It’s a simple question many entrepreneurs are asking themselves.
Increasingly, entrepreneurs are pushing beyond purely
self-interest-driven business to focus on ways in which they can
leverage influence and expertise to impact social change—whether it’s a
national video contest or a local blood drive.
In an ideal world, genuine passion is the key call-to-action. Beyond your personal connection to a cause, there are many business benefits. The primary business benefit of a social mission is to engender goodwill amongst core segments, though there are many secondary benefits. Elevating your brand image, rallying your team and building relationships with like-minded entrepreneurs are key secondary benefits of launching a social initiative.
Primary Business Benefits
The primary benefit of a social mission is all about authenticity. If your primary ambition of launching a social initiative is to bolster your brand image, your head and heart might not be in the game—instead centered on self-interest pursuits. It is about making a sustainable impact for core constituencies; it’s about uplifting public welfare; it’s about leveraging influence and talents to be an influential advocate for those with little to no representation.
Authenticity wins the hearts of your consumers. Consider VoxPop–a cafe and bookstore in Brooklyn, NY that promotes social awareness. Recently, VoxPop was on the verge of financial collapse when the CEO, Debi Ryan hosted two town hall meetings to pitch an investment deal to the community. Now, the cafe and bookstore has 144 new investors. VoxPop was able to live another day due to their genuine compassion for community members–who reciprocated the feeling to truly make VoxPop a community-driven businesss. Their authenticity won the hearts and consequently, pocketbooks of the local patrons.
"If [your social mission is] manipulative and just to drive sales, the public will see through it in a minute," said Shelly Lazarus, Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide said to on | Philanthropy. Your social mission should not be a catalyst to make an impact on profits—it should be to make an impact beyond your profits.
Secondary Business Benefits
Though the primary objective of a social mission should be...