In the 1980s, a new form of marketing was born: Cause-Related Marketing (CRM), a hybrid of product advertising and corporate public relations. CRM aims to link corporate identities with nonprofit organizations and good causes. As a tax-deductible expense for business, this form of brand leveraging seeks to connect with the consuming public beyond the traditional point of purchase and to form long-lasting and emotional ties with consumers. However, what might seem like a fair exchange between corporations in search of goodwill and non-profits in search of funds also raises a range of troubling social, political and ethical questions.
CRM is, first and foremost, a market-driven system. Therefore, a non-profit organization's chance of obtaining CRM funding hinges on its ability to complement sales messages. However, it is often the case that vital social issues are only -- or are best -- addressed by "edgy" groups or by using controversial tactics.