How Brands Can Grow Their Affluent Customer Base By Partnering With Innovative Non-Profits

Affluent consumers are typically highly educated, involved in their community, and are avid shoppers. But, increasingly, they are also motivated to shop responsibly. We call these individuals Charitable Commerce Consumers.

In surveying this demographic, we found that this cohort has a median household income of $125,000 a year and a median net worth of $375,000. But what’s interesting is that 80% of them believe it is important for companies to give back and a staggering 90% say they are likely or very likely to shop with a company that supports charitable causes.

Clearly, it is worthwhile for brands to find ways to connect with these affluent, cause-minded people. The question is how. It’s not at cocktail parties, charity events, or the ballet. Technology is now enabling retailers to connect with such consumers via smartphone as opposed to over hors d’oeuvres. Here’s how:



Choosing the right partner is a first critical step. Fundraisers and marketers in the non-profit space understand that they need to be constantly communicating with their current donor base and using those donors’ connections to try to open up to new audiences. Savvy non-profit communicators know a more efficient and targeted way to engage is through digital interactions instead of the traditional forms of communication.

A new survey found that 77% of non-profits plan on emailing their donors at least once a month in 2012. That is up 75% form last year; 51% of non-profits plan to send mail to their supporters at least 4 times a year, a decrease of 55% from last year. This is a clear sign that marketing efforts are shifting and taking an increasingly digital approach. We think this is a smart and cost effective move for brands looking to partner with non-profits to pick an organization that is already making a commitment in the digital communication space.

Make sure they have a social media presence. The most successful non-profit communicators are those who understand that new donors are just a click away. By making a commitment to social media, non-profits are tapping into their networks of supporters in order to expand their reach. They are sharing their stories, promoting their fundraising efforts and looking for their supporters to engage with them.

New data show that 80% of non-profits think Facebook is either very or somewhat important to their causes. Certainly if this overwhelming majority sees this as a benefit, picking a non-profit that has a lack of involvement indicates that your brand isn’t getting the most out of this relationship. 

Consider partnering with a non-profit that runs its auctions online. Fundraisers who put their charity auctions online achieve a 25% increase in their results. The brands that partner with these non-profits will attract increased visibility because their auction items are open up for bids from a wider audience, not just people confined to one room at a gala or live event.

In partnering with a digitally smart non-profit, your brand will be doing well by doing good. This will not only help build moral among your employees and your current customers, but it will also help forge relationships with new brand advocates. Eighty-five percent of Charitable Commerce Consumers have a more positive image of a product or company when it contributes to a cause they care about. By taking this first step you will get sponsorship attribution, media exposure for your impact, stories to share, and goodness you can own.

3 comments about "How Brands Can Grow Their Affluent Customer Base By Partnering With Innovative Non-Profits".
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  1. Kevin Lee from Didit / eMarketing Association / Giving Forward, January 11, 2012 at 10:22 a.m.

    And if your company has an affiliate program or is willing to implement one even a custom one, consider partnering with (or a smaller competitor) as a "merchant" and millions of online shoppers will prefer you to your competition.

  2. Paul Friedman from Chicago Public Media, January 11, 2012 at 11:13 a.m.

    Great post, Perry! Another option is promoting your brand through a not-for-profit media platform, like a local public radio station. This enables you to - first and foremost - build and enhance YOUR brand, while receiving the associated benefits of supporting a not-for-profit that directly reaches that affluent, educated, engaged target customer.

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, January 11, 2012 at 1:13 p.m.

    And who gets the tax write off ? The person who adds an extra dollar to their purchase or the company who collects it ? Or neither which definitely be more enticing ?

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