Marketing the Joy: Does Cause Marketing Right

Most causes exist in effort to end some sort of suffering – whether it be human suffering from poverty, disease, mistreatment, or injustice… animal suffering on account of endangerment, mistreatment, or poaching… ecological suffering due to pollution, climate change, or resource scarcity… you name it. Whatever the cause may be, a wish to end suffering is a common thread.

And all too often we see marketing campaigns for do-goodery missions that are completely centered around that pain we feel as humans to see something, anything, suffer.


Pain pushes the buy now button. Consumers act because they have a need, they have a pain point, they need relief. It makes sense. But what doesn’t make sense is when a good-for-something cause campaign starts CREATING pain points for a consumer… just to relieve them by offering an opportunity to donate, volunteer, sign a petition, whatever.

It’s all so “Just one dollar a day…“. You know the type.

“Just one dollar a day”… in a somber voice with a picture of an abused, malnourished pet.

“Just one dollar a day”… in a spiritless voice with a video of a starving child covered in flies, with no shoes.

“Just one dollar a day”… in a tone of voice that screams guilt and shame.

“Just one dollar a day”… overlaying a photo montage of the horrific suffering in this world.

My guts hurt just thinking about them.


They’re doing it ALL wrong. One of my pet peeves as a cause messenger is seeing great organizations doing a whole lot of good go and base their messaging on negative emotions: helplessness, disparity, suffering, and heart wrench.

While anger and outrage and sorrow and misery all, most certainly, love their company, they also lead to apathy just as often as they lead to action. And apathy is not something us do-gooders have the time or money to be catalyzing.

Causes need people who get up and cheer behind them. Causes need people who will not stop talking about how incredible it is to be a part of something bigger, something great. Causes need people parading in the streets singing and dancing with the joy of knowing they’re supporting progress and change and positive impact.

Those people attract other people.

Those people incite action.

Those people make causes contagious.

Those people embody the pure, unbridled joy that one can achieve by giving back. And other people will want a piece of that joy for themselves.

nectarofthecauseThe organizations marketing joy are the organizations that gain support in much more organic, viral, and sustainable way. Marketing the joy wins.

Today I want to highlight just one of the many great organizations I follow who are knocking joy marketing out of the park:



Sevenly is an online store that sells apparel and accessories. $7 from each item purchased goes toward the cause of the week. At the end of each week, they cut a big fat check to that charity and promote the next week’s mission of do-goodery. Curious as to why “only” $7? Check out their FAQs.  You’ll find that $7/item is a pretty hefty chunk of do-goodery.

Their website says: “In January of 2011, two Entrepreneurs got together with the mission of leading a generation toward generosity. With a belief that people mattered, we began a journey to change the world. Our driving theory was, “If we could help people give, we could get them to care.” June 13th 2011, Sevenly was born. By creating weekly cause campaigns where people could purchase lifestyle products that benefited a partner charity, Sevenly successfully unlocked a way to not only raise major funding but huge awareness too.

It’s a simple model, really. Social entrepreneurship at its finest. But what’s even cooler is their video marketing.

Each week there is a new video that provides a very intimate, heartfelt story demonstrating just how incredible the week’s charity or mission is. Sevenly’s videos are incredible. They are uplifting. They OOZE positive impact. They don’t focus on the hurt that they’re healing. They don’t hone in on the suffering they’re relieving. Sevenly focuses on the joy.


Check out this week’s campaign for Reece’s Rainbow – an organization that helps orphans with Down Syndrome become adopted by their forever family.

Sevenly purchases made this week will help provided financial resources to qualified adoptive families and bring a whole lot of joy to the kids and the families working with Reece’s Rainbow. This video gives me chills. This cause gives me chills. Sevenly gives me chills.


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