Cause-related marketing has become big business for nonprofits and their business partners.

Although certainly not new, Cause Marketing became well known during the 1980s with the highly visible and fruitful partnership between American Express and the Statue of Liberty restoration project.

Cause marketing and corporate sponsorship has been growing ever since, becoming one of the most popular ways to raise funds for charities, and a direct route to social responsibility for many businesses.

So what does the future hold for cause marketing? Three trends may predict where cause marketers go next.

Trend #1: More Growth

The trend for cause marketing is definitely up and rosy. Holding business accountable for how they treat the planet, their people, and consumers has reached beyond just a niche audience to a worldwide movement.

Businesses need consumers and consumers want to support good causes through their purchases. They also expect companies to be responsible throughout their business operations.

For nonprofits, the trends are also upward. Cause marketing arrangements made with businesses have exploded.

Trend #2: Companies Are Asking Consumers to Make Changes

Companies have sometimes turned the tables on consumers. They ask for behavior changes, not just the purchase of products.  The focus is on leading healthier lives and staying safe.

Along with that trend is the related interest in reaching Generation Z. They promise to be even more socially engaged than Millennials, plus they are “digital natives,” requiring companies to conquer new ways of communicating.

The generational challenge has also forced cause marketing campaigns to become even more multichannel. Conversations and campaigns now include offline advertising, TV advertising, hashtag social media channels, streaming video, and more.

Trend #3: Developing Best Practices

As cause marketing grows more prominent, bad cause marketing has been called to account. The media and the public have voiced disapproval when cause marketing runs off the rails.

We’re all demanding good practices in cause marketing. And they are developing.  Best practices of these programs include two standards for transparency:

  • giving enough information about the charity being helped so that consumers can research it;
  • and saying exactly how much money the charity will receive, both in total and/or from each purchase.



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