More on the Crystal Ball for 2008

In the spirit of adding to our list of trends for 2008, we reached out to fellow bloggers Joe Waters of Selfish Giving and Katya Andresen of Network for Good, who were kind enough to share with us their predictions for the year in the world of cause marketing/branding, nonprofits and corporate-nonprofit partnerships. Please comment with your insights if you wish!

Katya shares her thoughts here, and Joe offers up his views below:

1) What do you see as the most significant cause-related trends facing companies and nonprofits in 2008?
Companies of all sizes are increasingly making cause marketing part of their marketing mix.  Nonprofits are looking to cause marketing to diversify their funding and build their brands.  In 2008, you’ll see more companies and nonprofits in search of more education and direction on developing effective and transparent cause marketing programs.  This will be particularly evident with small- and medium-sized businesses and nonprofits, which are a huge growth area for cause marketing.

2) Which cause-related trends do you think will slow or fade away in 2008?
Cause marketing’s long honeymoon is over.  Transparency, ROI, accountability, regulation and relevance will rule the day.

3) What role do you think the slowing economy will play in corporate and consumer giving in 2008?
On the corporate side, you’ll see more companies insisting on a ROI for their cause marketing efforts.  If companies are going to make the extra effort to execute cause marketing programs instead of taking the easier, cheaper route of making a donation, they’ll want to measure the impact for everyone involved.  On the consumer side, tighter wallets and uneasiness with cause marketing will mean fewer dollars for charities.

4) What social issues/causes do you believe will emerge/grow in 2008?
“Green causes” will continue to be the rage in 2008.  More significantly for cause marketers, some businesses will drop their support for traditional health causes (breast cancer, heart, etc.) in favor of more trendy environmental cause marketing campaigns.

5) What do you foresee as the most significant challenges in the cause branding, nonprofit and/or corporate-nonprofit partnership spaces in the coming year?
When buying cause marketing products and services, a lot more consumers will be asking how much of their purchase is going to the charity.  Consumers will want more details and, in some instances, are not going to like what they hear.  Educating consumers about cause marketing, how it works and managing expectations will be very challenging.

Differentiation is also going to be a challenge. As consumers become more cause marketing-savvy, it’s going to be more difficult for nonprofits and cause marketing campaigns to stand out from the other campaigns. Campaigns will need to make the case for “why make this purchase now.”

-Caryn B. Lazaroff, Former Senior Insights Associate