Publicly-traded companies have shareholders to answer to and management is expected to generate a profit. Most private companies also hope to generate a profit. In addition to the focus on revenue, businesses must be mindful that today’s volunteerconsumers want more than profits out of a business, especially on the social responsibility front. Enterprises that run their corporate social responsibility campaigns the right way can win over socially-minded consumers and improve profits at the same time.

This year’s Echo Global CSR Study from Cone Communications emphasize that consumers have changing opinions about what types of CSR efforts businesses should focus on. This year, consumers want more economic development efforts (38%). There’s been a slight increase in concern for education (up to 9% from 8%). Interest in the environment has dropped slightly, to 19%, and the same holds true for human rights, down to 11%. Focus on hunger and poverty remains steady at 11% and 8% of consumers  who are consistently worried about health and disease.

Businesses need to tout their CSR efforts and 24% of consumers say on-package messaging is the most effective format. Another 15% say traditional advertising works best while 4% look for these messages in the mobile world and 9% want to see the information on social media.

U.S. consumers are looking for more when it comes to marketers and CSR. It’s no longer enough to donate money to a good cause. 40% of these consumers will buy products if they have proof that a marketer is being responsible.  The top actions that consumers like to see taken include:

  • Change operations, like sourcing materials responsibly 30%
  • Develop a product/service that helps solve a problem 18%
  • Apply unique assets to speed up finding a solution to a problem 16%
  • Raise awareness of an issue and educate consumers/employees 12%

Compared to the rest of the world, U.S. consumers are savvy and skeptical. Marketers can use both social  and mobile formats to promote their CSR programs and sway opinions by engaging in real conversations with social media-savvy consumers.

[Source: 2013 Cone Communications/Echo Global CSR Study. Conecomm.com. May 2013. Web. 5 Jun. 2013]