While “reading the news” on Facebook, I came across an article on the Right Bag At ‘Ya fan page talking about a letter written to a city councilman by a group of kids trying to make change. A group of high school students living in Colorado wrote a letter to the editor of The Aspen Times asking if “the Aspen City Council will enact laws to lessen or even eliminate plastic bags and require all shoppers to use reusable bags.” Of course, the letter got published and you can read it here.

I’ve talked a lot about cause marketing lately. I’m intrigued with the different tactics people and organizations are taking to spark awareness – but how many of these efforts are resulting in change?

The problem is it’s hard to quantify how “awareness” equates to “results.” It’s like trying to measure the value of goodwill. In the case of these students’ letter to their city council, we have no way of knowing how many others might have also written letters to their congressmen, gone out and purchased reusable bags, or taken other action furthering the cause.

Even though we know change (donations, results, laws) is the key driver for cause marketing, have we, as marketing professionals, stopped trying as hard to deliver results and started focusing more on simple awareness? Or does this awareness count as results since in this case the letter did get published and therefore was most likely read by the Aspen City Council?