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Six Things a Non-Profit Cause Campaign MUST Have

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Although a non-profit’s main objective is to support a particular cause, it still must raise the campaign awareness of that cause to support it effectively.  Thus, non-profit brands face the same challenges as those encountered by any for-profit organization marketing products and services. They too must compete with hundreds of other advertisers to gain attention and raise awareness of their brand in order to successfully solicit financial contributions and donations of services, goods and the time and effort of volunteers. It may seem like an extremely difficult task, but it CAN be done! To help make it easier, we’ve put together a list of six MUST do’s a non-profit organization should keep in mind when creating a marketing campaign.

1. A Cause Campaign MUST have an impactful and clear theme.

It seems like during the course of any given day, we’re exposed to hundreds of different marketing messages via various communication channels including television, radio, digital, print, and more. This makes attracting attention to any one product or organization an ongoing challenge.  To achieve this goal, a message must stand out and be concise.  Since the attention span of today’s audiences averages five seconds or less, a campaign must be very selective when developing its most pertinent message.

The marketing for Save the Children is a perfect example of how to convey a clear and consistent message.  This organization supports programs providing food, healthcare and educational opportunities to help children survive and thrive around the world. It uses a host of different venues to raise awareness, including print ads, direct response campaigns, broadcast and online communications – but their message is consistent whatever the media, “Save the Children – Every One.

2. A Cause Campaign MUST have a social media presence.

Almost EVERYONE today is active on some form of social media whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.  By utilizing these digital communications platforms to interact with other users, your organization will be able to reach a worldwide market while encouraging participation in local events.  Social media networks also enable non-profits to listen and learn from their audience about what they are doing well and/or what they may need to improve upon.

3. A Cause Campaign MUST have an attention-grabbing device.

Every organization, including a non-profit, needs to build a distinctive brand with marketing that reflects its brand appropriately. In addition, developing a unique device – from special collection boxes to telethons – can help target markets remember your cause by making it stand out from all other non-profit organizations.

For example, the ALS Association developed an innovative, fun and involving device to draw attention to their work – the “Ice Bucket Challenge.”

Communicating about the challenge and the cause, primarily on social media, initiators asked participants to pass the challenge on to their friends after completing themselves.  The response was incredible.  Using Facebook posts and Twitter tweets to market this challenge, the ALS Association increased their market exponentially.  By getting celebrities and public figures such as Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Fallon and Mark Zuckerberg to participate in this event, the organization was able to cut across demographic lines, pushing the campaign up and beyond coverage in major media to become part of our pop culture.

Another great example of using an attention-getting device is the video created by Water is Life, that went viral with the hashtag, #firstworldproblems.  The video features people from the third world making statements that are common complaints from those in western countries where access to clean water is unlimited, while the camera shows that their reality is very different from our own. This video caught the attention of so many people because it pointed out all the things that we take for granted and which they may have never had.   This video caused the viewers to have an emotional connection to the plight of water-deprived people struggling to survive.  Which brings us to our next “must-have.”

4. A Cause Campaign MUST provoke an emotional connection.

One of the key questions that must be answered by a cause campaign is, “Why should a person care enough to donate to THIS non-profit?” To answer this, the potential donor must be able to relate to, or have some type of emotional connection with, the cause being marketed.  Whether it’s shocking statistics or personal experience stories being shared, the marketing should educate the individual and then inspire him/her to donate to that organization to support its work.

The Robin Hood Foundation is a non-profit organization that helps provide financial assistance and programs for poverty-stricken areas in New York.  The foundation uses videos of families helped by the Robin Hood Foundation to demonstrate how the organization has benefited their lives.  These testimonials show how much the Foundation has helped them, not only with money but with support, education, employment opportunities, training, etc. Their stories demonstrate how the foundation has made their lives easier and the future more hopeful not only for them but their community. Watching these videos helps people understand and directly relate to the struggles of these people and inspires a desire to contribute to the cause.

5. A Cause Campaign MUST have a website that is informative and easy to navigate. 

The website is the “motherland” of all the information you want to communicate about the cause as well as the campaign. You can tell people the history of the organization, stories of people who have been helped, important information about the disease or issue you’re raising money for, what the organization does, how the donation will make an impact, community partnerships, etc.  By providing all of this information, the reader will feel more informed and will have the opportunity to build a stronger connection with the cause and what is being accomplished.

Crux Creative works on a site for EALgreen, an organization that raises money for college scholarships by supporting corporate sustainability efforts.  The site – – has not only raised the organization’s profile among donating corporations but also among colleges, students and those interested in growing a circular economy.

6. A Cause Campaign MUST make it simple to donate.

We live in a world where almost everything is at our fingertips at any given moment.  There’s an almost unlimited amount of competition for people’s attention, let alone their dollars to neglect making donation payments quick and easy to do.  Whether donations can be given through social media, a website, on the phone or by snail mail, it is imperative that contributions can be given quickly, easily, and safely.

We hope these six suggestions will help you develop a campaign for your cause that will exceed expectations.  Or if you’d like us to develop a campaign for you, we’d be happy to help.  Just give us a call and let’s explore why many of our non-profits clients feel Crux Creative is a MUST have for their marketing efforts.

Jessica Cruz – Guest Blogger for Crux Creative


Jessica is a recent Marketing and Urban Studies graduate of UW-Milwaukee.  Her hobbies include reading, traveling to places like Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Costa Rica, and spending time with her year and half old daughter, Jazzmaiah.  Jessica supports non-profit organizations such as: Big Brother, Big Sister Program, Shared Hope International, and Sojourner. Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.

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