Survey finds word of mouth important to reach potential donors

BOSTON: Recent research from Cone showed that word of mouth is the best way to reach philanthropic consumers.

BOSTON: Recent research from Cone showed that word of mouth is the best way to reach philanthropic consumers.

Consumers said the most effective ways of learning about a charity are word of mouth (76%), media coverage (56%), and through companies from which they buy products or services (44%). Telemarketing (8%) was the worst way to reach consumers.

Perhaps surprisingly, few people felt that celebrity spokespeople or involvement (14%) were an important part of outreach.

"We try to counsel our clients that celebrities can be relevant," said Anne Erhard, account director. "But there should be some tie to the cause or previous work in the cause."

The study found that decision makers greatly value trust in an organization (82%) and measurable community impacts (81%) when deciding which cause and organization to support.

Results came from a telephone poll of 1,022 US adults, comprised of 510 men and 512 women 18 years of age and older.

Cone also announced the formalization of its cause branding for nonprofits practice, which serves clients such as the American Heart Association and America's Second Harvest.

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