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Six Things a Non-Profit Cause Campaign Must Have by a Non-Profit Marketing Agency

By Jessica Cruz

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

1. A Cause Campaign Must Have an Impactful and Clear Theme

We’re exposed to hundreds of marketing messages on any given day 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, broadcasts, and online communications. Still, its message is consistent across all media: “Save the Children—Everyone.”

2. The 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 what they may need to improve upon.

3. The 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 it 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 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, which 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. This video caught the attention of many people because it pointed out all the things we take for granted and which they may have never had. This video caused 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 critical questions that a cause campaign must answer 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 emotional connection with the cause being marketed. Whether it’s shocking statistics or stories about personal experiences being shared, the marketing should educate the individual and inspire them to donate to that organization to support its work.

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 and the campaign. You can tell people the history of the organization, stories of people who have been helped, meaningful 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 have the opportunity to build a stronger connection with the cause and what is being accomplished.

Crux Creative created a site for EALgreen, which funds college scholarships by supporting corporate sustainability efforts. The site——has raised the organization’s profile among donating corporations, 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 nearly unlimited competition for people’s attention, let alone their dollars, so making donation payments quick and easy is imperative. Whether donations can be given through social media, a website, on the phone, or by snail mail, it is essential that contributions can be provided quickly, easily, and safely.

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


Jessica Cruz is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She’s studying advertising and public relations and is passionate about writing, women’s rights, politics, and spoken-word poetry. After graduation, she hopes to work full-time, developing marketing communications for clients and causes she genuinely cares about.

Michele Allen

With over 30 years of design and marketing experience, I founded Crux in 2005, a 360° Creative and Marketing Agency, catering to Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and non-profits. Specializing in experiential spaces, museums, brand development, and digital marketing, I excel in crafting memorable experiences while emphasizing the significance of authentic brand communication. I offer expertise in Brand Development, Trade Show Exhibits, Museums, Corporate Spaces, Interactives & VR/AR, and Digital Marketing, committed to tailored support and guidance.