cause marketing | opportunities for canadian corporations…

2010 data reveals only 8% of Canadian corporations surveyed support nonprofits via cause marketing, yet recent studies prove that this is important to the Canadian consumer.

As we approach 2013 many Canadians are contemplating their resolutions. Lose weight, save money, volunteer. But what about large corporations? What resolutions are CEO’s planning for? I believe good purpose and giving back to one’s community will truly differentiate Canadian businesses in 2013. Yet, the true differentiators will be how each company decides to give back.

In my opinion it’s not enough to just give cash anymore, run in a marathon, or provide services  on an ad-hoc basis.  Companies and brands can do so much more by leveraging their assets to develop long term initiatives through cause marketing. By developing partnerships with nonprofits, companies have the opportunity to tell compelling stories that are relevant to their consumer.

Yet, it was revealed in a 2010 survey that only a small % of Canadian companies supported nonprofits through cause marketing. Check out the data below:


This presents an incredible opportunity for companies and brands to give back in a unique and more meaningful way. The Gap is a great example of a company already doing this, but I think Canadian companies can take this idea further. For example, why not leverage in-house expertise to develop a social media campaign such as a video series on YouTube, an interactive design project, or a data visualization?

Another interesting thing that emerged out of the 2010 survey data was how some nonprofits are more likely to receive cause marketing support compared to others. See results below:

Value of Support 2

What this data tells me is that there are big opportunities for Canadian companies and brands to develop new and creative ways to support charities that are not currently getting as much support, specifically in the area of cause marketing. As with any marketing initiative, it’s sometimes better to avoid markets that are over saturated in order to get your message across.

For example, the fact that environmental charities are receiving minimal support overall is quite shocking, and is something that should be addressed. This is also top of mind to the Canadian consumer according to a recent 2012 study, where 16% of respondents agreed that companies should support environmental charities.

See below for more details:

Canadian Survey


To all large Canadian corporations and brands, in 2013:

  1. Make the resolution to go above and beyond donating just cash to charities and move towards cause marketing.
  2. Listen to the Canadian consumer.  If you aren’t already doing so, invest time and money into a charity that is not only right for you but for your customers.
  3. Build partnerships with nonprofits to develop compelling stories and engaging experiences that are innovative and that will truly make a difference.
  4. The environment is important, please make this a priority and consider tapping into your online audiences to drive awareness and support.


Further findings from the 2010 Canada Survey of Business Contributions to Community

Cause Marketing: Preferences and Perceptions of Corporate Charity in Canada  | November 2012

The Noun Project


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