Entrepreneurship/ Give Back

Is Social Good “Good” Business?

social entrepreneurs

Giving back is everywhere – from corporate initiatives to local entrepreneurs – profit plus purpose is quickly becoming a common theme with 21st Century start-ups. Pledging a double bottom-line went to something expected of Forbes’ listed billionaires to everyday entrepreneurs. 

Integrating this philanthropic element into your company has gone from novel idea to essential implementation; courtesy of socially conscious millennial consumers. Championing internet slang such as #YOLO and #giveback, Generation Y wants to make the world a better place—one purchase at a time. 

More than 85% of millennials correlate their purchasing decisions and their willingness to recommend a brand to the social good efforts a company is making. Millennials’ desire to be a part of initiatives that serve a “greater purpose” and are willing to put their money where their mouth is. Just look at social conscious brands that’s products characterize millennials’ shopping lists: TOMS, FEED, Sseko Designs, Proof, Whole Foods. 

Are these products purchased to “fill a need”? 

Certainly. But why are these brands purchased over their lower-priced alternatives? 

Because they not only fill a need, but they also make the world a better place. 

Millennials Believe Money Can Change the World

Deloitte reported 86% of millennials believe “business will have at least as much potential as the government to meet society’s challenges.” Past generations past relied on non-profit sector to facilitate the majority of philanthropic efforts, with many public traded companies developing charitable sectors within their organization. Millennial consumers want every purchase they make to have a direct impact on making our world a better place—not just an annual donation, or weekend relief fundraiser. 

Millennials want to make the world better—with every purchase made. Everything millennials do has a purpose, with focus on impacting the future in positive ways. From paying a premium for organic food (long term health) to financing millions of start-ups via crowdfunding campaigns (economic future), millennials believe they can make the world a better place, and expect the brand they patronize to commit to the same philanthropic pledge. 

It’s No Longer a Suggestion

According to Horizon Media’s study, more than eight in ten Millennials (81%) expect companies to make a public commitment to good corporate citizenship. “Social good” can take many forms, depending on the industry. Here are few examples of brands rockin’ the social give back:

Cole and Parker, a Canadian based sock company, partners with Kiva to provide microfinancing options for entrepreneurs in underdeveloped parts of the world. 

Fashion Project is an ecommerce clothing consignment platform that donates up to 55% of net profits to the consigners’ charity of choice. 

Headbands of Hope, sells made-in-the-U.S. headbands and donates a dollar of each sale to childhood cancer research through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

People Water’s “Drop for Drop” initiative designates a portion of proceeds from every bottle the company sells helps to fund one of its global clean water projects. 

Established, less “socially good” brands are struggling to maintain market share in response to socially savvy start-ups storming almost every industry. Don’t get left behind, rebranded as a corporate “Scrooge”—prioritize implementing social good into your company’s mission to meet millennial consumer expectations. 

Social Good is Good Business

Turns out social good is indeed “good business”, especially when it comes to millennials. Philanthropic give backs, environmentally and socially responsible sourcing, opportunities to help others by making a purchase—millennial consumers demand social good to be evidenced in the brands they patronize. Older generations may view Gen Y’s obsession with making the world a better place unrealistic, and roll their eyes at millennial’s expectation of cultivating a relationship with their brands; regardless of your personal opinions and preferences on characteristics of the millennial consumer, adoption of the social good initiatives discussed above are necessary for your company to survive into the next decade. 


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