Corporate social responsibility includes six types of corporate social initiatives:

  • Corporate philanthropy: company donations to charity, including cash, goods, and services, sometimes via a corporate foundation
  • Community volunteering: company-organized volunteer activities, sometimes while an employee receives pay for pro-bono work on behalf of a non-profit organization
  • Socially-responsible business practices: ethically produced products that appeal to a customer segment
  • Cause promotions and activism, company-funded advocacy campaigns
  • Cause-related marketing: donations to charity based on product sales
  • Corporate social marketing: company-funded behavior-change campaigns

All six of the corporate initiatives are forms of corporate citizenship. However, only some of these CSR activities rise to the level of cause maketing, defined as "a type of corporate social responsibility in which a company's promotional campaign has the dual purpose of increasing profitability while bettering society.

Companies generally do not have a profit motive when participating in corporate philanthropy and community volunteering. On the other hand, the remaining corporate social initiatives can be examples of cause marketing, in which there is both a societal interest and profit motive.

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