Cause Marketing

As the information age has changed business practices, the concept of corporate responsibility has become a factor in the way business owners make decisions about their best practices, such as material sourcing, pricing, and hiring, and in the way consumers make decisions about which businesses they want to support with their dollars.


As companies put more emphasis on incorporating organizational and personal values into their business model, the growth of cause marketing is one fast-growing aspect of the larger corporate responsibility movement. Cause marketing is essentially an effort by a for-profit business to partner with or donates to a non-profit cause. Cause marketing is a way for the business owner to promote their service or product while also supporting a charity that embodies the values they want to connect with their brand.


What does Cause Marketing look like in our community?


Beth Millner Jewelry in downtown Marquette has always asked herself ‘what’s next?’ when it comes to her business. This led her to embrace cause marketing with her forward-looking vision, and the Fundraising portion of her work has become a cornerstone of her business model and a well-known aspect of her brand. Beth accepts applications from non-profits throughout the Upper Peninsula annually and designs a custom pendant for selected participants to be sold in her shop and online for one year. Over the past 3 years, Beth Millner Jewelry has donated over $24,000 to community causes and contributed the voice of her business to raising awareness for each of the organizations and issues supported by the fundraising efforts.


Rare Bird BrewPub in Traverse City gives back to the community in a variety of ways, leading by example to show that cause marketing can take many forms and can be molded to suit the strengths of the business and the needs of the community. UpNorth Pride Week, Northern Michigan Women in Hospitality and other Traverse city region non-profits have been provided event sponsorship, free meeting space, and support for local events. Rare Bird donates 2% of its beer sales for a portion of each year to Drink Local Think Global.


How could Cause Marketing work for your business?


Cause marketing is an expansive concept with room for creative applications. If you like to become more involved in supporting your community through sales in your business, consider these types of cause marketing:


  • Point of sale donations – collecting donations for a cause as your customers make any purchase from your store, allowing for digital options with credit card sales and cash donations at the register.
  • Purchase triggered donations – like Beth Millner, allotting a set percentage of overall sales or sales of a certain product to be donated to a non-profit.
  • Employee engagement – asking employees to join together as a group representing the company to support a local project.


Cause marketing is a great way to embrace sharing your corporate and personal values with your community while promoting your own work. When the vision of your business is in alignment with the goals of a non-profit you’d like to support, the partnership can feel natural, mutually beneficial, and impactful.

More News Stories

This article in MIBiz is a good explanation of Michigan's new CDFI Coalition. Here's a snippet: Elissa Sangalli, president of Marquette-based Northern Initiatives, said she…
Read More
GT Regional Community Foundation and Northern Initiatives A story about year-end giving in Northern Express mentions the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation and its recent…
Read More
The Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation is the fifth community foundation to invest in its community through Northern Initiatives. “Impact investing, also known as Program…
Read More