CSR Trends: "Consumer Driven Aid" For Haiti - A blog by Cause+Integration

CSR Trends: "Consumer Driven Aid" For Haiti - A blog by Cause+Integration

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010 - 7:39am


Remember Haiti? Okay, good. Just checking. While it’s been hardly 4 weeks since the 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Port-Au-Prince, destroying over 200,000 lives and an entire capital city, the media cycle has already seemed to move on. It’s back to health care, elections, tea parties, and the economy.

Lives have been lost, families torn apart, people displaced, and now what? As the first massive wave of relief has passed, and corporations have pledged their initial aid (over $130 million thus far),  I’m sure some might be planning their next move to help in the reconstruction efforts by offering more financial, technological, and expertise-based assistance. Yet some might have moved on to their next “Socially Responsible” initiative. Some may be returning to business as usual, patting themselves on the back for being able to give $1 million to Haiti in a (post?) recession time.

Many Americans and the companies they work for immediately pitched in resources to help Haiti, and with every catastrophic event that becomes a catalyst for widespread giving, it’s worth stepping back and examining the trends.

In the case of Haiti, we saw the growth of a corporate social responsibility strategy that intertwines the interests and efforts of both individuals and corporations- we’ll call it Consumer Driven Aid.  Once upon a time, people would give for the sake of giving, out of compassion for those in truly desperate situations. Companies would give because they felt it was their responsibility to society to set an example (or they just wanted to look good.) While the incredible outpour of support for Haiti is testament to the fact that giving for the sake of giving certainly hasn’t vanished, corporations and consumers are engineering new ways to mutually benefit from corporate philanthropy.

To put it bluntly, we’re all starting to get a better ROI (Return on Investment) on our donations.

The rise of Consumer Driven Aid highlights an increasingly popular model of corporate philanthropy; one that creates a co-dependent, cause-based relationship between brands and consumers, with the end result being consumers helping nonprofits and receiving something tangible in return from a brand. The more consumers engage, the more money is given.

Let’s examine one of the most recent example of Consumer Driven Aid: 

continue reading.