How committed is your company to your social efforts? Is your social initiative a small side project or the essence of what your company stands for? Incorporating a social mission is about creating a harmony between your company philosophy and passion for social change. There is a spectrum of commitment–some entrepreneurs combine their social and company mission, while others use their company philosophy to define their social mission.
TOMS Shoes has truly incorporated a social mission, by donating a pair shoes for each pair sold–representing 100% of their sales. On the other hand, Ruby Tuesdays exemplifies a social side project, donating a portion of each cookie sold at their restaurants–the lowest dollar item on a big menu. Checking the social mission box like Ruby Tuesdays is better than doing nothing. However, we believe TOMS is capturing the larger opportunity by creating a for-profit company with a social mission in their business model.
Identifying which direction you’re going to take is important when deciding what social mission is right for your business. Whether it’s checking the box or incorporating a social mission into your business model or anything in between, there are several points to consider:
Identify the company mission
Before brainstorming your social mission, identify the essence of your company. What is your core mission? What is your company philosophy? What does your company value? What level of integration will a social mission have on your company mission or visa versa?
For some companies their social mission is completely integrated in their company mission. Take example from The Greyston Bakery. They state: "We don’t hire people to bake brownies. We bake brownies to hire people." To increase the social welfare in their community, The Greyston...