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.
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.
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?
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?
It 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.