Why Your Cause Marketing Needs a ‘Millennial First’ Approach

Learn why, when it comes to the right audience to focus on for cause marketing, I only recommend one: Millennials - or men or women born between 1980 and 2000 - including three examples

When it comes to the right audience to focus on for cause marketing, I only recommend one: Millennials – or men or women born between 1980 and 2000.

For me it’s a no-brainer. The numbers and facts behind Millennials are just too powerful to justify wasting any time on Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and the newest demographic Gen Z (those born after 2000).

The Millennial generation is huge!

At approximately 95 million people, Millennials are the largest generation, and the largest percentage of the workforce at 34 percent. This will grow to 75% by 2025.

Millennials are natural do-gooders.

Fully 84% of millennials consider it their duty to make a positive difference through their lifestyle. 61% are concerned about the state of the world and feel personally responsible to improve it.

Millennials are the darling of businesses.

Businesses of all sizes and types are heavily targeting Millennials with their products and services – and are punished when they don’t. In 2014, analysts blamed Costco’s poor performance on Millennials who weren’t stocking up at the wholesaler.

Let’s review. Millennials are large and in charge. They love causes and giving back. And businesses – the flour that every cause marketing partnership needs to rise – are gaga over them.

Truly, why wouldn’t you just focus on Millennials? I know you agree! The more difficult question to answer is what does it mean to have a ‘Millennial First’ cause marketing strategy?

Three examples of cause marketing programs that prioritize Millennials

Hand of Friendship Soap


To help support refugees arriving in North America, cosmetic retailer LUSH is selling a Hand of Friendship soap with 100% of sales going to two nonprofit partners.

LUSH is prioritizing Millennials in two ways.

First, they’re tackling a cause that is currently topping the Millennial newsfeed, the refugee crisis in the Middle East. While their grandparents are focused on traditional charities, Millennials prefer causes that are topical and trending.

Second, LUSH is donating 100 percent of sales to help refugees. Millennials expect companies to give generously to causes and don’t approve of asterisks next to donation pledges.

Simple Take Away: Focus on breaking issues and “cool” causes that are magnets for Millennials. Create cause marketing programs that are generous and transparent.

Go Orange for No Kid Hungry


To reach its goal of raising $100,000 to fund one million meals for hungry kids, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt launched a three-pronged effort in its 300+ locations. The campaign included two in-store cause promotions and an online fundraiser with the t-shirt fundraising site, Booster.

The online fundraiser was created for web-savvy Millennials who preferred to give online. (84% of Millennials said they did or wanted to donate via a website during the year.) Working with Orange Leaf and No Kid Hungry, Booster designed a shirt that was promoted and sold online. For ten dollars, customers received a t-shirt and a coupon for free froyo.

No Kid Hungry and Orange Leaf promoted the orange tee on social media and through email marketing.

The t-shirt offer struck a chord with customers. They purchased 503 shirts, which funded 50,000 meals.

Another great example of a brand targeting digitally savvy Millennial men is the Movember Foundation. Last fall, Movember targeted Millennials with their Run Mo Run mobile game, which includes in-app game purchases to support the foundation.

Simple Take Away: The best cause marketing programs are integrated and multifaceted. Combining traditional fundraisers, like charity pinups, with digital fundraisers will maximize Millennial giving.

Race to Prestige


The goal of the Call of Duty Endowment, the charitable arm of one of the world’s most popular video games, Call of Duty (COD), is to raise funds to battle veteran unemployment.

In conjunction with the launch of the newest version of COD, the Endowment worked with a group of Millennial gamers to create an online gaming event that would raise money as it entertained and instructed.

During the Race to Prestige, gamers were encouraged and incentivized to donate as they watched five professional gamers play COD. The goal was to raise $25,000, which they achieved in just two hours. By the end of the fundraiser they had raised over $200,000 to help veterans.

Simple Take Away: Use crowdfunding, gaming and social fundraising to allow Millennials to engage their online communities in support of your cause.

Millennials aren’t just the future of giving. They are tomorrow’s social innovators and walking, talking and tweeting ambassadors for your cause and organization.

Millennials are quite simply the generation you can’t live without. That’s why you should put them first.


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