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I’m keenly interested in the potential of cause marketing to help grow the charitable pie and people and populations that are not typically givers. I was lucky to grab 30 minutes with Joe Waters from Selfish Giving last week to discuss this area and his podcast (more below) and three things stuck out to me:

  1. Cause marketing is a relatively new/young concept
  2. There aren’t many resources out there and people talking about this
  3. The Boston accent is fantastic especially when talking about ‘mawketing’

Enter this post. Below you’ll find Joe’s History of Cause Marketing INFOGRAPHIC showing that cause marketing has really only been around for 30 years and only significantly for 10 or so. I’ve also listed three of my favourite resources/people talking about cause marketing as well some ways you can go deeper in cause marketing through them.

3 Cause Marketing Resources

1. Selfish Giving

Joe Waters started writing about cause marketing on Selfish Giving in 2004 and hasn’t stopped since. Covers stories and case studies from big and small companies actively engaged in cause marketing around the US. Also has a great podcast done in partnership with Cause Marketing Forum.

Go Deeper:

2. Cause Marketing Forum

David Hessekiel founded the Cause Marketing Forum in 2002 and is nowTHE place (website, webinars, conferences, etc.) for the latest and greatest in the cause marketing field in North America. David does some fantastic writing on Forbes’s site as well and is always a great read.

Go Deeper:

3. Public Inc.

A Canadian company the exists to answer the question “Why shouldn’t everyone profit by doing good?”. They have done some great cause marketing work (like Rexall’s Shot for Shot) and have a great email newsletter that covers stories from around the world and web focused on making profit by doing good.

Go Deeper:

History of Cause Marketing (US) from

history+of+cause+marketing (1)



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  • Quick question – you define “cause marketing” as a partnership between a for-profit and nonprofit but then include companies like Toms, which to my knowledge is a single organization. Are companies working for causes without nonprofit partners still engaging in “cause marketing”?

  • bradyjosephson

    Thanks Alison. It’s actually Joe Waters who created the infographic and defines cause marketing that way (although I agree with it). I’m pretty sure TOMS still partners with organizations to deliver its shoes and program services and even if not, I think the concept still applies (their for profit focus, shoes, partners with their non-profit focus, helping those in need) to be mutually beneficial. I think we will see more businesses who have models that are less clear to fefine like this. Hope that helps a bit.

  • Thanks for the perspective Brady. I’ve been exploring the social good space a lot lately and am very interested in what everyone is calling things. Cause marketing’s meaning has, I think, definitely shifted with the increasing popularity of social enterprises, triple bottom line models and the like. Thanks for the insights!