Picture this scene for a moment…
It’s 10am on a bright and busy Monday morning. You’re sitting down at your desk writing an email to one of your clients and suddenly you receive a new email notification.
You open your email inbox to find an email with a title saying, “thank you”.
Curiously, you open the email and realise it’s from John Smith, one of your new clients you just started working with less than a week ago.
As you scroll John’s email you see an attachment with a title saying, “thank you.”
Feeling somewhat puzzled, you open the attachment to see something that instantly creates a feeling of warmth inside you— a beautifully hand-written certificate saying, “thank you”, alongside a picture of a young and smiley African mother and her young child.
Then it goes on to say these words:
“Thank you for helping me solve one of my greatest business challenges last week. I want to thank you too.
The picture you see is Aswan and her daughter, Zahli. By you helping me, Aswan and Zahli have now been provided a safe home with healthy food and clean-drinking water.
Thank you for helping us make an impact to something truly great!
As you read this email, you sit back feeling bewildered.
You look around your office, dazed and confused, and begin to shake your head and smile softly, knowing that—just now—something amazing happened to two beautiful people for no apparent reason whatsoever…
Within moments, you stop what you are doing, and walk over to the window and stare outside into nothingness.
Thoughts bottle up inside your head, and you begin to question yourself and your business: “Can I be giving more? Is profits more important than impacts? Why did I get into business?”
You then quickly leave your office without telling a soul, as if your thoughts stirred up feelings of intense motivation.
You call your business partner and explain what just happened, and you cannot stop rambling about it.
After several minutes, your business partner suddenly stops you and says, “Wait wait wait. Why are you telling me this?” As you hear his words, you stop, pause and then respond with a soft but certain tonality: “We have the power to make a difference.”
(Image courtesy of One Child One Chance)
Incredible story isn’t it. By the way, it’s true.
Today, more and more small businesses are now realising they have the power to make a difference in the world through their businesses. Business is no longer just about profit, but can be used as a tool to support global causes for the greater good.
Social enterprise is rapidly evolving from a philanthropic niche to an integral part of the overall business strategy, and this shift presents unique opportunities for many companies big or small—both internally and externally.
As an example, a recent report by Nielsen Global Sustainability Report found that 43% of consumers suggest a company’s commitment to social value very heavily or heavily influenced their purchasing decisions.
And according to a another study conducted by Cone Communications in 2015, 90% of global consumers would change from brands they normally purchase from to one that is supporting causes for good—providing quality and price are similar.
A blog article written by Front Stream in 2013 suggests businesses benefit in several meaningful ways:
- Employee Engagement: Recruiting top-performing employees and keeping them happy is a priority of all thriving corporations. Charitable giving improves employee engagement by boosting productivity, ethical behaviour, gratitude to the organisation, and pride in their work.
- Morale: With employees more engaged in their work and more pleased with the corporate culture, their morale will naturally be higher. This leads to less time and productivity lost to “illness”, or extended breaks and lunches, as well as lower employee retention rates.
- Teamwork: This generally positive attitude in the workplace extends beyond just the rank-and-file employees. When a giving program brings together people from all levels of the organisation – from the C-level to the mail room – everyone feels like they are working together toward a common mission or purpose. This feeling of effective teamwork will positively influence other aspects of their work.
- Public Relations: The company’s philanthropic activity never goes unnoticed by the media. All charitable organisations and fund-raising events rely on the media to spread the word about their work, so any corporation having a large share in that work will be included in the heavy media coverage.
- Social Media: While some organisations are concerned about the potential backlash from negative comments on social media, a company involved in strategic corporate giving will be reaping the benefits of positive social media mentions and sharing. The impact of this kind of publicity cannot be overstated.
- Reputation: While it is less tangible than PR or social media coverage, there is no denying the fact that many consumers make buying decisions based as much on how they feel about a company as on how they feel about a product.
- Profit: All of the above leads eventually to greater profit as positive public perception and social media sentiment influences branding, and eventually, purchasing.
(Image Courtesy of Daily Petition)
“…FIND A HIGHER PURPOSE BY MAKING ACTS OF GIVING PART OF WHAT YOU DO EVERY DAY.” – B1G1
While giving $500 to our favourite charity or volunteering our time to help at a homeless shelter will make us feel great and provide an excellent example to others in our community, there is a practical limit to the long-term benefits and the social impact we can all personally have on our community through giving.
But when hundreds or thousands of people get together and coordinate their giving, tremendous and lasting benefits can be achieved.
Every business has the power to incorporate a social giving strategy. It’s whether we choose to or not that makes the difference. But at the same time, without clear direction and resources, businesses can feel lost about what they should do.
Organisations like B1G1 make our giving simple, convenient and impactful.
United Nations recently stated: “On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit — officially came into force. Over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilise efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.”
(Image courtesy of B1G1)
Having a purpose-driven business gives us, and our team a meaning—a purpose to support something that’s far bigger than ourselves, and that is extremely powerful when working collectively.
The fruits that come from being aligned to a social purpose is ten-fold.
We simply cannot put words to how we feel when we provide children, families (and animals) access to clean-drinking water, education, food, safe housing, electricity, clothing and business opportunities.
Let me ask this question…
How would you feel if you knew you could transform lives from all over the world just by doing everyday business activities such as writing emails, drinking coffee, having meetings with your clients etc?
That’s Purpose—Real purpose. We ultimately have the power to change the world through our business.
The question is…
Why wouldn’t you?
To conclude this article, Daniel Flynn, Co-Founder and Managing Director of “Thank You.” products, said it perfectly: “If you’re not making a huge impact in the world, why would you be in business?”