Do you support social enterprises?
Probably the first one that jumps to mind is Toms Shoes. One for one. But there are many, many, many, many others. Yesterday I wrote about The Feed Projects and their bags and other items that support feeding the world’s hungry. Tom’s puts shoes on the feet of children worldwide that would otherwise be barefoot. But there are so many more out there – small little companies that were founded by people who envisioned a better world for all.
In reading up on the Feed Projects/Target partnership, this quote in the USA Today (March 11, 2013) caught my eye: “There’s no question that consumers globally expect companies to do more than just make money,” DaSilva says. “Companies are expected to support issues and be good citizens. That is the cost of doing business today.” That quote is by Alison DaSilva of Core Communications, a pubic relations company that helps businesses carry out cause-marketing and corporate social responsibility efforts, from a 2010 study done by Core.
They claim 81% of consumers want companies to give them a chance to buy a product that benefits a certain cause.
As a person with a social enterprise myself (Blanket Statements), I want people to be aware of what they are purchasing and who it is benefitting. Yes, The Feed Projects collaboration with Target will undoubtably benefit people people worldwide by the additional purchases, but it will also benefit Target – a large corporation who is looking at the appeal of cause based products to younger consumers aged 18-24 years old who overwhelmingly choose products over another based on whether or not they support a good cause. So it is a win-win on both sides here.
But bear in mind that there are social enterprises for almost every purchase you are looking to make. It may be easier to buy that item while you’re in the big box store, but that purchase is in a lot of cases mainly affecting that corporations bottom line. And what has that big box store done for you lately?That toothbrush you just bought? If you had visited Smile Squared your purchase of a toothbrush means another is donated to a child in need. A child who otherwise wouldn’t have a toothbrush or access to any dental care.
Rethink your purchases. Spend a few minutes and find a way to make your hard earned dollars spent go farther. A great resource is the Social Enterprise Database put together by Give to Get Jobs. There you can find thousands of companies – social enterprises, L3C’s, B-corporations, and other social businesses. You work hard for your money – make sure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck. And that doesn’t mean buying the cheapest items out there.
Do a bit of research – in many instances the items are of better quality, workmanship, and cost virtually the same – but do some much more good in the world. And purchasing items made in the USA means you are helping to get this country back on its feet.