Wise Giving Wednesday: Cause Marketing Disclosures

By H. Art Taylor
President & CEO BBB Wise Giving Alliance
Jan 18, 2023

In today’s consumer marketplace, a quite common practice is for a business to sell products or services with the promise that some of the purchase will benefit a charity. We encourage the public to look for disclosures in such promotions that inform how much the charity will be helped by making such a purchase. BBB Charity Standard 19 calls for these promotions to specify the actual or anticipated amount of the purchase that will help the charity (for example, 5 cents for every box of cereal sold.) Not all advertisements are clear on this point and some use vague language such as “proceeds” or “profits” will go to a charity. In addition, if there is some time limit on the campaign (i.e., during the month of October) or guaranteed minimum /or maximum amount that can be raised (i.e., up to $200,000), those points should also be included in the promotional disclosure.

In turn, businesses seeking to help philanthropy by adopting this type of marketing should take measures to protect their interests as well. Find out if the selected charity is properly registered with the appropriate state government agencies and seek out an evaluative report on Give.org that will specify if the organization meets the 20 BBB Charity Standards. Also, cause related marketing promotions should be covered by a written agreement with the charity that includes, among other things, permission to use the charity’s name or trademark logo, specifies how much of the purchase will go to the charity, and when funds will be distributed to the organization.

Of course, the charity itself should do its due diligence on the business by checking the applicable business report on BBB.org to see if it is a BBB Accredited business and determining if the business’ products and practices reflect the type of company that the charity would be comfortable to partner with on such a promotion.  

Each player in this scenario, the consumer, charity, and the business, have an important role to play. With careful planning and advertising transparency, this can have a successful result for all those involved in the transaction. 


Heart of Giving Podcast

This week’s Heart of Giving Podcast features an interview with Macire Aribot and Nassim Ashford, co-founders of NoirUnited. As stated on their website, the organization is “focused on centering Black and other marginalized people in creating development solutions for their communities. NoirUnited provides community-based development interventions to address social, economic, and political challenges primarily in African descent communities across the globe.” The organization is currently working to advocate, raise funds and provide humanitarian assistance to Black people who are stranded in Ukraine and those who have evacuated to neighboring countries.


Recent Reports

We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:

Finally, remember to let us know by going to www.give.org/charity-inquiry if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.

TAGS: Donations , Charity
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