Cause-Related Marketing from the Nonproft’s Perspective: An International Comparison: An Abstract
Cause-related marketing (CRM) is a partnership between a not-for-profit organization (NFP) and a company, intended to benefit both parties. This research examined perceptions of CRM for NFPs that do not participate in the practice. NFPs in France, where the practice is less established, were compared to NFPs in North America, where the practice is deeply established.
Online surveys of randomly selected NFPs were conducted, resulting in usable responses from 172 NFP managers (or similar position) from France, 341 from the USA, and 295 from Canada, all from NFPs that do not participate in CRM. Risk aversion, market orientation, CRM attitudes, and CRM concerns were examined. Overall, more market-oriented and less risk averse NFPs show a greater propensity toward participating in CRM. This finding underscores the fact that CRM is a marketing activity which carries potential risk, not (merely) a form of philanthropy. Those who are more market oriented appear to perceive greater benefit from taking this risk.
The intercultural comparison suggests that French NFPs differ from North American NFPs in several ways. French NFPs are somewhat less trusting of CRM partnerships, with greater concern about exploitation. Additionally, they perceive less mutual benefit from a CRM alliance, have less positive attitudes toward CRM in general, and see less potential for using the business as a resource. These findings may be due to a somewhat less favorable business sentiment overall within France. Alternatively, they could simply reflect that CRM is newer and less prevalent in France; lack of familiarity could lead to a cautious approach to CRM.
While differences between French and North American NFPs did emerge, the more important finding is perhaps the lack of difference. In many ways, French, Canadian, and US NFP managers face similar challenges and hold similar views on CRM. Across these countries, lack of resources to pursue CRM was the primary reason for not participating. This is somewhat ironic, as CRM could provide resources that would make the extra effort feasible. Their second concern was finding a suitable partner. Participants also expressed concern over a potential culture clash, negative repercussions from the partnership, and a lack of cultural fit between organizations. These findings suggest that concern regarding potential discord between partners is a prominent barrier toward CRM partnerships.