You’ll Fall in Love with These Valentine’s Ideas

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Brighten up your promotional products or awards assortment with our Valentine’s Day collection. All products are socially responsible, Green +™, and sure to win hearts.

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Awash in Love Gift Set
Enjoy the gentle, warm scents of a sampling of four 3 oz. bundles of fair trade Himalayan soaking salts. Included scents:Lavender Milk, Orange Bergamot, Vanilla Honey, and Eucalyptus Leaf. Made in USA.

Love Lights Gift Set
Sit back and enjoy the soft glow of the Love Lights Gift Set. This Valentine Collection includes four 3 oz. eco-friendly soy votive scents: Lavender Milk, Orange Bergamot, Vanilla Honey, and Eucalyptus Leaf. Made in USA.

Endless Love Bowl
Express your sentiments with this recycled 11” love bowl. Handmade by the artisans at a fair trade workshop in India using recycled bicycle tire spokes. Made in India.

Bike Chain Cuff Links
Add a bit of whimsy to your gentleman’s attire with these handsome cuff links made from upcycled links of bicycle chain. Links are chrome-plated iron and are presented in a velvet gift box. Made in India.

 

For more information, please email info@helpinghandpartners.com.

 

 

 

What is CSR?

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Corporate Social Responsibility—you’ve heard this term a lot lately. Businesses promote themselves as being socially responsible because it’s a good for society. But, it’s also good for business. Consumers are not only buying products that are socially responsible, they are choosing to do business with companies that are socially responsible. Studies show that corporate social responsibility:

  • Builds brand loyalty
  • Increases sales and profits
  • Attracts investors
  • Attracts and motivates talent
  • Improves employee retention
  • Gives you and your customer a competitive edge

So, selling and using products that promote corporate social responsibility is—simply put—smart. One way you can be socially responsible is to promote, purchase, and use products made by social enterprises and fair trade organizations that manufacture goods for the sole purpose of funding their social programming. Helping Hand Partners partners with a variety of social enterprises and fair trade organizations that manufacture a wide array of unique, high-quality products including jewelry, bath products, housewares, and food. Here are just a few ways to use our socially responsible products and make a difference at the same time:

  • Promotional Products
  • Customer and employee loyalty programs
  • Rewards & recognition
  • Sales meetings
  • Incentive travel
  • Room gifts and Welcome Bags
  • Weddings & Special events
  • Donor “Thank You” gifts
  • Retail
  • Corporate Inventory

It takes so little to make a big impression and an even bigger difference. Build your brand with corporate social responsibility.

Our NEWEST Partnerships!

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We are so excited to announce our two newest partnerships! We now offer handcrafted precious metal jewelry from the Nepal and India based organization, Relevée, and beautiful, distinctive home décor items from the Tanzania based organization, WomenCraft.

Relevée

Relevee logoRelevée, meaning ‘to rise up’ in French, is a non-profit organization that gives 100% of its proceeds to Made By Survivors, a charity that helps women and girls get free from exploitation and slavery. Their jewelry is designed and fabricated by vulnerable women overcoming severe human rights abuses such as human trafficking and child marriage in India and Nepal. Relevée provides a safe and loving place for rescued survivors to heal and rebuild their lives with shelter, education, job training, and employment programs.

Here are a couple of products we’re offering from the Relevée jewelry collection.

Gold Plated Bright Futures Earrings

Gold Plated Bright Futures Earrings
These free-spirited hammered earrings, are plated in 22 karat gold, hung on vermeil (sterling silver plated in gold) ear wires, and inspired by a deconstructed bullseye. Measures 2.2″ long exclusive of ear wires. Relevée is all about bright futures—for their artisans, their artisans’ children, and for women everywhere. They believe education and employment are necessary tools for hitting that target. Socially Responsible, Fair Trade.

Bright Futures NecklaceBright Futures Necklace
This dramatic statement necklace is inspired by a deconstructed bullseye, plated in 22 karat gold and featuring hand-hammered discs, plated in 22 karat go, on a 17.5″ handmade loop chain. At Relevée, we are all about bright futures – for our artisans and their children, for our customers, and for women everywhere. We believe education and employment are necessary tools for hitting that target. This necklace is artisanally crafted and ethically made to remind you to always shoot for your dreams. Socially Responsible, Fair Trade.

WomenCraft

WomenCraft LogoWomenCraft is a community-driven social enterprise operating from one of the poorest areas of the world, Ngara, Tanzania. WomenCraft creates local employment opportunities by bringing rural women together, facilitating their growth, and connecting their artistry to the global marketplace. Through WomenCraft, 300+ rural East African women express their culture and use their talents by weaving home décor products that are beautiful and functional. With the skills gained and income earned, WomenCraft members can now send their children to school, grow nutritious food, and start micro-enterprises. They create a brighter future for their families and inspire the world around them.

Here are a couple of products we’re offering from the WomenCraft home collection.

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Maua Fruit Bowl
The maua design, which means “flower” in Swahili, was inspired by the flower design seen on traditional Hangaza bowls. This bowl can function as a centerpiece on a dining room table, be hung on your wall for decoration, or placed in a bedroom or bathroom to help you stay organized. Available in Sky Blue, Jungle Green, and Safari Red. Socially Responsible, Fair Trade, Green.

WC-MKATE-SKYMkate Handled Basket – Set of 3
This bread basket set is a unique and functional addition to any dining room table or kitchen. Use it for storing your breakfast pastries, cookies, or warm dinner rolls. Available in Sky Blue, Jungle Green, and Safari Red. Comes with one small, one medium, and one large basket. Socially Responsible, Fair Trade, Green.

Handmade in the USA

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In honor of the July 4th holiday, we’ve chosen a selection of our Handmade in the USA products that we think you’ll love! These Green+™ items are smart choices that help your company enhance its corporate social responsibility footprint and encourage recipients to celebrate all that our great country represents. There’s no better way to celebrate the birth of our nation than with 4th of July promotions and incentives!

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Mahogany Octagon 12″ Quartz Clock

This elegant mahogany octagon hardwood clock features a white dial with Roman numerals and glass crystal with bezel. The Chicago Lighthouse is a non-profit agency committed to helping the blind and visually impaired. Fair Wage, Green, Made in the USA. Retail: $74.45

 

BE-2VOTVotive Gift Set Duo

Our votive gift set is like scented fireworks for your home. Each gift set contains two glass votive soy candles in Vanilla Honey and Aloe Lily. Fair Wage, Green, Made in the USA. Retail: $13.00

RX-BOTTLEBottle Opener

Sure to become the most useful tool in your home. Made in Chicago from stainless steel and reclaimed lumber destined for the landfill. Fair Wage, Green, Made in the USA. Retail: $25.00

 

GB-BROWN8Gourmet 8-Piece Brownie Box

Pack eight times the happiness with this 8-piece box of gourmet brownies.  Choose from Brown Sugar Blondie, Chocolate Fudge, Walnut Fudge, or Assorted. Fair Wage, Made in the USA. Retail: $25.00

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Jam Trio

Three favorite preserves in one fabulous gift assortment. A small wooden box arrives with blueberry, strawberry, and red raspberry preserves. Fair Wage, Made in the USA. Retail: $25.00

Introducing Our New Partners

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New Partners Email GraphicWe are so proud to announce our two new partnerships with the Bangladesh based organization, Motif Ltd., and the USA based organization, Ūsful Glassworks. These exciting collaborations allow us to support the good they’re doing in the world—providing sustainable futures to those who need a little help—by promoting their exceptional products. Let us introduce you to them:

Motif Ltd.

motif_logo_squareMotif is a fair trade organization that generates and fulfills deep hope and sustainable livelihoods for Bangladeshi women and men. Motif works directly with 20 to 100 artisans at any given time, while touching the lives of many more family and community members. Women are given a ‘safe place’ where they earn a good wage with integrity and respect. Whether inspired by the local traditions and materials of Bangladesh or custom designed, all Motif products are handmade from recycled, eco-friendly materials.

Here are a couple of products we’re offering from the Motif jute collection:

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Jute Shopping Bag
Handmade from jute and cotton net weave, this super-size bag is lightweight, strong, and stylish. Features an outer pocket for everything eco-friendly. Straps measure 21″. Bag measures 14.5″H x 15″W x 5″D. Socially Responsible, Fair Trade, Green.

 

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Jute Foldaway Grocery Bag
This strong, lightweight, eco-friendly foldaway bag is made from jute and cotton, and is a statement of all things good for your groceries. Pouch measures 5.5″ square. Bag measures 14″H x 13″W x 6″D. Socially Responsible, Fair Trade, Green. 

 

Ūsful Glassworks

UsfulLogoPrimaryŪsful Glassworks is a USA based nonprofit organization out of Boise, Idaho that produces repurposed glassware from empty wine, liquor, beer, and soda bottles. Ūsful’s mission is to help those with job barriers feel useful again by creating environmentally friendly products while building proficiency in workplace ethics, production operations and other vocational skills. Their job-training participants include offenders, refugees, homeless, at-risk youth, veterans, those on public assistance, and low-income seniors.

Here are a couple of products we’re offering from the Ūsful glassware collection:

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Tumbler Glass Gift Set of 4, 12 oz.
This four pack of recycled wine bottle glasses is a terrific conversation piece at any gathering. Made from 750ml wine bottles, these tumbler-sized glasses come in Clear, Green, Olive, Amber, and Variety Pack. Great for serving water, wine, juice, or beer. Dishwasher and microwave safe. Socially Responsible, Fair Wage, Green, Made in the USA. 

 

UG-CARSET-GRNWine Bottle Carafe Set
This carafe set is an elegant gift for anyone on your list! Made from Italian glass, this set includes four 10 oz. glasses wine bottle glasses and a beautiful matching decanter. All five pieces are made from recycled 750 ml wine bottles. Available in Clear, Green, and Olive. Socially Responsible, Fair Wage, Green, Made in the USA.

Trust Building With CSR

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In times where many companies are losing trust with consumers due to either poor business ethics or requesting bailouts, there has been a greater emphasis on that “triple bottom line.” Assuming that companies will automatically regain trust when things turn around is flawed logic at this point in time. Many organizations are looking to regain the trust of their customers in the lean times so when business prospers again, it will reap even greater dividends. How are these companies re-gaining trust?

Social responsibility.

Corporate social responsiblity has been a nearly overused buzzword in the business world. Just type #csr into a Twitter search and see how many results pop up. Companies are looking beyond just their end results and seeing how their business practices will help those around them. For many companies, these efforts take shape in the form of

sustainability practices – how to reduce their carbon footprint in their day to day operations. For example, Starbucks took their initiative in reducing paper waste by offering free coffee to individuals who brought in re-usable coffee mugs.

Some brands are taking CSR beyond the realm of environmental issues. One of the largest brands in the world, Proctor and Gamble, have extremely diversified CSR efforts, ranging from providing clean water in Africa to providing assistance and disaster relief to other parts of the globe. This is obviously a costly venture for P&G along with other brands who participate in similar undertakings. So why invest in it?

Some would argue that these brands have a “with great power comes great responsibility” mindset. In a way, that could very well be true. These companys could have people of high integrity at the helm. There is also another purpose however. Companies who are perceived to be using their resources for good tend to be trusted more than other brands. Consumers are more likely to do business with brands they trust than brands they are either indifferent about or don’t trust. So overall, these socially responsible investments will not only help the world but could also have a positive effect on the company’s bottom line. This technique is not only used to build trust of consumers but to build trust among its employees and improve engagement and employee retention.

What brands do you see using CSR as trust building tools?

Does Sustainability Require the Green Police?

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Many corporations are taking the initiative to become more sustainable with their business practices. The commercial above illustrates an entire law enforcement agency making sure EVERYONE took sustainable living seriously. Is enforcement really necessary though?

With your efforts going towards being green or being more socially conscious as a business, your efforts should go more to rewarding those employees for positive steps in that direction, rather than punishment (as seen above). People respond better to positive reinforcement and will more likely change their behavior based on a positive reward stimulus than a negative one based on consequences.

Rewarding your employees with a socially responsible gift is also a good way to promote social responsibility within your organization. Using “green” products or products that help promote a social cause are great morale boosters for a job well done.

People are more motivated by positive enforcers rather than fear or punishment. How are you motivating your employees in your socially responsible edeavors?

Michelle’s Story: Women’s Bean Project

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As seen in earlier posts, the true stories of the people involved with our partner organizations reminds us why we make the effort to do business with these social enterprises. The following story is from Michelle, a woman who was able to make a positive turnaround in her life with help from Women’s Bean Project, one of our partner groups.

Michelle’s Story

I lost my mom when I was 17. I managed to at least graduate from high school living on my own. But my older brother introduced me to drugs. I was in and out of jail starting at 18 because of criminal acts and abusive relationships. For 16 years I felt alone. I was distant from my family because of my drug use.

I was married in 2004. My husband had melanoma cancer and it was his dying wish to be married. We were only married 3 months when he died. Other than losing my mother that was the most painful thing I had ever been through. After he passed away, I was working as a personal care provider but that wasn’t enough money to pay the bills. So I started selling crack cocaine. In 2005 I was arrested and went back to jail.

A year ago, I completed probation. I never really had figured out what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t have any Michellegoals. I became pregnant with my first child. I was 37. I decided I needed to be a mother and to find a career that would support me and my son. I didn’t want to be a mother on welfare.

My son was 3 weeks old when I applied for the Bean Project in February of 2008. They called me in July to come in for an interview. I finally figured out that there was a chance for me to have work skills and a goal for long term employment.

After the interview I was on pins and needles. I didn’t wait to be called, I called the Bean Project the next day! I was so excited when they said, yes you are hired. I hadn’t worked for 3 years.

I came and was willing to learn all the skills and the production line because I was so eager to have a job. I’ve learned you have to be organized in your life. You have to have a schedule and you have to be compatible. The Women’s Bean Project is a wonderful opportunity for women to learn skills, stability and flexibility. I feel extremely lucky to be a part of the program.

When I leave the Bean Project, I would like to pursue a career in the grocery business. I worked at King Soopers years ago and had a great experience. I would also like to get my CNA license because I have a passion for helping people. And may some day get a CDL and drive a truck.

My family is back in my life. My sister is more accepting of me now that I am clean and sober. And of course they love my son. I want to thank my coworkers here, the staff and the organization. I wish we could open a bigger facility for more women to have an opportunity to be a part of Women’s Bean Project and gain all of the knowledge and skills that I have been able to receive.

I thank the Women’s Bean Project for giving me an opportunity!

(This story, along with others, can also be found at our home website. Check it out here!)