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Corporations Still Care: Does Your Brand Support Causes, Too?

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The Giving USA Foundation and its research partner, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, report that although total philanthropic giving decreased by an estimated -3.6% in 2009, corporate giving grew an estimated 5.5%. In fact, some of the largest companies increased their contributions, both in-kind and cash, enough to counteract the declines.

According to Giving USA Foundation chair Edith H. Falk, "In addition to support from individuals and foundations, some nonprofits received exceptional support from the corporate sector, which included billions of dollars’ worth of in-kind donations, particularly from information technology firms and pharmaceutical manufacturers."

This is great news, of course. But, do you have to be a big corporation to do good? From cause marketing, to grants, to buying tables at fund-raising events, businesses of all types are flying their corporate social responsibility flags by investing in their communities. And why?

According to the 2009 Global Edelman goodpurpose™ Study, "Despite the downturn, across the globe people's sense of commitment to helping others—and to brands and companies that share that commitment—remains strong."

And get this:

"Around the world, consumers voice a strong desire for marketers to connect their brands to social action. Forty-two percent say that if two products are of the same quality and price, commitment to a social purpose trumps factors like design, innovation and brand loyalty when choosing one brand over the other. Half (52%) of consumers globally are more likely to recommend a brand that supports a good cause over one that does not, and 54% would help a brand promote a product if there was a good cause behind it."

Your company doesn't have to be big to create this win-win situation.

So, what is YOUR brand doing? What's working and what's not?

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A Canadian who relocated to the U.S., Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of SOLUTIONS Marketing & Consulting LLC, a boutique marketing and communications agency located in Scottsdale, Arizona. During her career, Elaine has worked for, and with, many organizations, associations, and businesses, across North America, on marketing strategy and communications tactics.

From her earlier agency career assignments freelance copywriting Procter & Gamble, Nestlé Carnation, and Kraft materials, to “inside” senior-level marketing positions, Elaine’s passion for marketing has evolved to helping clients reach new heights through strategic brand-building, integrated marketing communications, and customer orientation.

She has been a contributing writer for The Business Journal and her articles have appeared in many publications, including the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Marketing News, The Arizona Republic, Advancing Philanthropy, and several association publications. She has been interviewed by CNN, Connect Magazine, and The Capitol Times, and her content was included in Guerrilla Marketing for Nonprofits by Jay Conrad Levinson, Frank Adkins, and Chris Forbes. Nonprofit Consulting Essentials by Penelope Cagney. and Share of Mind, Share of Heart by Sybil F. Stershic.

Elaine is a Faculty Associate at the Arizona State University Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation and a professional member of the National Speakers Association – she does keynotes and presentations on business and nonprofit marketing, branding, customer orientation, and cause marketing at conferences and meetings.

Elaine’s career has also included stints as a cookbook author, teacher, singer, and television show host. A golf and tennis enthusiast, Elaine is enjoying life in the sunny Sonoran Desert while serving clients across North America.

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  • by C.B. Whittemore Tue Jun 22, 2010 via blog

    Elaine, wonderful question to be asking! Doing good on a corporate level can be such a marvelous opportunity to forge stronger ties with concerned customers and engage with them about issues they care about. Talk about social goodness!


  • by Paul Barsch Tue Jun 22, 2010 via blog

    Elaine, Maybe it's because I'm paying attention, but I see P&G giving back quite a bit. They do a great job of getting visibility for their efforts without making it seem too gratuitous.

  • by Elaine Fogel Tue Jun 22, 2010 via blog

    Thanks, Christine! The positive effect on the bottom line can't hurt either! :)

  • by Elaine Fogel Tue Jun 22, 2010 via blog

    Hi, Paul. P & G has certainly been involved in cause marketing, especially in the past 3-4 years. And there are countless others, including many small and mid-sized businesses whose support doesn't get major exposure.

    Thanks for mentioning P & G, Paul!

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