#2 Corporate Citizenship: Cause Marketing is a Shame

29 Nov

Pro Cause Marketing:

Many charities depend on corporate donations to survive. If it was not for major corporations taking charge and raising awareness and donations for notable charities, many charities would struggle to reach their goals. Yes, many corporations gain goodwill, and in some cases increased sales from aligning with charities (such as the NFL and their “pink” campaign). However, it is a win-win for both parties involved. It is better if a corporation’s true intent is to help instead of profit, but even if the motivation is profit, it still helps the charitable organizations in the end. In business we are always searching for win-win situations where both parties come up profitable in the end. Governments also encourage this situation by putting in place tax incentives for charitable donations by organizations. Corporations use these exemptions to maximize profits, and charities receive much needed cash flow.

Against Cause Marketing:

Cause marketing by major corporations results in many side effects which hurt the charities they are trying to help. First, organizations align themselves with “popular” causes (NFL with the pink campaign), which they will gain the most publicity by helping. By align with the most “popular” causes, a monopoly of charities essentially forms. Causes which already have awareness (who hasn’t heard of breast cancer?), gain even more awareness, while other causes are left in the dark. The small charities are forces to compete with gigantic organizations, and there is no way they can win. Second, organizations detract away from the true cause if they are only concerned with profits, and can in turn hurt the organization they are aligned with. As we have seen with several notable athletes who have causes (Lance Armstrong), if they is negative publicity associated with the cause, the major corporations (Nike) are quick to cut ties and funding to the organization.

My stance:

Cause marketing is necessary, and in some cases a necessary evil. It is better if the corporation is truly concerned with the charitable organization they are helping, such as providing volunteers for events. However, this is not always the case. Some corporations are just looking for tax exemptions, or a way to draw more customers to their business. Some corporation also only align themselves with the most popular causes possible to try and maximize publicity and profits. Charitable organizations still reap the benefits of even these misguided attempts at cause marketing, which is a win-win for situation for both organizations involved. Corporations should align themselves with charitable organizations they truly care about it; however, even if it the intent is not true, the result is still positive for both parties involved.

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