Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." J.F. Kennedy spoke these words in 1961 and their meaning has not faded since. At the time JFK gave this famous address, there was racial strife, inequality and our soldiers were fighting a war in another country. The former President understood the value in unity — working together to promote change. Today, we face similar challenges in our political, economic and social systems and it is through volunteerism and altruism that we can move forward into a brighter future. The tremendous support for the Haiti relief effort illustrates not only corporate, but personal responsibility. Examples Social Entrepeneurship — There has been a surge of social entrepreneurs in recent years. Social entrepreneurs blend the traditional financial model with a social mission. "It’s true that ‘just send the check’ philanthropy has been flatlining for years — the figure of about 1 percent of pre-tax profits for America’s corporate giving has hardly moved for decades,"writes the Washington Post. It’s not just about writing a check, it’s about rolling up your sleeves and being an active participate in impacting change. Volunteerism — While our wallets might be pinched from the recession, our time is not. Eighty six percent of non-profit organizations areunder financial stress . However, a recent survey conducted by MAVA found that unemployed workers are volunteering more frequently. Consequently, 50 percent of non-profits reported an increase in volunteer hours are their organization. Stats * A CNCS report shows that about 8.2 million young people (ages 16-24) volunteered in 2008, compared with about 7.6 million in 2007 * Fifty percent of non-profits reported an increase in volunteer hours are their organization * Community volunteerism increased 31 percent in the last year. Take Aways * Take advantage of the rise in volunteerism. Partner with an organization, such as Habitat for Humanity, to get your current customer base excited about your brand while making a difference. * Embed a social cause into your organization to enhance your product offering. For instance, if your product costs $1.00, raise the price to $1.10 and donate $.9 to a charitable foundation. * Include the consumer in the creation process as well as allowing them to just buy an end product. For instance, allows designers to submit a t-shirt graphic...