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Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Cause Marketing market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?


For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

Cause marketing is when a company joins forces with a charity/ nonprofit organization for a mutually beneficial outcome. Namely, the company benefits from being viewed as philanthropic and the charity benefits from increased attention to the cause it supports and often donations from the company and its customers.

Readers of this Report may also be interested in Attitudes toward Corporate Social Responsibility – US, July 2018 and Charities and Non-profits – US, October 2016

What you need to know

Charitable giving across all sources hit an all-time high in 2017, continuing a trend of rising philanthropy. Along with rising donations come rising expectations of companies to give back to society through, among other things, charitable support. Fortunately for corporations, consumers are supportive of a wide swath of causes, and are not as resistant to companies supporting controversial causes as conventional wisdom may suggest. Consumers are more likely to reward companies that take stances they agree with than they are to boycott ones they disagree with. The emerging iGeneration is particularly sensitive to social awareness and will be a key demographic to consider in future cause marketing efforts.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Mike Gallinari , a leading analyst in the Travel & Leisure sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

As Americans express frustration in government institutions’ ability to take action quickly, citizens are increasingly turning to charitable organizations to facilitate aid for those in need. This creates an environment in which corporations can use their cause marketing initiatives to build affinity with a consumer base that has a predilection for charitable support. However, companies need to be smart about what causes they support and how they execute their charitable initiatives. Cause marketing should be treated like any other kind of marketing – different demographic and consumer segments have different opinions and priorities, and concerns about controversy can be managed with intelligent cause marketing strategy. Mike Gallinari
Travel & Leisure Analyst


What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

          • The issues
            • Consumers have high expectations of companies
              • Figure 1: Consumer expectations of companies, April 2018
            • Three quarters of Americans donate to charitable causes
              • Figure 2: Consumer charitable giving, net any support, April 2018
            • Americans vary in their preferred cause
              • Figure 3: Consumer donation and support of causes, net donation and support, April 2018
            • The opportunities
              • Consumers don’t shun controversy
                • Figure 4: Sentiment around controversial causes, any agree, April 2018
              • Younger consumers gravitate toward compatible beliefs
                • Figure 5: Support for companies with compatible causes, by generation, April 2018
              • Social media outreach most popular among iGens
                • Figure 6: Sources of information about corporate charitable efforts, by generation, April 2018
              • What it means
              • Cause Marketing Landscape – What You Need to Know

                • Charitable donations continue to rise, though corps lag
                  • Corporate donations will increase if individual donations rise
                    • Corporations are the fastest-growing donor segment
                      • Most companies are giving more
                        • Higher DPI underscores need for cause marketing
                        • Market Size

                          • Total charitable giving hit $410 billion in 2017
                            • Figure 7: Total 2017 charitable contributions by source, 2017
                          • Corporate donations follow individual donations
                            • Figure 8: Change in annual charitable giving over the previous year, 2001-17
                        • Market Breakdown

                          • Charitable giving is on the rise
                            • Figure 9: Increases in YOY charitable giving, by source, 2017
                          • Charitable foundations see a huge increase
                            • Figure 10: Change in YOY charitable giving in inflation-adjusted dollars, by sector, 2016-17
                          • Corporate giving increasing
                            • Figure 11: Distribution of companies increasing/decreasing charitable giving, 2015-17
                        • Market Factors

                          • Higher DPI means more ethically conscious decisions
                            • Figure 12: Disposable personal income change from previous period, January 2007-April 2018
                          • High corporate profits enable increase in donations
                            • Figure 13: Total annual corporate after-tax profits, in billions of dollars, 2000-17
                        • Cause Marketing Initiatives – What You Need to Know

                          • Companies move to charitable partnerships
                            • Charity campaigns need to make sense
                              • Expectations are high for brands to have a stance
                              • What’s New?

                                • TOMS evolves their charity with response
                                  • Allstate’s Purple Purse represents modern cause marketing
                                    • Figure 14: Allstate’s Purple Purse mural, before and after Instagram filter
                                  • Domino’s delivers help locally
                                    • Publicizing charitable works increases affinity
                                      • MasterCard registers nil with their World Cup pitch
                                      • What’s Next?

                                        • Disaster relief will see an increase in donations
                                          • iGens will look to brands for activism
                                            • Social platforms more instrumental to individual donation
                                            • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                              • Charitable efforts are a purchase consideration
                                                • iGens and Millennials are cause-conscious groups
                                                  • Environmental concerns on the rise
                                                    • No single cause reigns
                                                      • Leeway exists for controversy
                                                        • Television is popular, but giving way to social
                                                        • Importance of Cause Marketing

                                                          • Consumers want their companies to be charitable
                                                            • Figure 15: Opinions of companies supporting charitable causes, April 2018
                                                          • Millennials, middle- and top-earners do their homework
                                                            • Figure 16: Consumers who place importance on corporate charity efforts and consider charitable efforts when purchasing, by generation and income, April 2018
                                                          • Consumer support is more carrot than stick
                                                              • Figure 17: Consumer actions regarding corporate stances, net agree, April 2018
                                                            • iGens and Millennials do their research…
                                                              • Figure 18: Share of consumers who research brand ethics, by generation, April 2018
                                                            • …and are most likely to be swayed to act
                                                              • Figure 19: Support for companies with compatible causes, by generation, April 2018
                                                          • Causes Consumers Support

                                                            • Religious causes are personal
                                                                • Figure 20: Consumer donation and support of causes, April 2018
                                                              • Religion garners more individual support
                                                                  • Figure 21: Donation and support of religious causes, by area, generation, and income, April 2018
                                                                • Disaster relief has the most overall support
                                                                    • Figure 22: Consumer donation and support of causes, net donation and support, April 2018
                                                                • Causes Companies Should Consider

                                                                  • Little consumer consensus of causes companies should support
                                                                    • Figure 23: Opinions of what causes companies should support, any rank, April 2018
                                                                  • Donors feel corporations have more obligation to be charitable
                                                                    • Figure 24: Opinions of whether companies should support their cause, donor vs non-donor supporters, April 2018
                                                                • Consumer Expectations of Companies

                                                                  • Companies should have a viewpoint, but specifics are hazy
                                                                      • Figure 25: Consumer expectations of companies, April 2018
                                                                    • iGens and Baby Boomers are the most opinionated
                                                                        • Figure 26: Expectations of companies, iGens vs Baby Boomers, April 2018
                                                                      • Green can attract more than red, white, and blue
                                                                          • Figure 27: TURF analysis – Brand expectations, April 2018
                                                                      • Taking Action

                                                                        • Consumers want corporations to make a meaningful contribution
                                                                          • Figure 28: Opinions of charitable support by companies, any agree, April 2018
                                                                        • Navigating controversy
                                                                          • Figure 29: Sentiment around controversial causes, any agree, April 2018
                                                                        • iGens and women less shy about controversy
                                                                          • Figure 30: Opinions on controversial causes, net agree/disagree, by generation, by gender, April 2018
                                                                        • Black adults more tolerant of controversy, Hispanic adults play it safe
                                                                          • Figure 31: Opinions on controversial causes, net agree/disagree, by race and Hispanic origin, April 2018
                                                                      • Communicating Charitable Efforts

                                                                        • TV and websites have the largest reach
                                                                          • Figure 32: Sources of information about corporate charitable efforts, April 2018
                                                                        • Social media is a significant information platform
                                                                          • Figure 33: Sources of information about corporate charitable efforts, by generation, April 2018
                                                                        • Youngest consumers influenced by online personalities
                                                                          • Figure 34: Effectiveness of online personalities relating cause marketing, by generation, April 2018
                                                                        • Older generations harder to reach
                                                                          • Figure 35: Sources of cause marketing information – “none of the above,” by generation, April 2018
                                                                        • Respect doesn’t equal loyalty
                                                                          • Figure 36: Opinions of companies that support causes, any agree, April 2018
                                                                        • The authenticity gap
                                                                          • Figure 37: Opinions of companies that support causes, any agree, by generation, April 2018
                                                                        • Young generations hold conflicting opinions on corporate charity
                                                                          • Figure 38: Belief in intentions behind corporate charity, by generation, April 2018
                                                                      • Cause Marketing Segmentation

                                                                        • Consumers split on involvement, corporate roles
                                                                            • Figure 39: Cause Marketing Segments, April 2018
                                                                          • Charity Cheerleaders (24%)
                                                                            • Who are they?
                                                                              • How do you reach them?
                                                                                • Figure 40: Profile of Charity Cheerleaders, April 2018
                                                                              • Casual Charity Fans (29%)
                                                                                • Who are they?
                                                                                  • How do you reach them?
                                                                                    • Figure 41: Profile of Casual Charity Fans, April 2018
                                                                                  • Charity DIYers (22%)
                                                                                    • Who are they?
                                                                                      • How do you reach them?
                                                                                        • Figure 42: Profile of Charity DIYers, April 2018
                                                                                      • Idle Cynics (25%)
                                                                                        • Who are they?
                                                                                          • How do you reach them?
                                                                                            • Figure 43: Profile of Idle Cynics, April 2018
                                                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                          • Data sources
                                                                                            • Consumer survey data
                                                                                              • Methodology
                                                                                                • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                  • Direct marketing creative
                                                                                                    • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                      • Abbreviations
                                                                                                        • Terms
                                                                                                        • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                                                            • Figure 44: Attitudes toward cause marketing, by cause marketing segment, April 2018

                                                                                                        About the report

                                                                                                        This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                                        • The Consumer

                                                                                                          What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                                        • The Competitors

                                                                                                          Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                                        • The Market

                                                                                                          Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                                        • The Innovations

                                                                                                          New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                                        • The Opportunities

                                                                                                          Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                                        • The Trends

                                                                                                          What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                                        Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.