Cause Blog

Who are your stakeholders?

At the dawn of Cause Marketing in the mid ’70s, the plan was to use the cause to help attract customers. As a matter of fact, the very first Cause Marketing campaign was to drive admissions to Marriott’s new Great America amusement park with March of Dimes as beneficiary. In the 40 years since, companies have realized that their cause can draw in a substantially larger audience than just customers. It’s expanded to any stakeholder that has an interest in your company. You’ll find all the following groups can become involved with your cause:

  • Community This is the broadest audience of all your Cause Marketing stakeholders. Anywhere your products are sold, anywhere you have an physical facility, anywhere you do business and anywhere you’re thinking of doing business all qualify. It’s where people know you or where you want to be known. It includes virtual communities as well, since so many products and services now defy geography. Though their association with you or your cause may not be a deep one yet, eventually it can be—as they get more engaged with your cause. They look to you to be a neighbor they can be proud of, even if they don’t do business with you.

  • Customers Those already doing business with you or consuming your product want to validate that they're dealing with the right people. They may associate the quality of your product or service with the importance of your cause. When you show them your good side through your Cause Marketing efforts, it helps to confirm that you’re a good corporate citizen and that it’s good to do business with you.

  • Employees Long before there was Cause Marketing, there was workplace giving. Employees want to validate they're working for the right company and its now common to look to a company’s Cause Marketing to examine what they’re made of when considering a job there. Employees tend to make excellent volunteers since they know they’re representing your company as well as the cause.

  • Alumni Former employees, especially those that are retired and have a long work history, tend to be excellent volunteers since they have more time to give. While it’s not as common today for employees to spend their career with one company, those who worked for your company right out of college may have spent the most memorable years of their career there and be delighted to reconnect and get involved with your cause. Even if your corporation bought out their old company, the fact that you remember their part in the success can open the door to a new relationship with your cause. As with colleges, there’s also an alumni camaraderie. If you facilitate their gathering, they can become their own club for your cause. Their fondness for the good you do can also lead to legacy giving.

  • Partners Business partners like manufacturers, suppliers, resellers and business-to-business customers may be some of the most generous to your cause. They know that their involvement with your cause can help cement their business relationship with your corporation. They can get deeply involved with giving, supply in-kind donations, promote your cause and provide volunteers.

  • Stockholders Like consumers, stockholders are looking for proof they’ve purchased correctly. While they may not become big givers, they love to recommend companies they consider good investments. Your Cause Marketing can provide them with the news about what the company and cause are doing that they’re looking for.

  • Board members Your board members typically don’t make minimum wage at their jobs. Most have plenty of disposable income to donate. They also have connections with other influencers that your cause can benefit from. Board members expect your cause to be as well run as your company is.

When you look at stakeholders from this more complete perspective, it’s obvious that you have many different audiences for your Cause Marketing who require separate communications. All of these stakeholders can supply your cause with donations, volunteer hours and positive word of mouth, as well do fundraising for you. The more you know about what they expect of you and what you can expect from them, the more likely you can work together to best benefit your cause.