Consumers Want to Save the World But Are Doing It Less

Photo by Fantaz

Consumers see themselves as responsible for making the world a better place, but when it comes to actually doing the work, they’re not as involved as they used to be. That’s the findings of Edelman’s 2012 Good Purpose Study.

The percentage of consumers involved in a cause dropped 7% between 2010 and 2012, the only decline among the 16 countries surveyed. Yet, among those countries, U.S. consumers stood out when over a third acknowledged that they, not government, were responsible for tackling society’s problems.

Consumer support for brands that address societal ills remains high and is growing in several key areas.

Carol Cone, Global Practice Chair, Business + Social Purpose, Edelman–better known to us cause marketers as “Mom”–sees an opportunity for marketers that may have hit the jackpot: motivated consumer that needs more direction from brands.

“While U.S. consumers currently have less time and money to put towards societal issues, they still feel they’re most responsible to help,” said Carol. “Brands and corporations can ease the burden for consumers by making involvement in social issues easier and more aligned with the core needs they face today–jobs, hunger, education, and healthcare.”

As always, Carol makes a good point.

Wondering what your nonprofit can do today? Here are a few tips.

  • — Causes need to be clear as possible on what their missions are and what supporters can do to help. In a complicated world you need to have a simple but powerful message that people can act on.
  • — Regardless of the size of the donation, show people the impact. If you run a food pantry and you get a $5 gift, who does it feed? For how long?
  • — Stop shying away from easy ways for people to give because you think it’s slacktivism. You have to start somewhere!
  • — Most donations to causes happen during work hours. Make it easy for employees to support causes in the workplace.
  • — Focus on things that people can relate to–jobs, hunger, education, healthcare–and lead with a strong emotional message.