By Janet Stocks (New York City)

According to Cone, a leading strategy and communications agency, “Today, a company that directs its unique assets to have a significant and sustainable impact on society will strengthen reputation, employee morale and stakeholder loyalty in an engaging and authentic way.”

The 2008 Cone Study, Past. Present. Future. The 25th Anniversary of Cause Marketing, conducted in conjunction with the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, suggests that “The causes that companies choose to support often reflect national and international economic pressures and events.”

Unanimous global support for the Haitian Earthquake Relief efforts confirm the power of cause marketing in corporate teambuilding and fundraising. By harnessing the power of large workforces, corporations are “proving more nimble at addressing issues, such as natural disasters, than the government agencies or nonprofit organizations designed to manage the task.”

Historic Fundraising Efforts for Haiti

  1. “Hope for Haiti Now”

    Boasting the largest international telethon ever, MTV Networks has partnered with all major media networks, online communities, and global radio stations to fundraise for Haiti. All proceeds benefit Oxfam America, Partners in Health, the Red Cross, UNICEF, United Nations World Food Programme, Yele Haiti Foundation and the Clinton Bush Haiti Foundations. Over 100 of America’s biggest stars performed, spoke, and answered calls in an effort to raise funds for Haitian Earthquake Relief efforts. In total, the telethon raised over $58 million.

  2. Mobile Giving

    Founded in 2007, the Mobile Giving Foundation serves to “harness the immense power of wireless communications to empower nonprofit organizations.”Technology savvy nonprofits have increased fundraising efforts through mobile giving campaigns. In fact, over $16 million dollars has been raised through mobile giving to the Yele Foundation, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, Salvation Army, Unicef, National Religious Broadcasters, Save the Children Federation, World Vision, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Oxfam America, Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, Americares, Habitat for Humanity, American Jewish World Service, American Red Cross, Salvation Army in Canada, Plan Canada, and World Vision Canada.

Easy and efficient, global citizens are responding to nonprofit requests for funds by texting their donations. Text donations are then charged to the individual’s monthly cell phone bill.

How to Engage Employees through Cause Marketing

According to a 2008 Cone study, “Companies that provide substance and meaning will be rewarded with high employee pride, morale and retention.” Partnering with nonprofit organizations to promote a particular cause is an excellent way to attract and retain employees, particularly the socially conscious Millennial Generation.

Wonder what employees want? Cone’s research indicates that employees value “matching grants, paid time off to volunteer, dollars for doers, company-sponsored volunteer days, volunteer opportunities outside of work, skills-based volunteer opportunities, and paid sabbaticals.”

In the wake of the Haitian earthquake tragedy, corporations are engaging employees in the relief efforts. Through monetary and in-kind donations, corporations from all sectors are communicating to their employees and customers alike that they care about the world. In addition to corporate donations and in-kind donations, many corporations have pledged to match their employees’ donations up to a certain dollar amount. For example, General Electric has donated $2.5 million to the relief efforts and has pledged to match its employees’ donations dollar for dollar. Bob Corcoran, Vice President of the GE Foundation, said, “The generosity and activation of our employees is inspiring and the GE Foundation is proud to match their philanthropic efforts.”

Similarly, Nestle Purina Pet Care Company, Anheuser-Busch, Tyson Fresh Meats, Dow Chemical Company, U.S. Bank, Walgreens, Dell, Merck, Eli Lilly, the Intel Foundation, Time Warner, Cigna, and Southern Wine and Spirits are matching employee donations up to a certain amount in addition to their corporate and in-kind donations.

Evolved employers can continue to attract and engage quality employees by taking a stand on the causes that matter to everyone. What causes will you choose to support?