In today’s marketplace, consumers want to reward the “good guys” more than ever. And that’s why, more and more, you see huge companies engaging in cause marketing on a massive scale and promoting them heavily through social media. So consider taking on the right cause yourself – and make it an integral part of your StorySelling™.

The StorySelling™ Difference

In today’s crowded marketplace, the last thing any cause marketer should assume is that, just because they’re talking about a worthy subject, everyone’s going to automatically pay attention to them.

The fact is, great StorySelling™ is required to sell a cause. Would anyone have cared about horrible conditions in Uganda – if the Invisible Children organization hadn’t worked so hard to create a story that would grab people’s attention? There are other human tragedies just as devastating happening around the globe. That’s why we’ve produced documentaries such as Jacob’s Turn, Mi Casa Hogar, Esperanza, Armonia, and Return To Esperanza and are continuing to work on other similar projects through our Entrepreneurs International Foundation.

If you’re wondering how to make StorySelling™ work for your cause, here are a few of the most effective ways:

  • Show Those Who Need Help

Causes try to raise money in many instances by simply showing the faces of the needy. You can take this method one step further by actually telling the story of one person (or animal) who’s in a life and-death situation where assistance is desperately needed. Obviously, this is a very effective approach and one that has really paid off in the past.

You can also take more of a focused approach by telling the narrative of one needy person through that individual’s point of view. This can actually be more powerful in creating that all-important empathy that sparks action. This method was used repeatedly by Jerry Lewis and the Muscular Dystrophy Association during their yearly Labor Day telethons, when they would show various vignettes of children and how the disease affected their individual lives (and

continue to raise record-breaking donation amounts on an annual basis). 

  • Show Those You’ve Helped

Organizations such as March of Dimes and Big Brothers Big Sisters have launched social media StorySelling™ efforts that spotlight those whose lives they’ve helped change for the better. Similarly, the Make-A-Wish foundation shares its video wishes on YouTube.

By showing how your cause initiative actually made a difference, you demonstrate the actual good that donations can do for potential donors. When the public can see their dollars actually impacting lives in dramatically positive ways, they feel much more confident about giving to your cause.\

  • Use Some Star Power

When Hollywood makes a movie about an actual event or living notable they hire star actors

and actresses. Why? Because people want to see celebrities. That’s why so many causes try to obtain the services of a celebrity spokesperson to tell their. The public is predisposed to pay more attention when a public personality is delivering the message. This, of course, doesn’t have to be a TV or movie celebrity – it could be a sports star, a well-liked political figure or other public personality.

Of course, you should choose wisely when using this StorySelling™ method. Bicycling champion Lance Armstrong had to publicly resign from Livestrong, the charity he himself had founded fifteen years ago, to stop the damage caused by accusations that he doped his way to victory to achieve his record-setting race wins.\

  • What’s the Worst that Could Happen?

Think of telling a story where the viewer has to imagine what it would be like if your cause initiative wasn’t there to do whatever it does. For example, there have been scores of PSAs that dramatized the stories of those who abuse alcohol and drugs and end up in tragic situations, because no one ever intervened and stopped them.

  • Leave Them Laughing

Humor is definitely not always the best way to motivate action, but it can still be very effective.

Of course, funny online videos always get a lot of attention, but, again, results from those

funny videos can be mixed (which is a reason why a lot of companies actually shy away from humorous advertising).

These are just a few of the most prominent cause marketing StorySelling™ approaches – there are literally millions of them out there, and available to look at on the internet. It’s simply a matter of choosing which StorySelling™ narrative will work best for your particular cause and your specific fundraising needs.

Social Media: Your Most Powerful StorySelling™ Venue

Once you’ve figured out what message is right for you and your cause you need to be able to share it with as many people as possible. The truth is that, even though cause marketing has been around for a long time, social media has caused it to grow immensely. Here are a few eye-opening statistics gathered from MDG Advertising from various sources1:

  • 98{cd266c1509fca34f59dc93da7daf12a6ee52c6401aabb2126e757d9de7c223fc} of nonprofits use Facebook and 74{cd266c1509fca34f59dc93da7daf12a6ee52c6401aabb2126e757d9de7c223fc} are on Twitter.
  • 68{cd266c1509fca34f59dc93da7daf12a6ee52c6401aabb2126e757d9de7c223fc} of social media users will want to find out more about a cause if a friend posts about it.
  • The average value of a “Like” on Facebook, in terms of donations, is an average $161 per. When combined with marketing over other social media sites, that increases to $214.


Why are cause marketing and social media such an amazing match? Because people like to feel part of something positive and life-affirming – and, if they “share” they feel like they’re doing something to combat the problem and they feel good about themselves.

Social media is where people like to hear about – and have the opportunity to participate in – doing good in the world. That’s why it’s the perfect place to tell everyone about your cause.

And actually, it’s a pretty good place to do your own Celebrity Brand StorySelling™ as well.