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October 26th, 2010

Building Giving into Business: 5 Trends for Companies to Consider

5 reasons

Doing well by doing good: it’s not just a corporate catch phrase or nice-to-do anymore, it’s a must do for a growing number of businesses.

With Pepsi cancelling its 23 year stint of Super Bowl commercials to instead invest $20 million in a philanthropic social media project, it is safe to say that social responsibility has gone mainstream.

A growing number of consumers expect businesses to not only “do good” but to provide opportunities for them to give back to causes that resonate with them.  And to be more open, innovative and collaborative about how they do it.  Employees also want to work for companies that care.
Following are 5 key trends (and underlying support) for companies to consider around the need to build giving into their businesses and to offer their customers and employees a convenient way to support causes they care about as part of existing customer and employee experiences:

1.    Building Corporate Giving into Business is Becoming More Prevalent

  • “Embedded Generosity” identified as one of the top ten crucial consumer marketing trends for 2010 (Source:
  • “Show Them You Care” identified as one of the top ten marketing trends for 2009 (Source:
  • The 100 Best Corporate Citizens list has become regarded as the third most influential corporate ranking list, behind Fortune magazine’s ‘Most Admired Companies’, and ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’. (PRWeek CEO Survey, 2008)

2.    Consumers Are More Likely to Support Companies that Give Back

  • 79% of consumers would be likely to switch from one brand to another brand…if the other brand were associated with a good cause (Source: 2008 Cone Cause Evolution Study)
  • 88% of millennial consumers (aged 18-24 years) would switch from one brand to another (all else being more or less equal) if the other brand was associated with a good cause. (Source: 2008 Cone Cause Evolution Study)
  • 85% of people have a more positive image of a company when it supports a cause they care about (Source: 2008 Cone Cause Evolution Study)
  • A 2008 behavioral study showed cause affiliation leads to high brand recall, helps break through the ‘marketing clutter’ and drives  significant (up to 74%!) sales lift. (Source: 2008 Cone/Duke University Behavioral Cause Study)
  • 64% of consumers globally say they would recommend a brand that supports a good cause (up from 52% in 2008, and in the U.S., up 16 points from 47% in 2008 to 63% this year). (Source: 2009 Global Edelman Good Purpose Study)
  • 59% of consumers would help a brand promote its products if there was a good cause behind it – up from 53% last year (Source: 2009 Global Edelman Good Purpose Study)
  • 61% of consumers have bought a brand that supports a good cause even if it wasn’t the cheapest brand. (Source: 2009 Global Edelman Good Purpose Study)
  • 73% of women said they would pay more for a “good” product. (Source: GOOD 1.5 a study conducted by Self magazine, 2009).

3.    Employees Want to Work for Companies that Care and Help Them Support Causes

  • 79% of people would also prefer to work for a socially responsible company (Source: Cone Millennial Cause Study 2006)
  • 79% of employees think it’s important that their companies match their giving. (Source: 2008 Cone Cause Evolution Study)
  • 56% of respondents desire a job that allows them to give back to society (vs. 44% who value personal achievement success more). (Source: 2009 Global Edelman Good Purpose Study)
  • 86% of employees at organizations with high employee engagement agreed that they worked for an employer that was socially and environmentally responsible (Source: 2010 Best Employers in Canada Study by Hewitt)

4.    How Companies do Corporate Giving Matters: Consumers Care about Choice, Relevancy and Transparency

  • 83% of consumers state that to influence their support of a company, the cause should be personally relevant to them. (Source: 2008 Cone Cause Evolution Study)
  • 84% of consumers state that selecting their own cause is an important factor in supporting a company’s cause marketing efforts. (Source: 2008 Cone Cause Evolution Study)
  • 91% of consumers believe companies should tell them how they’re supporting causes…but only 58% of consumers think companies are providing enough details. (Source: 2008 Cone Cause Evolution Study)

5.    Companies Need to Do More…And Consumers Expect them to Do It

  • Nearly nine in 10 (89%) of consumers said that it is important that business, government and nonprofits collaborate to solve pressing social and environmental issues. (Source: 2008 Cone Cause Evolution Study)
  • 66 percent of people believe that it’s no longer enough for corporations to merely give money away, but that they must integrate good causes into their day-to-day business. (Source: 2009 Global Edelman Good Purpose Study)
  • 64% of global consumers expect brands today to support a good cause (Source: 2009 Global Edelman Good Purpose Study)

In terms of what consumers think companies should be doing to solve social/environmental issues, the Cone 2010 Shared Responsibility Study reported that: 83% expect companies to make charitable donations; 86% expect companies to use company resources to go beyond donations; 89% expect new products or services  (Source: Cone 2010 Shared Responsibility Study)

About the Author

Jana Taylor

Jana Taylor is the VP Marketing for Benevity Social Ventures, Inc., a software company that embeds empowered giving into business transactions, to help companies create choice-driven cause marketing, workplace giving and other charitable programs.      Jana is an experienced strategist and marketer with 15+ years experience in progressively senior roles in the software, telecommunications and energy industries, the common element being a focus on technology.  Jana has worked in senior strategy and marketing roles with a diverse group of companies in both the online and bricks and mortar worlds, including stints at iStockphoto (the first micropayment stock imagery site that consistently ranked as one of the top 300 websites in the world), Autonomy/Verity (a leading search software company), Telus, Enmax, AxiaNetMedia, and Nortel, to name a few.  Although not a programmer, Jana is a self-professed online geek who has been using the web since the days of Gopher and is happy that one of the only traces of her MBA education is a proclivity for matrices.    In addition to her focus on online business and marketing, Jana has a passion for social change and a belief that businesses can engage their customers and employees to give back and deliver both concrete business benefits as well as ignite grassroots giving to make a positive change in the world.  Jana is proud to be part of the Board of Directors of the YWCA of Calgary and is the Chair of the Board Effectiveness Committee.     About Benevity Benevity has developed North America's first embeddable microdonation platform, enabling socially responsible businesses to engage their customers, employees and corporate partners in optional charitable giving on their terms. Benevity lets companies integrate user-directed, tax receiptable donations and corporate matching programs into their existing transaction environments, using their own brands and systems. The Benevity platform helps companies build authentic and impactful cause marketing, workplace giving and other social responsibility initiatives that increase engagement, brand differentiation and return on social and community investment. To find out more or to request a demo, visit us at or view our short video at



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