It isn't just pink ribbon packaging showing up on shelves during Breast Cancer Awareness Month anymore. Now the ribbons are apparent year-round. Moreover, it isn't just pink! There are seemingly endless opportunities to purchase products and services that claim to benefit charity.
Why are so many companies jumping on this bandwagon? Because, as a tool for motivating purchases and improving the public's perception of a brand, it works. Here are some findings from a 2013 Cone Study on cause-related marketing:
So, how do you evaluate which cause-related marketing efforts are worth purchasing? Start by asking these questions:
You can find information on all of these items on the Charity Navigator website. You can also look at the charity’s website or call them directly for further details.
Whether you buy the product or not, remember that this type of philanthropy should be seen as a bonus and never a substitute for making a contribution directly to a well-vetted charity. Unfortunately for the charities involved, this is a message that most customers have yet to take to heart since Cone's research indicates that only 36% of those exposed to a cause-related product were more likely to donate money directly to the charity (again, this figure was higher for Millennials at 45%,).