How and Why Your Business Should Support Social Impact

Friday, February 27, 2015

An astounding 94 percent of consumers are likely to switch brands to one that supports a cause. Social impact is becoming more relevant in today’s business world, and we are quickly realizing that the business of impact is the business of the future. And like many other social entrepreneurs leading the way in this space, it is important that we encourage all businesses to build a higher purpose into their model so that the most effective organizations in the world can also positively impact humanity in a major way.

As the inventor of the phrase “Cause-Centric Commerce” — which explains and educates others on best practices in the growing trend to build social impact into a business model year-round — I have included seven tips on how to get started below:

1. Find nonprofit partners that make sense for your company.

While it can be tempting to choose a nonprofit that the founder is personally passionate about, it is extremely important to find a nonprofit partner that complements your product and fits your company’s mission. (Bonus points if those are one and the same.) This will make it much easier to get support from your team, customers and business partners.

For example, SoapBox recently branched out from bar soaps by adding liquid hand soap to their product line. It made sense, then, for them to pair that product with RainCatcher — an organization that provides clean drinking water — as a partner with their liquid soap.

Just as liquid hand soap is an extension of bar soap, clean water for washing hands is an extension of providing soap for those who do not otherwise have access. Every bottle of SoapBox’s liquid hand soap provides a month of clean drinking water for a person in need, thus establishing a connection between the consumer, the product they are buying and the cause they are supporting.

2. Look for credible impact partners.

Much like a business, it takes time for a nonprofit or a foundation to get off the ground and become successful. So, it is important to find impact partners that have been around for at least two or three years. Ninety percent of nonprofits fail within the first three years, and those that make it are more likely to have established traction and have reached critical mass to where the dollars given are going to be used in an effective and efficient way.

Source: Chicago Tribune (link opens in a new window)

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