Minorities Involved with Causes More than Whites

June 1, 2011

gtown-cause-involvement-june-2011.JPGMore than half of African-Americans and Hispanics are involved with causes, according to [pdf] a study based on data collected in late 2010 by Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication and Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide. Results of “Dynamics of Cause Engagement” indicate 53% of African-Americans and 52% of Hispanics, but only 42% of Caucasians, are very or somewhat involved with a cause.

Thus both African-Americans and Hispanics engage with causes at a rate about 25% higher than Caucasians. Overall, 45% of Americans are very or somewhat involved with a cause.

Minorities More Likely to Take Family, Community Cause Approach

gtown-cause-beliefs-june-2011.JPGFifty-four percent of African-Americans and 55% of Hispanics, but only 46% of Caucasians, say it is important to them that their family is involved in causes. Similarly, 70% of Hispanics and 69% of African-Americans, but only 61% of Caucasians, say supporting causes makes them feel like part of a community.

Some of this heightened feeling of family and community associated with causes among minorities may stem from higher levels of childhood involvement in causes. Forty-five percent of African-Americans and 40% of Hispanics, compared to 32% of Caucasians, were actively involved in supporting causes while growing up.

It is interesting to note that roughly three-quarters or more of respondents from all three ethnic groups agree that everyone can make a difference by supporting causes, supporting a cause can give you a sense of meaning and purpose in life, and supporting causes makes you feel good about yourself.

Social Media Plays Greater Cause Role for Minorities

gtown-info-sources-june-2011.JPGThirty-one percent of African-Americans and 27% of Hispanics, but only 21% of Caucasians, say social media is a top five source of cause-related information. Minorities are also more likely to cite websites (41% of African-Americans and Hispanics compared to 36% of Caucasians), while Caucasians are more likely to cite newspaper articles (54%, compared to 43% of Hispanics and 42% of African-Americans).

All three ethnic groups cite TV as a top five source. However, Hispanics are significantly less likely to cite friends (38%, compared to 51% of African-Americans and 47% of Caucasians) or family (39%, compared to 47% of African-Americans and 45% of Caucasians).

Caucasians, Hispanics Most Likely to Support Troops

gtown-prominent-causes-june-2011.JPGCaucasians and Hispanics rank supporting the troops the most prominent cause in 2011. African Americans believe that childhood obesity will be the most prominent, followed by supporting the troops. Caucasians rank feeding the hungry second, while this cause is ranked fourth by African-Americans and sixth by Hispanics.

Caucasians and Hispanics both rank bullying third, while African-Americans rank it fifth. Hispanics rank global warming second, while this cause is ranked fifth by Caucasians and sixth by African-Americans. Caucasians are the only ethnic group to rank the Tea Party movement in the top six (fourth), while Hispanics are the only group to place gay marriage in the top six (also fourth).

African-Americans and Hispanics both place breast cancer in their top six causes (third and fifth, respectively), while Caucasians do not.

Cone: Americans Seek Corporate Opportunities for Charity

A large majority of Americans seek opportunity to assist socially conscious causes through brand marketing, according to a September 2010 study from strategy/communications agency Cone LLC. The “2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study” indicates eight in 10 (81%) Americans want companies to give them the opportunity to buy a cause-related product, with 88% saying this purchase would not replace traditional donations they would otherwise make.

Another 80% want companies to give them the opportunity to learn about a social or environmental issue, and 78% want companies to provide the opportunity to change their behavior. More than seven in 10 consumers also want companies to provide charitable opportunities such as donating to a sponsored non-profit and volunteering.

About the Data: Jointly conducted in late 2010 by Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication and Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, the study examined trends in cause involvement and the roles of a variety of activities in fostering engagement with social issues among American adults age 18 and over.


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