Online Cause Marketing.....Is It Good?

There has been a lot of chatter about online cause marketing over the past several months.  Chase Bank, Pepsi, PayPal and Ebay are only a few of the many companies who use cause minded contests to hand out cash to charities. Spirit Jump has taken full advantage of several of these contests and that has given us first hand knowledge about what works, what doesn't and why social cause marketing should be the wave of social media future.

Recently blogger Beth Kanter posed a question on her blog: "Should We Just Blow Up Nonprofit "Vote For Me" Social Good Contests? We were shocked at the number of comments in favor of doing away with "Vote-For-Me" social good contests. Many people claimed that it was too easy to cheat, that the contests pitted one charity against another and that in the end the bad outweighed the good. 

While we agree these contests are not perfect there are many invaluable reasons why individuals, companies and nonprofits should not shy away from "Vote-For-Me" social good contests:

  1. For small nonprofits online contests provide the opportunity to be seen. While you may not win the big Pepsi grant, your nonprofit will be seen by hundreds of thousands stopping by to check what all the buzz is about. These large companies advertise their social good contests everywhere including television, online and radio. Nonprofits benefit from this mass advertising.
  2. "Vote-For-Me" contests allow the community to make a decision/have a voice. Under normal circumstances foundation funds and grants are given based on the decisions of board members, and usually to the same charities year after year.  Social media has opened those board room doors allowing other charities a chance at funding and allow YOU to help decide what charity should be the recipient.
There are many reasons why cause marketing and social good contests work but mostly they provide an opportunity to participate in a process that has been, for the most part, because it gives individuals and charities a voice.


  1. I can see the pros and cons on each side. Sure the smaller organizations could get weeded out in a contest. People complain about these being popularity contests but that's exactly what they are designed for: popularity.

    The pros are definitely that social media and online contests DO provide that extra exposure for the smaller organizations to people who may not hear about them otherwise. I think the Pepsi contest is a great example of this.

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