More than three-quarters (78 percent) of Americans believe a partnership between a nonprofit and a company they trust makes a cause stand out, according to the newly released 2010 Cone Nonprofit Marketing Trend Tracker. When the cause breaks through, consumers are more likely to feel positively about the nonprofit (56 percent) and actively support it.


As a result of nonprofit-corporate partnerships, 59 percent of Americans say they are more likely to buy a product associated with the partnership; 50 percent say they are more likely to donate to the nonprofit; 49 percent say they are more likely to participate in an event for the nonprofit; and 41 percent say they are more likely to volunteer for the nonprofit.


Other nonprofit marketing elements that help capture consumer attention include having an association with a special event or time period (81 percent); a memorable color, logo or icon that symbolizes the cause or issue (79 percent) and the involvement of a celebrity or other notable spokesperson (61 percent).


“Leading nonprofits are transforming their missions into breakthrough cause brands by harnessing the power of corporate partnerships to rally new supporters with a compelling call-to-action,” explains Alison DaSilva, Cone’s executive vice president of cause branding. “While we have seen many companies reap the benefits of cause-related partnerships, these results reveal the same benefits hold true for the nonprofit brand. Strategic corporate partnerships can help nonprofits stand out and create new, loyal ambassadors.”


American consumers are also highly attuned to nonprofit-corporate partnerships. Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) are actively seeking partnership details before deciding to advocate for or donate to the cause. And they want to see results: 75 percent want to hear about the results of partnerships, including the effect on the social issue or money raised for the cause. And fewer than half (45 percent) think nonprofits and companies disclose enough information about their partnerships.


The survey also found that new media have emerged as powerful channels to reach and engage consumers around social and environ­mental issues and causes, but the trend tracker results reveal conventional channels, such as traditional media, advertising and events, still resonate. Americans indicate the following are effective ways for nonprofit organizations to reach them with a message or call-to-action:

• 81 percent by word-of-mouth from family or friends

• 80 percent through traditional media (e.g., newspapers, magazines, television)

• 74 percent in advertising

• 69 percent at events

• 66 percent in the store, on a package or at the register

• 64 percent through standard mail

• 59 percent through e-mail

• 49 percent through social media channels (e.g., Facebook, blogs, YouTube, Twitter)

• 29 percent on mobile devices (via text messaging)