The power that businesses have over the average consumer is something that’s been highlighted in media time and time again. However, most of that coverage tends to be negative, focusing on those who use their monopoly for greed. Despite the coverage, there are a lot of businesses that use the resources and reach at their disposal to do a lot of good in the world. In fact, nowadays, consumers put a lot of stock in how a business fulfills its corporate social responsibility. In this article, we’ll look at how you could use your business as a force for good. We’ll also look at how it could help your business, too.
A lot of smaller businesses might think they would miss out on the opportunity to give back because they don’t have the scale of others. However, that’s not true by any account. Regardless of how small a business might be, they have the ability to help the community around them. It might be as simple as giving time for your team to visit soup kitchens and help out. Or to sit on public committees, helping your area develop. There are few companies who couldn’t, at the very least, do their best to promote local causes and efforts through their own marketing reach. If you run a business that has some attention, you should be using it to more than just your own ends.
Some of the biggest causes concerning the world right now are those related to health. You can find health-related charities on a regional, national and worldwide basis just about everywhere. One of the most common kinds of health charities is those that deal with the impact that cancer has in all societies. Charities like Stand Up 2 Cancer partner with lots of businesses all over the world. This money goes not only to supporting survivors and cancer patients. It also contributes towards the ongoing research that will one day help us find a cure. Of course, there are a lot more kinds of health issues than just cancer. Take a look in your local area and see which ones you could reach out to.
One that isn’t covered by as many charities is the public need for better security regarding their details. Consumers will hand over a lot of data to corporations over the course of a lifetime. Which means there is plenty of opportunity for cases of fraud and identity theft to occur. One cause that any ecommerce business should adopt is that of data protection and security. Not only is fraud and data theft a severe risk to any of your customers. It’s also your legal obligation to do everything you can to ensure that data is safe. This means using all the security software you can. And training your employees how to be careful in preventing unauthorized access.
The safety and health of the world at large are another topic that has been getting a lot more attention over the past few years. This trend is set to continue as we are likely to see more of the devastating effects we have had on our planet. From climate change to the extinction of whole species. There are a lot of different ways you can show your business’s focus on the environment. You can promote a greener work environment and green manufacturing methods. You can also do something like Haitham Alaini, who uses his reach and assets as an entrepreneur to protect the native wildlife of his home. We all have natural surroundings and local species in need to protecting. See if you might be able emulate his actions in your own environment.
As much as we take advantage of our environment, we have also seen corporations take advantage of plenty of people. Many will use their resources and connections as leverage. Ensuring they get better deals at the cost of those who provide them with materials they use for their productions. The biggest movement, worldwide, that we have seen against these practices is the Fairtrade movement. You only need to look at the prevalence of the Fairtrade logo to see how successful that campaign has been. Businesses that can wear that label are guaranteed to see a more positive reception from the public because of it. Those that don’t are often treated with a lot more skepticism instead.
Poverty is still a worldwide problem. We might live in a system that gives the potential of access to wealth to many. Yet still, many more go under the radar and end up living in the most precarious of situations. Abroad, it can be even worse when people aren’t even guaranteed access to the most basic elements of survival. Poverty is a challenge in all societies. It’s not a challenge that can be fixed by just giving money. That said, the ability of businesses to contribute can be a significant help. A lot of businesses will run a promotion on a particular product. They will then split the profit, donating a portion to causes like Give Directly. That way, you can connect the support of your business directly to the support of those in need.
Water & sanitation
One of the hallmarks of some of the areas in the world where poverty hits hardest is the lack of clean drinking water. We take it as a right, but it is a privilege and one that is absent in many places in the world. There are a lot of clean drinking and sanitation projects that businesses can get involved in. A business can contribute more than just money to these efforts, as well. For example, some will sponsor employees to join in the process of providing clean water. You might even consider making a case study of an employee’s journey to help bring even more visibility to the cause. Of course, visibility for the cause also means visibility for your business.
One of the biggest causes of poverty, domestically and worldwide, is education. Or rather, the lack of education that many children and adults will face in their life. There are causes that you can support that will give children access to books and tech that can help teach them valuable skills. From literacy to coding. Then there are the education opportunities that your business is able to contribute directly to. A lot of companies will, for instance, reimburse the tuition of their employees, directly helping their own. Others will offer a position in their company as a step in the education of a student. Education is one of the elements of society that your business should definitely be helping on some scale.
After education comes opportunity. There are some people who will just find it harder to get that opportunity of making money, no matter how much they want it. Again, you can help locally by taking on interns through state programs that can help pay them. You can also look to areas where almost no opportunity exists at all. Take, for example, the One Acre Fund. This is a fund that sets up a funding base for farmers, helping them to purchase and begin to use their own land to sustain themselves. The One Acre Fund attests that over 80% of people who receive that startup funding go on to become self-sustaining in the end.
You might be asking yourself why we (and society) seem to put the onus on business leaders. There are a few reasons in particular. For one, it’s about resources. Successful entrepreneurs have the capacity to spare more towards good causes than the average person. This is especially true because the average person spends a lot of their waking hours working for those entrepreneurs. That’s why smart businesses won’t just contribute resources, but some of the time they’re paying their employees as well. Give your team the positive benefit of contributing socially under your business’s name. It’s not just good to be a part of it because you have more ability than most. It can be a tremendous help to your business.
First, you need to consider the fact that branding is a driving force in business nowadays. What better tool could you use for your branding than showing your business as responsible and conscientious? Up to 90% of people say they would boycott businesses that have questionable ethics. Remove all doubt by making your ethics in improving the world a core part of your marketing. Knowing that they’re part of a business that cares is also going to be a significant boost to the morale and loyalty of your staff.
There’s no reason to keep waiting. Getting your business involved with a cause not only helps that cause. It builds loyalty and helps you establish a brand image that marketing can’t buy. It can even result in you winning more customers over and turning them into loyal brand ambassadors. Look at the opportunities available to you and see what kind of change you can start to make today.