If you’re reading this
September is National Literacy Month and part of my company’s mission is to contribute a portion of profits to literacy organizations. I mean, can you IMAGINE not being able to read?! Almost 800 million people worldwide are illiterate.
I can go on and on, but this article is not so much about my passion for increasing worldwide literacy.
It’s about encouraging YOU to incorporate YOUR passion for whatever cause you are passionate about into your business.
There’s an expanding trend in business creation called social enterprise. These are for-profit businesses that exist to both sell a product or service as well as contribute to cause.
Wikipedia defines the term as “social mission driven organizations which apply market-based strategies to achieve a social purpose. The movement includes both non-profits that use business models to pursue their mission and for-profits whose primary purposes are social.”
For every pair of shoes TOMS Shoes sells, they give one pair of shoes to a needy child. That is the model the company has been built on.
Even if your company wasn’t founded on this type of model, you can always incorporate it.
Most business people have some social cause that moves them. Perhaps you have a friend or relative who fought a valiant battle with a particular disease.
Or you’ve traveled to somewhere and seen first hand the need for housing or clean water or health care there. You may already personally contribute to or volunteer for this cause.
Here’s why you might consider bringing it into your business. Sure you can increase awareness and raise even more funds for your cause, but beyond that, it’s another differentiating factor for your company.
It’s a way to boost business, generate consumer goodwill, increase brand loyalty and give back at the same time.
By the numbers
One study conducted annually over the past 15 years continually shows that more than 80% of consumers would choose one company over another because of its association with a good cause.
Another study found 90.7% think it’s important for companies to support causes and charities.
From a corporate perspective, 52% of companies have enhanced relationships with their target demographic as a result of their cause marketing efforts.
Like it or not, more and more customers want to know that the companies they do business with are socially conscious – that they’re in business to do more than just make a profit.
How are you going to respond?
- Read more about innovative social ventures at Beyond Profit
- The results of a cause consumer behavior study from Cone
- Building the capacity of your world, from regular contributor Patricia Frame
Image: Robin Woltman via Flickr, Creative Commons
Lori Saitz is founder of Zen Rabbit Baking Company. She shares happiness by helping business people show appreciation for and give recognition to customers and employees with The Gratitude Cookie™. With an understanding of the value of creating strong connections and experiences, she supports clients in increasing customer loyalty, referrals and profits. Connect with Lori on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook