The Impact of Cause Integration - By Ryan Scott

Ryan Scott has a knack for recognizing good. Combining his experience with technology, his fervor for media, and his passion for positive change, Ryan dreamed up Causecast; a company that would provide technology and services to help businesses and nonpro
Jun 23, 2011 3:20 PM ET

The Impact of Cause Integration

When I founded a company called Causecast in 2008 out of a shared warehouse space in Santa Monica, it operated from three fundamental beliefs:

There was a dark hole where the technology should exist to make nonprofits more successful.

The rising wave of cause marketing would require technology and expertise to truly connect the ‘cause’ with the ‘marketing.’

Capitalism, if applied creatively, holds the potential to transform the complex socio-economic and environmental challenges facing the world today.

As Causecast evolved to understand the true needs of the market, it became apparent that what the market needed – and what we’d been creating all along – was a platform that would bridge the needs of nonprofits with the needs of businesses engaged in corporate social responsibility and cause marketing.

Causecast manifested this bridge as a “cause integration platform.”

I believe the term ‘cause integration’ transcends what we do.  Much has been discussed and achieved in the realm of corporate social responsibility over the past 20 years and, at a high level, CSR is the essence of what cause integration is about.

CSR addresses the broad scope of sustainable business, triple bottom line and creating shared value.  Cause integration is about how those programs and models for creating positive social actually get implemented.  Cause is woven into corporations at deeper, more meaningful levels in order to solve, and in some cases prevent, certain social issues.

Although “causes” often refers to nonprofit organizations, we can use the term to describe an overall condition, or to address global concerns such as joblessness, education or the environment.

Companies that are cause-integrated don’t need to be aligned with a specific nonprofit. They just need to demonstrate through their actions their commitment to giving back to their communities.

Historically this has been through the creation of foundations and other financial or in-kind donations. Recently more various forms of cause marketing have emerged, ranging from sponsorships to transaction-based promotions and joint ventures and employee volunteer programs.

As we move into the era of cause integration, simply donating to a nonprofit, no matter what the motivation to do so, is not enough. In our more transparent and socially connected world, consumers of brands and the employees who work for them are not only predisposed to work with companies that give back -- they expect it.

As this shift continues, there is likely to be a network effect.  The more consumers expect, the more companies will give, which in turn results in higher profits, happier employees and more social issues addressed within their communities.

It’s a win-win-win.

The main pillars of cause integration are:

continue reading at Causecast's CSR Blog