Reasons to End a Cause Marketing Relationship

Normally, when it comes to cause marketing I would say that longer relationships are better for sponsor and charity. Think Rolling Stones and U2 not Cream or Soft Cell. That’s because cause marketing is a form of co-branding and like any branding endeavor it takes years to for brands to achieve high customer awareness. Frequently changing partners confuses your customers and stakeholders.

For instance, I guarantee you that even after more than 15 years or so of deep association, in a test of unaided recall relatively few people would be able to identify that Subway Sandwiches and the American Heart Association are co-branded partners.

I’ve written before that lasting corporate-cause relationships are like marriages that require constant maintenance. Or like bank accounts whereto you must make frequent deposits to cover the inevitable withdrawals.

But there are times when it makes sense to end cause marketing relationships.

For causes it’s probably more so a dollars and cents issue than it is even for sponsoring companies.

In the United States and Canada where charities are granted tax exempt status by the IRS and Canada Revenue Agency and in England and Scotland with the status conferred to Registered Charities, it’s all but immoral for charities to remain involved with a campaign that costs the charity more than it generates. And any charity that remains in a relationship that is “unprofitable” will be rightly second-guessed by its board, the press, and the public.

But there are other reasons for charities or sponsors to “break up the band.”

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