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Animal, Children and Hunger are the Three Causes Americans are the Most Eager to Support

by | 3 minute read

According to a new study, animal welfare is the most popular cause for Americans in 2018, followed by children’s education and hunger. Ketchum Purpose‘s Causes Americans Care About study, now in its third year, also shows that the overall cause landscape has become more fragmented, with support spread over a wider variety of causes in 2018 than in 2017 or 2016.

The study’s findings include:

  • Animal welfare is the No. 1 cause Americans are interested in supporting, selected by 41% of respondents. Animal welfare has been a perennial favorite, always residing in the top three.
  • Children’s education is the second most important cause, with 38% of Americans interested in supporting it. Children’s education is consistently important with Americans, hovering between 35 and 38% over the study’s three years.
  • Hunger, chosen by 33% in 2018, is the third post popular cause, dropping from No. 1 last year.

About 21.4% of adults in the U.S. are Cause Marketing Responders, according to AudienceSCAN.

Ketchum’s study revealed diverging opinions about the cause landscape according to generation, ethnicity and household income:

  • Those 35 and older were more likely to identify animal welfare (43%) as a top cause, while young adults (ages 18 to 34) chose children’s education (44%) over animal welfare (37%).
  • While African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Caucasian Americans do not share the same list of top three causes, children’s education is a common thread across all three.
  • People with a household income of $49K or less have the same list of top three causes as the general population, but those with a household income of $100K to $150K prioritize the environment over hunger.

“Companies and NGOs need to understand the issues people care about, how their preferences may evolve over time, and the outside factors that can influence their passions. Whether a company is pursuing socially responsible activities or an NGO is fulfilling its mission, it’s important to use these consumer insights to guide decisions and maximize the social and financial impact of their purpose-related initiatives,” said Monica Marshall, director of Ketchum Purpose and partner of ONE HUNDRED.

At the end of the day, Cause Marketing Responders want to buy from companies with the same values as them. According to AudienceSCAN, these consumers are 249% more likely than average adults to shop at a store that supports a cause or charity that is important to them and another 107% will avoid companies with values that conflict with their own.

The Ketchum Purpose study also looks at consumer expectations of companies in terms of where they put their support, finding that a focus on global issues has seen a steady increase over the past three years. However, the majority of Americans still believe companies should first address community-level issues (61%), followed by individual (56%), national (50%), and global (34%) issues, respectively.

So, how should companies market to these consumers? AudienceSCAN reports that about 66.8% of this group took action after seeing an ad on TV within the past 12 months and another 66.1% did the same after receiving ads and coupons via direct mail.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.

Rachel Cagle

Rachel Cagle

Rachel is a Research Analyst, specializing in audience intelligence, at SalesFuel. She also helps to maintain the major accounts and co-op intelligence databases. As the holder of a Bachelors degree in English from The Ohio State University, Rachel helps the rest of the SalesFuel team with their writing needs.