Personal Communication Still Drives Word of Mouth on Causes

Jun 15

Quiz of the day: What is the most typical way in which people tell others about social issues and causes they want them to get involved with?

a)      In person

b)      Over the phone

c)       Via text messages

d)      Via social networking messages and invites

e)      Via personal emails or email forwards

The answer: a) in person!

New findings from the Dynamics of Cause Engagement study show that nearly two-thirds of Americans (62%) report that being told in person is the way they are typically informed about causes others want them to be involved with.

These offline conversations about causes are the most prominent across generations. Even younger Americans, generations Y (ages 18 to 29) and X (ages 30 to 45) report this face-to-face engagement –56% and 59%, respectively.

Our study also found that, while generations Y and X are more likely than older Americans to use social media to learn about causes, family, friends and TV news programs still remain their top sources of information.

Social media promotional activities such as joining a cause group or contributing to a blog are also not on the top of the list of ways younger Americans engage with causes.  Rather, the more historically prominent types of engagement including donating, learning more about the cause and volunteering remain the most often ways the ways generations Y and X get involved with causes.


Does it mean that younger Americans don’t believe in the power of social media to support causes?  No!

Nearly seven in 10 Americans age 18-29 believe that online networking sites help increase the visibility of social issues and allow people to support causes more easily. More than half (55%) also affirm that social media help them get the word out about causes.


These findings suggest that, despite the growing popularity of social media tools and their great potential to engage supporters – particularly the younger ones—the “traditional” forms of learning and talking about social issues and engaging with causes remain extremely relevant.

Want to learn more about how the different generations learn about and engage with causes? Click here and download the full release.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 15th, 2011 at 7:42 pm and is filed under Corporate Social Responsibility, Ogilvy Washington, Research + Insights, Social Marketing, Social Media. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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