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Let’s face it. We live in a global economy where capitalism is king and the bottom line to major corporations is cash. Corporations, especially major corporations, have always had a fragile relationship with public opinion concerning their attention to social change. Rightfully so, many have missed the mark. Thankfully, there are a few companies that have invested in social capital and have embraced the “double bottom line” of social progress and financial profit. And to add a flair to how they do business and empower causes, they are utilizing social media tools to reach their goals. Here are 4 business doing good business, while doing the business of “good”.
Top group buying website, Groupon, joined forces with group action and fundraising platform, The Point (http://www.thepoint.com/) to form G-Team (http://www.groupon.com/g-team). Groupon followers can create fundraisers and campaigns using the powerful force of Groupon’s crowdsourcing model. They boast that every G-Team campaign can connect followers with enough people to accomplish goals that would seem insurmountable alone. One successful philanthropic fundraising campaign saw the G-Team collectively raise $1000 that encouraged a local bike cooperative fixed 100 broken, unused bike and donate them to disadvantaged youth. It’s refreshing to see that there is more to Groupon than half off Brazilian waxes and $25 for $50 worth of sushi.
Thanks to the revolutionary social blogging platform, Twitter, the world is more connected in wildly amazing ways. More has been accomplished within the parameters of 140 characters than could ever have been imagined. Hope140 (http://hope140.org/) is the non-profit arm Twitter launched as their “force for good”. Essential to their corporate mission to “make a lasting impact” and not simply make money, Hope140 has #hope4japan, International Literacy Day, and Help Haiti Now. Hope for the world is literally at everyone’s fingertips thanks to Twitter. Retweet please.
The soft drink is intrinsic to American culture and will never go out of style or out of business. So the Pepsi Refresh Project (http://www.refresheverything.com/) is a way to use that relationship not only to foster brand loyalty, but fund causes for social good. People can create fundraising ideas and leverage their networks on social media outlets to spread their message and mobilize support. In 2010, The Refresh Project, gave $20 million dollars in grant money. In 2011, they expect to receive another $70 million. Cold, carbonated cola never taste so sweet.
4. Best Buy
Full disclosure, I was a Best Buy employee while in college. Yes, the company discount was great, however the team environment was fun and engaging. Best Buy is one of the largest retailers of technology and entertainment brands in the world boasting $50 billion is sales annually. If you’ve ever visited a Best Buy, you know that most of customers are teenager who devour Beiber CD’s and Twilight DVD’s by the dozens. Best Buy understands the value of valuing this important group. So, they created @15 (https://www.at15.com/) to focus on giving voice to teens perspective and investing in supporting teen efforts to spark social change. The @15 website serves as a social network where teens can create profiles and utilize their YouTube page (http://www.youtube.com/BestBuyat15) to watch and shares their stories. To give a little perspective, as part of collective fundraising campaigns participating teens over the last two years have helped decide where over $2 million dollars are donated.
For these companies doing “good” business obviously has a double meaning. They and many others have shown us that it is possible to be profitable while advancing, supporting, and championing causes that spark social change. Business is good.