Tennessee State Seal
Use Caution with Cause-Related Marketing
(Published: December 2, 2009)

(This column was originally published in The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal Nov. 27, 2009.)

Teaming of for-profit companies with nonprofits to sell products, services while raising money for charity sounds fine, says Tre Hargett — but read the fine print.

In difficult financial  times, every dollar counts. Even during the season of giving.

During this holiday shopping season, many people will make purchasing decisions that are influenced by “cause-related marketing.”

In simplest terms, cause-related marketing arrangements are those in which for-profit companies team up with nonprofit organizations to sell products and services while simultaneously raising money for charity.

On its surface, it sounds like a great concept. Why wouldn’t you want to buy a product from a company that is promising to donate a percentage of the sales proceeds to your favorite charity, when you