With issues such as sustainability & climate change continuing to be topics of concern & conversation, more consumers are supporting causes that work to make a difference in the environment.
Many of them deliberately seek out businesses that use environmentally friendly solutions, such as bulk shipping, recycling & using empty packaging materials for returns.
But in addition to taking steps on their own to be a part of the solution, consumers are also looking for ways to take responsibility for the environment by financially supporting the work of environmental organizations.
But how do these organizations mobilize environmental advocates to make donations & join their team? How do they create an army of supporters who will help spread their message for them?
The best way to do it is with a cause marketing strategy that uses the same elements of the Customer Value Journey that businesses use…& it starts with having a good website.
Using your website to engage people with your cause is a big part of marketing your organization & educating them, but it’s also about making sales.
Donations are good. But selling something to customers that will be enjoyable & useful will give them another avenue to support the cause along with you.
That’s what Matt Hill accomplished with his organization One Tree Planted.
One Tree Planted helps corporations develop more sustainable practices, while also educating the general public about reforestation & the value of trees.
Trees clean the air, filter water, help with soil erosion, reduce the carbon in the atmosphere & are home to 80% of the world’s biodiversity…
…& yet we lose 46-58,000 square miles of forests every year.
One Tree Planted gets its name from the mission of the organization: that for every $1 donated, they will plant 1 tree.
This mission allows people to take ownership of their donation. They can even choose where in the world they would like their tree to be planted.
Not only do they choose their location, but they’re kept updated on how their donation is being used. They receive a Tree Certificate to commemorate the planting of their tree & receive photos & videos of the trees being planted.
As a result, donors go from being unaware of the importance of reforestation to partners & promoters of the cause.
Getting The Word Out With A Website
Starting a nonprofit is not all that different from starting a business, & Hill had to strike a balance between keeping costs low while still spreading the word about his mission.
While Hill’s model for generating more donors was unique & proved successful early on, he chose to keep his operation small while maintaining an attractive professional appearance for his site.
This was why he chose to work with Shopify as his site platform. While it took a few years to work out the branding & “look” for the overall site, 2 gamechanging developments brought One Tree Planted to success.
The first was the use of the app Page Studio to create the site’s unique, aesthetic design. The layout of the site is unique in that the homepage contains dozens of pieces of content designed to educate & engage users.
The homepage immediately declares to visitors what the organization does: “We Plant Trees,” along with a clear call to action button entreating them to “Plant A Tree.”
Scroll down & the site takes you through sections related to different aspects of deforestation. Visitors can read positive stories of what the organization is doing, read about the regions of the world where trees are being planted, view a map of areas currently being impacted by deforestation & more.
There’s plenty of content to interact with & to effectively bring new visitors to the point of wanting to plant a tree of their own for $1. Visitors can choose from a drop down menu in the donation page whether they want to plant 1, 20 or 50 trees, or enter a number of their own.
Donations aren’t the only tool for raising money, though. One Tree Planted also sells other physical products, where 1 tree is planted for each item purchased. The store sells t-shirts, greeting cards & “Tree Planting Kits” that let kids grow trees of their own in a mini-greenhouse.
They’ve also made it possible to donate a tree in a friend’s name by “gifting” a tree.
The creative ways the charity uses Shopify’s ecommerce functions has given viewers more ways to contribute financially.
But there was another game changing action for their cause marketing strategy. One Tree Planted developed its own Shopify app called “Plant A Tree” to expand their reach & make it easier for similar charities to join their mission.
The app is easy to install and as Hill states, “millions of trees could be happening through the infrastructure of Shopify” as a result.
Growth, Results & What’s Next
In their first year, One Tree Planted made possible the planting of 20,000 trees. By the end of their third year, after creating their app & Shopify store, they planted 100,000.
As their impact grows, they expect that their website & cause marketing strategy will continue to work to create awareness, opportunities to engage & ultimately the chance for people to donate.
Maybe your business isn’t a nonprofit…but One Tree Planted’s success has a lesson in it for you: there’s no point in the Customer Value Journey where your website doesn’t play a role.
From educating visitors about what you do to giving them content to explore to having them make an actual purchase, your website is the place where it all happens & the place they’ll come back to as their experience with your brand continues.
As a Shopify partner agency, Cirius Marketing is dedicated to helping all types of businesses grow by using ecommerce to its fullest advantage. We want to help businesses discover how to build a smarter website that will help them experience more growth & better sales.
Want to discover our patented formula for building better websites & start learning how it could work for you? We made a workbook to help you get started.
The Customer Value Journey Workbook will walk you through it & help you start determining how our formula could fit into your customer’s experience.
Click here to download it!