A cause marketing relationship is a commercial marketing partnership between a company and a charitable organization whereby a charitable sales promotion is used to market a product or service linked to a social cause or charity, for mutual benefit. Usually, the charitable sales promotion represents that the purchase or use of goods or services offered by the company will benefit a charitable organization. Before the International Rescue Committee determines whether to engage in a cause marketing relationship with a company, the following criteria are carefully reviewed:
- Brand: Cause marketing relationships should generate a positive impact on the IRC name and reputation and increase IRC awareness and publicity.
- Company Match: Cause marketing relationships should only be entered into with companies whose values and philanthropy activities are in line with the IRC’s mission and that promise the greatest benefit to the refugee populations that the IRC serves. The IRC will not enter into cause marketing relationships with companies that do not meet the IRC’s Guidelines on Acceptance of Contributions. Specifically, the IRC will not enter into a cause marketing relationship (i) if a company’s principal activities directly conflict with the IRC’s mission, or could be reasonably expected to limit the IRC’s ability to provide humanitarian assistance; (ii) when the proposed relationship was presented to the IRC for the sole purpose of advancing a direct commercial business interest of a company through the IRC; or (iii) when entering into the relationship would present significant risk of harm to the IRC’s name and reputation, or otherwise contravene or interfere with the fulfillment of the IRC’s mission.
- Reach: Cause marketing relationships should be national/international in scope to build IRC awareness and bring the greatest benefits to the populations the IRC serves.
- Company Credentials: A cause marketing partner should be an industry leader with broad consumer markets to build IRC awareness and bring the greatest benefits to the populations the IRC serves.
- Revenue: Cause marketing relationships should generate fair revenue to the IRC for the use of its marks.
- Maintenance: The resources required to maintain a cause marketing relationship should be appropriately proportional to revenue received by the IRC and/or the potential for increase awareness of the IRC.
- Compliance: All cause marketing relationships must meet the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance’s Standards and be in compliance with the law. In particular, BBB Standard 19 requires that all advertisements, displays and promotional materials related to a cause marketing relationship clearly disclose how the charity benefits from the sale of products or services. Such promotions, advertisements, displays should disclose: (1) the actual or anticipated portion of the purchase price that will benefit the charity; (2) the duration of the campaign; and (3) any maximum or guaranteed minimum contribution amount. Disclosures stating only that the charity will receive "proceeds," "profits," "net proceeds," or some other general financial benefit as a result of sales will not meet this standard. For this reason, the IRC requires that all materials, promotional materials, etc. be approved by the IRC prior to dissemination.
- Written Agreement. Prior to using the IRC name or logo in connection with the sale of any product, a written cause marketing agreement must be entered into between company and the IRC.
If you are interested in forming a cause marketing relationship with the IRC, please send a brief proposal to shannon.paz [at] rescue.org (subject: Cause%20Marketing%20Proposal) with Cause Marketing Proposal in the subject line. After the IRC receives your proposal, the IRC will review it in accordance with the above criteria. If the IRC determines that it would like to discuss the possibility of entering into a cause marketing relationship with your organization, someone from the IRC will be in touch with you to discuss further.