Being a business owner is about more than just turning a profit; as a leader in your community, you have the chance to make a real impact on those around you. Keep reading to find out how to support the causes you care about through your company.
According to Forbes, over 88 percent of consumers believe businesses have a responsibility to improve society and the environment as well as work towards their business goals. Meanwhile, 70 percent of millennials say they’re willing to spend more on brands supporting noble causes (Omnicom Group's Cone Communications).
While some business owners mistakenly believe spending time and money advancing social movements will limit their profit margins, it’s clear many consumers actively support values-driven companies implementing ethical practices.
How to support the causes you care about
For many people, the idea of supporting causes brings up images of fundraising events and charitable donations, but there are many ways you can spark change through small, everyday actions. And you don’t need to have generated a profit to get started.
Here are some of the simplest and most effective ways to make a difference if you’re wondering how to practise what you preach.
Donating money or products
- Donate a fixed sum or a percentage of your profits to charity - you could give a one-off payment, make a regular donation or run a scheme for a set amount of time
- Launch a ‘buy-one-give-one’ initiative - donate one product to charity for every item you sell to a customer
- Give away any unsold stock to charities, food banks or homeless shelters - not only will this help local people, but it will also stop waste going to landfill
- Support an individual - paying for someone to complete their education, for example, will make a real difference to them and give you a clear sense of your achievement as they progress
- Provide specific resources for a local organisation - social clubs and charities often ask for particular products, such as education or sports equipment, technology or medicine, and you may be able to help
If you want top talent, it’s not money people want; it’s meaning. We need to inspire the next generation if we are to keep up with the world. Show that entrepreneurship is about imagination and community - not greed and profit.
—Jeni Britton Bauer, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams Founder
- Provide your products or services for free - you could use your position or expertise to help disadvantaged people in the local community access resources they can’t afford
- Introduce volunteering initiatives - give your employees paid time off throughout the year to work at local organisations or charities
- Take part in local events - setting up a stand, providing free samples or donating competition prizes, for example, is a great way to sponsor an event while boosting your business’s brand awareness
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- Organise a fundraising event - actively create the opportunity to generate capital by setting up a fundraising initiative; it could be big or small, in-house or community-focussed, simple or elaborate.
- Document your efforts - blogging about your latest initiatives, posting photos on social media and dedicating a webpage to charity partners will help you increase the impact of your work and boost your reputation
If a company has a frustration point for the community, why not bring that community into work with company employees to problem-solve? The ideas that arise may blow your mind. Social engagement may be the thing that saves your company’s life!
—Ari Horie, Women’s Startup Lab Founder and CEO
- Review your recruitment process - is your selection strategy as inclusive as it could be, and supportive of those in minority groups?
- Connect with disadvantaged workers - employing or collaborating with people who have experienced personal struggles, such as prejudice, abuse, illness or poverty, will give you greater insight into societal issues and how to tackle them
- Reach out to marginalised groups - try networking with people from across the various age, gender, disability and racial groups to learn more about how to support important causes as a business owner
- Create a mentorship programme - if there’s a particular societal group you’d like to support, why not roll out a dedicated scheme to help them access jobs and resources?
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- Being a Successful Franchisee Means Adopting an Entrepreneur Mindset
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Building a cause-focused community
- Gather like-minded people - create a community of business partners, suppliers, ambassadors and employees who can work together to support the causes you care about
- Identify community-oriented suppliers - if you’re going to give money to suppliers, you may as well support values-driven businesses prioritising sustainability, local collaborations, inclusivity or other important causes
- Connect people - use your contacts as a business owner to put others in touch with those who could help them, whether they’re employees, funding partners, charity ambassadors or celebrity influencers
- Support employee efforts - identify your workers’ altruistic acts, from fostering animals to volunteering, and donate to their chosen cause or shine a light on their work in your blog or social media pages
Talk as a team about your company’s values and how they intersect with present-day issues and the macro environment… Reach out to organisations that are tackling these issues. Find out if there’s anything that can be done together.
—Eunice Byun, Material Kitchen Co-founder and CEO
Making changes to your workspace
- Build a more sustainable business - make small changes to be more environmentally friendly; see our articles, 25 Sustainability Tips and Franchisor Tips: How to Create a More Sustainable Business
- Upgrade your outdoor space - if you have the luxury of a garden, patio or terrace, you can support employee wellbeing and the local wildlife by making sure it’s welcoming for both humans and animals
Continue your learning journey
You can find many more informative guides on running your own business here at Point Franchise. Our articles are bursting with fresh ideas on everything from recruitment and accounting to marketing and business growth, with a particular focus on the franchise industry.
To discover more about the latest developments in the franchising world, see our daily news articles, accessible from the main menu.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©