Philanthropy, Tips and Advice

How to Create Your Next Brilliant Cause Marketing Campaign

A cause marketing campaign or charity component for a project can create quite a bit of buzz about the work you are doing. It can become a part of who you are as a brand and help you reach an audience of like-minded consumers who want to make a social impact. But how do you find that idea? How do you get to that one thing that differentiates you from all the rest? 

We have the tips you need to start creating a brilliant cause marketing campaign. We also broke down the brilliant cause marketing campaign that was just announced by the ride share company Lyft to help us understand the important parts of a successful program. Lyft recently announced that they will offer discounted and free rides on election day (Nov 6) for those without access to transportation.

Know who you are and what you do.

Before you can create a cause marketing campaign, you need to understand who you are and what services or products you provide. Lyft’s brand statement reads: “At Lyft, we’re working to improve lives by connecting people and their communities through the world’s best transportation.” They are a ride share service and their mission is clear- they want to provide the best transportation to easily get people where they need to go.

Find a problem that you are uniquely qualified to help solve.

There are a lot of causes that deserve support out there and it’s impossible to support them all in a meaningful way. So reread your answer to tip #1 and remember who you are and what you do. What community problems can your service or product help solve? Focus on the answer to that question as the goal for your cause marketing campaign.

In Lyft’s case, a significant number of people are registered to vote but don’t for any number of reasons. The company did some research and found that 15 million people were registered to vote but didn’t because of lack of transportation. They are a ride share service – they can help people get to the polls through their extensive existent driver network. This problem preventing Americans from getting to polling stations is one that Lyft is uniquely qualified to solve.

Partner with those working in the community to make the most impact.

Imagine if on November 6th Lyft just gave out a code for free rides via twitter. Or if they emailed their current users about the promotion. Sure, they are doing what they said they would do, but how can they know that those 15 million people who lack access to transportation are the ones receiving the support?

Sometimes you may have a service or product that your community could benefit from but you don’t know how to get it to the right people. That’s where your community partners come in. They know the community and where the needs really lie. These partners can make your life easier by helping you with the leg work of finding the people who need your service so you can focus on making sure the service will work. Partnerships make the impact of your project so much stronger.

Lyft designed two solutions. One is a discount program that will offer 50% rides around the country to encourage people to show up at the polls. They are partnering with organizations like, Nonprofit Vote, and TurboVote to get the codes to those that really need them. These partners will help Lyft ensure that their discount code is reaching the right people. The second solution is free rides for underserved communities. Lyft is working with Voto Latino, Urban League affiliates and National Federation of the Blind to reach those in underserved communities around the country. These partners will encourage people to utilize Lyft to make it to the polls on election day.

Lyft is even designing an integration to help people find out where their polling stations are. Now, not only is Lyft committing to solve the problem, but they are actively engaging with other community organizations when it comes to how to solve it.

Don’t stop supporting when your campaign ends.

The worst thing a brand can do is support a cause short term, drop it, and move on. A lack of full commitment and buy in from your entire team, from entry level employees to C suite executives is critical to make the impact successful and authentic from the public perspective. You should be supporting this cause all year round, not just once in a blue moon.

Lyft isn’t just showing up on November 6th. The ride share company partnered with When We All Vote and National Voter Registration Day to help their drivers, passengers and the communities they live in be prepared for Election Day. Per their announcement, they’ll be doing the following:

  • “Remind Lyft passengers about voter registration deadlines using various social media and platform tools (e.g. push notifications)
  • Give drivers voter registration handouts and key voter information at Hub locations
  • Offer in-office voter registration for employees at our offices
  • Offer comprehensive, online voter information through our partner organizations
  • Encourage our community to make a plan in advance for Election Day, which has a proven impact on voter turnout rates”

Showing that you care about a cause more than just the benefit for your bottom line can make the impact all that more successful. Lyft didn’t do the bare minimum- they made this a part of their everyday to-do list. They have engaged with partners and worked hard to ensure that this campaign is an impactful one but also that the goals of that campaign are instilled in the Lyft mission going forward.

Your brand can make a great impact in the community too. Take a page out of Lyft’s playbook and figure out what problems you are uniquely qualified to solve- then make a commitment to solving them!

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