As you team up with a worthwhile charity, you offer the cause an opportunity to reach new audiences and spread its word while you get additional marketing and publicity for your business. And it’s what your customers want: The 2013 Cone Communications/Echo Global CSR Study found that, when price and quality are similar, 91 percent of consumers are likely to switch brands to one associated with a good cause.

How do you find a good charity with which to work? Here are four things you should look for:

1. Common interests. Cause-related marketing relationships work best when you have a strong tie to the charity, such as a personal connection, or when it relates to your business. For example, a grocery store might choose a food bank with which to partner, while a law firm may work with literacy causes or assist people who can’t afford legal assistance. This both relates to the business’ core mission and also allows it to integrate giving back into daily operations.

2. Reputation. Before you strike up a partnership with the organization, you should do some homework. Ask around about the organization and see if it has a good reputation. Do a search engine search to see if there is negative information that should be investigated. The last thing you want to do is align your business with an unscrupulous nonprofit.

3. IRS Filings. Request the organization’s Form 990, which is the annual IRS filing. Look for administrative and overhead costs to be less than 25 percent of its overall costs. Most money should be spent on programs and activities related to its cause.

4. Ability to partner. Not all organizations are open to partnerships with businesses or have the ability to manage such a program. While this won’t always be a deal-breaker, it’s something to think about if you have goals for your cause-related marketing campaign. In some cases, you may choose to give money or time to support the cause personally, while finding another partner for your cause-related marketing plans.
ing another partner for your cause-related marketing plans.