or service. Alternatively, some programs offer a small flat donation for a set of products or services that vary in price, as is the case in the Starbucks example below. This is a commonly used type of cause marketing campaign.


Type #2:Types of cause marketing: Buy one give one

Buy One Give One

Example: Warby Parker & Vision Spring — Buy a Pair, Give a Pair

In Buy One Give One campaigns, a business guarantees that tangible social or environmental good will be done through a nonprofit partner when a shopper purchases a product or service. Though the model was pioneered by Tom’s Shoes, this type of cause marketing campaign has been adopted by many other social enterprises and continues to grow in popularity—especially among millennials. For obvious reasons, we here at CauseGood are big believers in this model.


Type #3:Type of cause marketing: Point of Sale

Point of Sale

Example: Walmart & Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals — Miracle Balloon Campaign

In Point of Sale campaigns, a retailer solicits a donation via a cashier, a screen prompt, or a sign. Some campaigns encourage shoppers to round up to the nearest dollar, while others ask to tack on a dollar amount to the customer’s total. This is very common type of cause marketing campaign among brick and mortar retailers, but some e-retailers like eBay and Amazon are joining in as well.


Type #4:Types of cause marketing: Proud supporter

Proud Supporter

Example: Jeep & United Service Organizations — Operation Safe Return

In Proud Supporter campaigns, a business publicizes a large lump-sum gift through advertising, public relations, or other channels. Normally campaigns of this sort are reserved for businesses with the advertising budgets to sufficiently publicize the contribution.


Type #5:Types of cause marketing: Event Sponsorship

Event Sponsorship

Example: Reebok & Avon 39 — The Walk to End Breast Cancer

In Event Sponsorship campaigns, a business sponsors a walk, run, celebration, or volunteer event. The organizing nonprofit usually develops sponsorship tiers which offer varying levels of brand prominence during the event at different prices.


Type #6:Types of cause marketing: License agreement

License Agreement

Example: Subway & American Heart Association — Heart Healthy Meals

In License Agreement campaigns, a nonprofit grants a business the right use its logo or other trademarks in their marketing in exchange for payment. In some cases, the business must undergo a certification process to qualify before the business is granted the license. This type of cause marketing is typically only done by large brands.


Type #7:Types of cause marketing: Social advocacy

Social Advocacy

Example: Unilever & Dove Self-Esteem Fund — Campaign for Real Beauty

In Social Advocacy campaigns, a business selects a social or environmental issue to address and uses its resources to raise awareness and advocate for change. With this type of cause marketing it is important that the advocacy becomes core to the brand and is viewed as authentic by shoppers.


Type #8:Types of cause marketing: Digital engagement

Digital Engagement

Example: Coke & World Wildlife Fund — Arctic Home

In Digital Engagement campaigns, a business uses a software platform or productivity app to create a digital experience with the goal of raising awareness and donations for a cause. These campaigns also often have a strong social media component to help drive viral traffic to the site.

If you think any types of cause marketing are missing from this list, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us to let us know..