So if you shop for good - as we all do and will do plenty of this giving season, no doubt - can we assume that we will then give less? The research doesn't show this, so we need research that will really look at this question. I am by no means unbiased on this question having asked it for years, but it sure seems likely that "giving at the checkout counter" will influence how you "give with your checkbook." Especially when times are tough.
This is a real question for all of us. Cone marketing studies show that more than 80% of want to make purchases from companies that support a cause. There is no doubt about it - cause marketing influences what we buy and from whom.
There is nothing but doubt, however, that the money that is raised this way goes where it is supposed to, serves who it is intended for, or serves the longer term relationship building process between consumers and causes (it seems to serve the relationship building process between consumer and product brands). We do not track these dollars, companies don't need to report them (nor even identify the organization to which they are giving them), no one is required to report them in aggregate form or any other way, and there is not, at this time, any way to know for sure that the money is going for good.
It seems likely that our shopping dollars are destined to challenge our donation dollars in the revenue chain for good. If so, shouldn't we at least have some sense that not only did we get a nice new t-shirt but that cancer research got funded, vaccines got delivered, seals got saved, and kids got insulin?
Read more in Scientific America MIND, "Green and Mean: Eco-Shopping Has a Side Effect"