If you work for a cause - or are a cause marketer - you have two basic jobs to do with consumers. The first is to connect them to your cause on an emotional level. Then, once you have their attention, your second job is to assure them their support will make a difference.
In other words, it's not enough to say you do good. You have to show it. And people have to feel it.
That doesn't mean consumers want a slew of detailed information about your theory of change or the minutia of your programs. Very few do research on the causes they support. They don't want facts and figures as much as some simple, clear proof that you will do what you say - and that someone's life will be better for those efforts.
So how do you show impact without overwhelming people with data?
Some new research holds some interesting insights into how to do just that. More Money for More Good, a report by Hope Consulting and GuideStar, focuses on what makes a cause's claims of social change credible. Here are my three recommendations based on the study.
1. Provide clear and simple information on how money will be used. The more tangible, the better. For example: "Buy this backpack and our company donates $1 for school supplies for kids who can't afford them." There is a lot of research showing that specificity boosts giving and purchasing. Vague statements don't work as well - and they fuel skepticism among consumers.
2. Show, don't just tell. It's not enough to talk about the problem you're addressing - you need to make clear you have a compelling solution that is making positive change. That means you need to show your impact vividly. Tell stories, use images and draw on the power of video to bring to life the difference being made every day.
3. Choose your messengers wisely. The best way to prove you have a positive impact is to get someone else to say it. Endorsements, ratings, seals of approval and testimonials are great ways to build trust with consumers.
If you are trying to make the world a better place as a nonprofit - or as a company supporting good causes - keep these tips in mind. Clear communication about your impact delights the people supporting you and inspires them to keep on giving in the future.