Why Cause Marketing Really Works

Upcycled PendantPartnering with charities and social causes is a marketing technique used in many industries, and it can work especially well for artists.



Creatives can add value to their work through words, sharing their stories, smart presentation and packaging – and also through connecting themselves with causes that they care about, and that their prospective customers care about also. Whether you use recycled, upcycled, sustainable materials or methods,or contribute a portion of each sale to a worth charitable organization, you can reach prospective customers who share your values on an emotional level.

Since all sales are emotional, partnering with a cause adds benefit to each purchase of your work. Even if your connection to a cause doesn’t actually make the sale, the purchaser knows that they are contributing to a purpose they believe in. Artists can increase their involvement with their chosen charity by speaking in public about it, or incorporating information about the cause on their web page, blog, email newsletters and in brochures. Some artists use logos of charities or create limited edition work specifically in a cause-related theme.


Collage art woman's face

Upcycled Collage by Sandhi Schimmel Gold



It is especially effective to present your support of a cause when you have a personal experience which makes it “your own,” for example if you or a family member have struggled with an illness or disability, or you are supporting a local charity which is meaningful because it improves conditions in your hometown. This type of authentic involvement as part of your personal story can be a powerful way to share your art, as it will ring true to the audience.



To truly partner with a cause, the artist must be informed about it, and able to speak intelligently on the subject. Making a long-term commitment to one organization or cause helps you to become more involved and able to speak more effectively. Choose a cause which is meaningful to you, and that you plan to support over time.



How does your chosen cause or charity relate to your body of work? Does your work itself help in healing , public awareness or other benefits? Is the subject of your work also the subject of your cause? . As your work attracts an audience, your choice of the cause you wish to support will also speak to them. Artists tend to be very generous people, and are often approached to donate either works for auction to various organizations.


Boston Terrier portrait

Pet Portrait by Pam Utton, who supports pet rescue efforts


It is not always in the best interests of the artist to simply donate artworks.  This can effectively devalue artwork, the value of the art cannot be taken as a tax write-off (only the materials can), and quite often, the artist has no other connection with the charity.

You can choose to donate funds to a charity either as a major part of your business or as a one-time gift, but either way, it can be appealing to potential customers who share the vision that you have in using your art to create a better world.


Top: Environmentally neutral pendant from “low impact” materials courtesy McKenna Hallett. Other i mages courtesy of Sandhi Schimmel Gold and Art Expressions by Pam.

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