Money Where Their Mouse Is

Cone’s latest research, the 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study, shows consumers are actively engaging with companies and nonprofits through new media channels … but are they putting their money where their mouse is? The answer is divided.

When it comes to corporate responsibility practices, 62 percent of new media users polled believe they can influence business decisions by voicing opinions via new media channels. And although they report contributing their point-of-view on an issue (24%) or contacting a company directly to share feedback and grievances (23%), new media users are equally or more likely to bypass dialogue and act with their wallets:

  • 30 percent indicate they have made a purchase based on POSITIVE information learned about a product, company or brand; and,

  • 23 percent indicate they have switched brands or boycotted a company based on NEGATIVE information learned about a product, company or brand.

Yet, in the area of cause, consumer engagement and awareness is not fully translating into dollars. Although nearly eight-in-10 (79%) new media users believe companies and nonprofits should use these channels to raise money and awareness for causes, fewer than one-in-five (18%) have made a donation.

And some argue that’s quite OK.

As’s nonprofit expert Joanne Fritz points out, using new media is “about making friends, not getting donations. If nonprofits focus on engagement first, the donations will come.” A sentiment nonprofit blogger Nancy Schwartz shares, saying she sees new media as “more about friendraising than fundraising.”


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