Choose a charity: Brands are putting the choice in the consumers’ hands to pick where donations and support will be directed. Starbucks’ Vote. Give. Grow. Program allows consumers to help determine where the Starbucks Foundation’s funds will be allocated. Beaulieu Vineyard from Diageo also invites consumers to nominate Hometown Hunger Heroes to recognize and reward as part of the brand’s Give and Give Back program.
Unconventional Giving: Brands and causes are turning less traditional means to raise awareness and funds. Campaigns are less about monetary donations and more about creating consumer actions. Movember, a mustache growing campaign to raise money and awareness for men’s health, has been championed by brands like Gillette, to turn this quirky task into a powerful tool to start important conversations amongst its consumers and raise money for a cause close to the brand.
Transparency is Key: After recent backlash at some non-profits with questionable practices, there is a greater demand for transparency from charitable organizations and for consumers to know exactly what their money is supporting. Unilever’s Waterworks App provided clear and trackable metrics for consumers to see how their donations were being put to good use.
What it Means
Millennials have grown up in a world with a focus on helping others and giving back. These socially minded consumers expect brands to step up to the plate and act as leaders in championing causes. In their minds, brands have more power than individuals to do good, and can amplify their efforts by mobilizing their consumers to get involved and spread the word. They have the opportunity to engage with consumers in a meaningful and unique way by pushing the boundaries and finding interesting ways to support a cause. There is an increasing desire of Millennials to stand out as individuals and they approach philanthropy in a similar way, looking for ways to not only do good, but do good differently.
For brands to engage Millennial consumers in a meaningful way and make a positive statement with cause marketing, there are several guiding practices to consider:
- Keep campaigns personal, giving control to consumers for decisions about where money is directed and how it is
- Be transparent — partners should be selected carefully and brands should be open about their donations and
- Consider unconventional methods to support a cause—Millennials will sit up and take notice
- Given the saturation of cause-campaigns around the holidays, consider other times of year for a bigger impact