How Social Entrepreneurship Can Benefit Businesses and the Communities They Serve

1. Seek out meaningful causes.
With the world in crisis, you shouldn’t have to look far to find a cause that has deep meaning for your team members. Your focus might even come from a personal experience, as it did for Glassybaby’s founder, Lee Rhodes.

Rhodes battled cancer three times and couldn’t help noticing that the people around her during chemotherapy were far less fortunate than she. They had to choose between the bare necessities and the treatments they desperately needed. Thus, Glassybaby, a distributor of exquisite, handblown glass votive candle holders, was born. Rhodes donates 10 percent of the company’s revenue—not simply profits, but raw purchases—to promote what she calls “hope and healing” through the white light fund. To date, Glassybaby has raised more than $7 million in support of causes that affect people, the earth, and animals.

2. Open a dialogue with the community to find places to collaborate.
When Working Nor Working, a real-time network for broadcasting creatives availability to businesses, decided to take its innovative mindset to the public, the company looked no further than the city where it’s headquartered, Los Angeles. Its initial social project is a relationship with VICE and the Mayor’s Office of Innovation, a partnership Working Not Working wants to foster and grow. The partnership’s goal? To use debate and discussion to make inroads on issues concerning the people of LA.

If you feel as deeply devoted to your surrounding community as Working Not Working, you can do likewise. Seek out the assistance of local leaders, and offer your help. The stronger you make the ecosystem where you work and live, the more likely you;ll be to attract talented, like-minded employees to join you. Better still, they’ll be more apt to stay on board because they’ll believe in your vision of the future.

3. Establish company-wide volunteering groups.
The act of volunteering with colleagues gives people a sense of purpose outside the workplace. At the same time, it adds positivity to the community. Plus, people who can enjoy serving others tend to be great leaders; that’s a fantastic quality you can hone to ensure your management team is service-oriented and powerful.

To show your support of volunteering, why not add it to the benefits of working with your organization? You can offer a specific number of volunteer days per year as a perk, allowing employees to choose which nonprofits and causes they want to support, as well as when it’s convenient for them to take off work to give back.

4. Be an inspiration by modeling social responsibility.
Thanks to the internet and social media, in particular, your brand can directly communicate with consumers. Rather than hide your social leanings, use these platforms to become an inspiration to the public. Post images, write blog posts and share experiences. The more human your brand becomes, the more likely you’ll be to build loyal customers.

Encourage this same type of online motivation among your team members by urging them to practice the art of spreading optimism and inspiration. You can also designate passionate colleagues to help share your brand’s voice, message and beliefs through your company’s corporate channels.

Being a leader in the social entrepreneurship space takes forethought and sincerity, but the time invested can deliver far-reaching payoffs. Not only will your enterprise be seen as an appealing place to work by top emerging talent, but you’ll also feel satisfied on an emotional level that you’re not just going to work: You’re honestly making a difference.

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