Tweeting for Good

Posted on

twitter_web

[tweetmeme] Social media’s rapid growth has been no secret to anyone here of late. In fact, within the last year, social media has seen a traffic increase of 62%…a trend that doesn’t look to slow down anytime soon. With growth, it has evolved in functionality as well. Starting out as a way to keep in touch with friends, it has blossomed into a unique and somewhat cost-efficient marketing tool for businesses. Even with no clear, tangible ROI, businesses haven’t shied away from jumping on the social media bandwagon.

So it’s apparent that social media, Twitter more specifically, is being used to drive more business for companies. In addition to increasing a profit margin, Twitter has also proven to be an effective tool to help better the world we live in.

How has this been accomplished in 140 characters or less?

Many individuals and/or organizations have used Twitter as a fundraising tool for various causes. Most recently, it has been used to fight cancer and fund more research. @Drew, cancer patient and creator of the website Blame Drew’s Cancer, recently put his Twitter username up for auction, donating all his proceeds to the Livestrong foundation for cancer research. The Price is Right host Drew Carey (@DrewonTV) made a large bid and challenged the Twitterverse to help him reach 1 million followers. In return he would donate $1 million to cancer research.

The companies MillerCoors and eBay also sponsored #beatcancer, a 24 hour experiment in social media attempting to draw the most tweets on a topic in that time period…ever. Donating one cent per hashtag, the effort set a Guiness World Record and effectively helped raise $70,000 towards cancer research.

Other socially responsible organizations have seen substantial amounts of exposure via Twitter. Most of these organizations, nonprofits nor social enterprise groups don’t have the cash to spend on traditional forms of marketing for their causes. They’ve seen success too. Most people want to feel like they are part of something good and a simple follow on Twitter is one way people are able to connect.

The exposure has helped these organizations receive support they normally would not have. Last Thanksgiving the group Epic Change hosted “Tweetsgiving,” a 48-hr fundraising effort for funds to help a school in Tanzania. The goal was to raise $10, 000. The result? $11,000. Over 98% of that money came from donors who had not previously supported their organization. This simple viral fundraising campaign has potential to have beneficial long term results, attracting hundreds of new donors that could potentially help in the future.

Including ourselves, several of our partner organizations have established presences on Twitter including @womensbean, @brightendeavors and @divinechocolate. With the help of followers, all these social enterprise groups hope to gain more support in order to change more lives. How are you tweeting for good?

Social Responsibility at the Motivation Show

Posted on
A Snapshot of the Helping Hand Rewards Booth
A Snapshot of the Helping Hand Rewards Booth

To most attendees, the Motivation Show saw a decrease in attendance and overall size. For us at Helping Hand Rewards, it was quite the opposite.

The HHR booth at last year’s Motivation Show displayed six partners in a 40×10 space. However, this year’s show saw nine partners all having their own individual displays shared in a 60×10 booth space.

It’s safe to say that we’ve grown a bit in a year.

The show was more than just an excuse to taste test Greyston Bakery’s brownies, WHOWomen’s fruitcake, Divine Chocolate’s samples and Women’s Bean Project’s chocolate covered coffee beans. With a larger megaphone this year, we were able to meet several new people and talk with them about social responsibility in our industry. It was great seeing how several show participants knew of some of our partner organizations and had even done some sort of business with them. Many other people we spoke with were also engaged with other organizations outside of ours that also worked towards some sort of social purpose or socially responsible goal.IMG_0113

The show also provided a great opportunity for representatives from all of our partner organizations to connect personally. Many of us had only made contact via email or Twitter, so three days of interaction at the show and at the HHR dinner on Tuesday night gave us all a chance to connect, share ideas, and genuinely enjoy the week!

All nine of our partner organizations all have different social purposes and missions. They all seek to fill a need in whatever capacity they are able to reach. However, the main underlying goal with all of our partner organizations (and HHR of course) is to do business in such a way that makes our world a better place to live in by helping others.

Social Enterprise: What is it?

Posted on

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMOxfW5bLK8]

The term “social enterprise” is becoming an ever popular buzz word in the world of social responsibility gurus and aspiring world changers.

What exactly is a social enterprise?

Many individuals group social enterprises in the same cluster as non-profit organizations. While it is true that many social enterprises operate under a non-profit status, many more are actually generating revenue. Social enterprises are becoming an increasingly popular business model and provide more financial flexibility for doing good than a traditional non-profit model.

So what separates a for-profit social enterprise from any other money making company?

One huge difference…and this may be a shocker…social entrepreneurs aren’t necessarily in it for the money. They design a business model to make profits but aren’t obligated to serve the interest of share holders or investors looking for a large ROI. Most social enterprise groups reinvest those profits into their business or into the community around them. For example, Helping Hand Rewards partners like Greyston Bakery, Bright Endeavors and The Enterprising Kitchen use the profits generated from their products to teach life skills training, job skills training, and help find more permanent employment situations for individuals in their programs.

In a nutshell, social enterprises are fulfilling a need. According to an article in the Telegraph:

 “Wherever there is a social or environmental need, social enterprises will be working on solutions- whether that’s saving the local village post office or shop, tackling global warming, combating homelessness or providing better health and social care services.”

For-profit social enterprises believe that being a competitive and profitable business is the best methodology for attaining socially responsible goals. What do you think?

Better Business With Social Responsibility

Posted on

CSR

To say that a corporation taking the initiative to become socially responsible is a “good idea” would be a solid understatement. Sure, giving back gives all of us a warm and fuzzy feeling all over, but what’s in it for the giver? True giving is generally done with the attitude (or at least should be) of not expecting anything in return. However, a company that gives back will reap many benefits in return.

What’s one major benefit in corporations engaging in social responsibility? Increased employee engagement. If a company is perceived by its employees to be socially responsible, the workers are more satisfied with where they work and ultimately become more committed to achieving success within the industry. What does it mean for these corporations? It means potential increased sales and profits as a result from having a more motivated workforce. This article describes changes in operating income for companies as a result of participation (or lack thereof) in corporate social responsibility. The results show that companies engaged in social responsibility saw an average of 19% increases in their operating budgets while companies that did not take an active “giving back” role saw an average of 33% losses in their operating budgets year to year.

If employees are more engaged as a result of social responsibility and that helps your company while you help others at the same time, what is there to think about?

Ben and Jerry’s: Socially Responsible Ice Cream

Posted on

Chocolate Fudge BrownieIt was announced this past week that Ben and Jerry’s will be adding operations down under and opening a new flagship Scoop Shop in Sydney Australia. This is good news for Australians who have posted Facebook groups demanding a supply of Ben and Jerry’s in their country. The arrival of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream also is welcome news to disadvataged youth living near the coming Scoop Shop in Sydney. Sticking to their traditional business model, Ben and Jerry’s plans to give back to the local community by partnering with Mission Australia to employ local disadvantaged youth in their flagship Scoop Shop.

This is not the only socially responsible partnership that Ben and Jerry’s is part of.

Greyston Bakery (a Helping Hands Rewards partner) has long been the producer of brownies used in Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavors such as Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Half Baked, and Dave’s Magic Brownies. Since 1988, the production of brownies used in their ice cream has helped several thousand lives turn around.

The mission of Greyston is to provide employment and support services to former homeless, low-income and disenfranchised people and their families. To hire and train those who otherwise might not ever find a job. Also to get them on the path out of poverty and on to self-sufficiency. So far this has worked well with over 2,000 lives a year being affected by the good coming out of the bakery. This idea has even captured the attention of national media, with the Today show featuring a news clip about Greyston Bakery.

The slogan of Greyston is simple yet powerful: “We don’t hire people to bake brownies. We bake brownies to hire people.”

What is your company doing for people?