School Safety and Data Privacy Outpace Water Conservation, Health and Housing as Top Causes Americans Care About

School Safety and Data Privacy Outpace Water Conservation, Health and Housing as Top Causes Americans Care About


Alicia Stetzer


[email protected]

NEW YORK, Sept. 10, 2019 – School safety is the cause of greatest importance for Americans in 2019, according to new research. Data privacy and cybersecurity are next on the list, followed by water conservation and medical research/disease prevention. Ketchum’s Causes Americans Care About study, now in its fourth year, is a joint effort by Ketchum’s Purpose and Analytics teams to gauge how Americans prioritize supporting 16 of the top charitable causes and social issues dominating consumer conversation.

The results show a trend of consumers prioritizing issues and causes that impact people on an individual level. Following the top four issues, a theme of inequality for individuals emerged in the middle of the pack, including affordable housing, racial equality and access to education.

New this year, the survey also examined the actions consumers expect companies to take in supporting charitable causes and social issues. Behind the most-expected action of donating resources and capital (54%), survey results show educating the public (35%) and creating products and services that address social and environmental issues (33%) to be highest on the list of actions consumers expect of companies.

“Safety and well-being are dominant themes in this year’s results, and it’s remarkable to see that agreement cut across gender and age groups when it comes to safety in our school communities. The data also indicate that while Americans expect companies to contribute to social good monetarily, there’s also appetite for them to take a role as public educators. Brands and organizations should be encouraged that the public views them as an influential voice for social change, and they must be thoughtful in crafting communications that will continue to engender that trust,” said Mary Elizabeth Germaine, partner and managing director, Analytics, at Ketchum.

Other notable survey findings include:

  • School safety is considered important across generations: Millennials (78%) are just as likely as Gen X (78%) and Boomers (81%) to say it’s very important to personally support school safety causes.
  • Environmental and social causes such as combatting climate change (54%) are less likely to be considered very important to support than safety and health issues including mental health (69%).
  • Millennials are more likely than Gen X and Boomers to say it is very important to support many social causes, namely racial equality (74% of Millennials vs. 64% of both Gen X and Boomers), gender equality/#MeToo (64% of Millennials vs. 53% of Gen X and 56% of Boomers) and LGBTQIA equality (51% of Millennials vs. 39% of Gen X and 36% of Boomers).
  • Americans are less likely to expect companies’ individual employees to take an active role in supporting charitable causes and social issues – only 25% think it’s most important for companies to implement employee volunteer efforts, and just 12% believe it’s most important for CEOs or C-suite executives to take a stand publicly.

Ketchum’s Purpose specialty focuses on helping organizations identify and activate social impact and sustainability initiatives with authentic links to business offerings, and strategic links to organizational goals. Ketchum’s Analytics specialty provides customized solutions that combine the best of quantitative, qualitative and digital research and analytics to help organizations convert data into prescriptive solutions for achieving communications and business aims. To learn more, see our Causes Americans Care About survey.

Ketchum’s Analytics specialty partnered with Engine’s CARAVAN to conduct this omnibus survey, fielded online among a sample of 1,004 Americans between June 6 and 10, 2019. When necessary, the numbers were weighted to be nationally representative (weighting is applied to age, gender, region, race/ethnicity, education and income to be proportionally representative of the U.S. adult population, if necessary). The margin of error for the sample of 1,004 is +/- 3.1% at the 95% confidence level. Smaller subgroups will have larger error margins.

About Ketchum
Ketchum is a leading global communications consultancy with operations in more than 70 countries across six continents. PRWeek’s Best Agency of the Past 20 Years, Ketchum is the winner of 105 Cannes Lions and an unprecedented six PRWeek Campaign of the Year Awards. Ketchum partners with clients to deliver strategic programming, game-changing creative and measurable results that build brands and reputations. For more information on Ketchum, a part of Omnicom Public Relations Group, visit

About Omnicom Public Relations Group
Omnicom Public Relations Group is a global collective of three of the top global public relations agencies worldwide and specialist agencies in areas including public affairs, marketing to women, global health strategy and corporate social responsibility. It encompasses more than 6,300 public relations professionals in more than 370 offices worldwide who provide their expertise to companies, government agencies, NGOs and nonprofits across a wide range of industries. Omnicom Public Relations Group delivers for clients through a relentless focus on talent, continuous pursuit of innovation and a culture steeped in collaboration. Omnicom Public Relations Group is part of the DAS Group of Companies, a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC) that includes more than 200 companies in a wide range of marketing disciplines including advertising, public relations, healthcare, customer relationship management, events, promotional marketing, branding and research.