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