A Cause (-Related Marketing) for Joy?

"Large American nonprofits spend at least $7.6 billion per year on marketing and public relations," according to a consulting firm's analysis of U.S. tax data. "$7.6 billion annually in spending for advertising, communications, public relations and branding ... is not an insignificant business sector," writes Tom Watson. "Total spending on public relations in the U.S. reached some $3.7 billion last year. ... So while corporations are increasingly tying their brands to nonprofit causes, the nonprofits themselves are -- in a way -- increasingly competing with corporations for consumer attention, and consumer dollars. Clearly, causes sell. ... According to projects sponsorship consultancy IEG, Inc., cause-marketing spending will rise 20.5% this year to $1.34 billion -- that means cause-marketing sponsorships are now outpacing sports sponsorships." While Watson sees this as good news for both nonprofits and marketers, Huffington Post readers seem less enthusiastic. "Couldn't that money be used to directly serve people?" one commenter asks. "In the end, the corporate-allied nonprofits wear out their welcome," warns another.