Just Imagine….Freemium_Tombstone.jpg

What if every time a consumer downloaded a free online application they made a micro donation to charity. Consider the impact a company can have to help causes like micro-finance, cancer research or global literacy. Naysayers will shout that consumers would never pay and that companies wouldn’t profit… We disagree.


Over the past year, we pioneered a new customer acquisition strategy called Causium that merges Cause Marketing with the popular Freemium business model.  Instead of simply giving away a teaser product, we charge a micro-payment of $10 for its 10 user Starter licenses and then donate all proceeds to charity.  The results have been an astounding win-win-win for all parties.  Over 16,000 customers now have software that they couldn’t previously afford, Atlassian has earned over $2.5M in upsell revenue and our selected charity, Room to Read, has received over $500,000 for literacy programs in developing nations.

Freemium on Steroids

Causium thrives by creating psychological incentives and psychic needs of all parties. Customers love getting a deal and equate more value to goods they pay for than for something that is free. They are proud of their contribution to making the world a better place and have tweeted by the hundreds to let their friends know. From the start, the approach maximizes what Robert Cialdini calls likability. The whole donation experience creates a mental note: “Let’s buy software from Atlassian when the need arises.”
For Atlassian, the ability to do something generous while on the clock has invigorated employees and inspired substantial innovation. We were thrilled to work towards our initial goal of donating $25,000 to Room to Read and are ecstatic that the stakes are so much higher. For Atlassian, the results of the Causium model have been a strong employee loyalty tool and helped the company attract over 50 new employees in the past year.

Cause Marketing Counts Most

For continued skeptics of the value of Causium, just listen to our friend John Wood, the founder of Room to Read. John gave up his promising career at Microsoft to follow his belief that world change starts through education. With a tiny overhead ratio, Room to Read funnels contributions straight into literacy programs in places like Cambodia. Watch John talk about the impact that Causium has imparted on Room to Read:

Hopefully hearing about these results will inspire others to adopt Causium too. Let us know your scenarios and how to dial in the model for your needs.

Freemium is Dead…. Long Live Causium...