The holidays are all about giving. Loved ones exchanging gifts. Good samaritans spreading Christmas joy to children and families who may not experience it otherwise. Individuals donating time, money and more to support charitable organizations. And countless brands supporting worthy causes through cause marketing.

Cause marketing or cause-related marketing is an approach that involves a for-profit business and a non-profit organization working together for mutual benefit. As this tactic continues to grow in popularity, more and more brands are opting to incorporate cause marketing into their overall strategy – particularly at the holidays.

Many businesses have begun to recognize that modern consumers want a more meaningful brand experience. Approximately 71% of Americans expect businesses to support causes during the holiday season and just as many would purchase a product from a brand that supports a cause over one that does not, according to the 2012 Cone Communications Holiday Trend Tracker.

If you’re not yet ready to jump on the bandwagon, here are just a few examples that demonstrate cause marketing can be a winning strategy for all involved:

  • Macy’s has partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation for seven years for its annual Macy’s Believe Campaign. For every letter to Santa received, the retailer donates $1 to Make-A-Wish (up to $1 million). And new this year, Macy’s has introduced an online letter collection component to encourage even more correspondence.
  • PPG Place in Pittsburgh hosts an annual Gingerbread House Display/Competition and Train Display in the PPG Place Wintergarden. Though there is no charge for admission, donations are collected to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Free Care Fund.
  • UPS is making dreams come true through its Wishes Delivered campaign. The shipping company is encouraging customers to share their wishes using the hashtag #WishesDelivered. UPS will donate $1 to one of three charity partners for every wish (and might even fulfill the wish).

Some deem cause marketing somewhat self-serving, but let’s be honest, all forms of promotion are done in self-interest. What sets this strategy apart is its impact; it really is a win-win for everyone. Businesses spread goodwill among consumers by sharing their good deeds, while the charitable organizations receive donations to support their causes.

Looking good while doing good is an approach that everyone can and should get behind. Whether you incorporate cause marketing into your brand’s strategy or choose to give back as an individual this holiday season, you made it a priority to make a difference. And that’s really what matters.