A Shocking Strategy Behind Social Entrepreneurship

I had the opportunity yesterday to attend a wonderful lecture at the New York Junior League. Entrepreneur Nada Jones gave some advice for setting out on an entrepreneurial journey. Her advice was sound, but it was what she said about social entrepreneurship that really resonated with me.

It seems to be a term that I'm hearing everywhere nowadays. I mean who wouldn't want their business to give back? And who wouldn't want to buy from a brand who supports a larger initiative?

I could go on a on about the benefits of becoming a social entrepreneur in terms of ethics and marketing, but Nada said something about how it could tie into accountability that I thought was just brilliant.

She mentioned that having your start-up tied to a social initiative is a great way to stay MOTIVATED and ACCOUNTABLE through your rough patches.

Think about it, it's no longer just about you and your business. By partnering with an organization you now have other people counting on you and your ability to succeed!

It makes complete sense doesn't it? I know that one of the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs face is accountability. With no boss or anyone to answer to it's easy to procrastinate and avoid deadlines. But by committing to contribute to an organization, you have a much deeper sense of motivation and accountability to be hitting your goals.

There is also something way more powerful about the motivation behind creating a greater good, than just creating good margins.

So even if you've been skeptical in the past, maybe now is the time to think about a social responsibility partnership for your business (even if it is just in pursuit of your own productivity).

Would you consider partnering your brand with a social cause?

Please comment below and share with me why, or why not.

I'll be personally reviewing all responses.

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  1. Jeannine says:

    My entire brand is a social brand. I have been working with a number of organizations around the world for many years now. Finally, I feel so happy to be able to present their stories to the world through my designs and products. You also make a really true point when you speak of accountability. I never really thought of it that way. Would like to know more about what you learned.

    Reply to this Comment
    • Melanie Duncan says:

      That is so wonderful!

      Reply to this Comment
  2. Donna Clements says:

    I’ve begun “Partying with a Purpose,” a program that Mary Kay, Inc. suggested a couple of years ago. This is what I do: I offer the hostess $100 worth of Mary Kay products for $35 AND $25 to go to her favorite local non-profit organization. She has to have a qualified party to receive these benefits. The guests each get 5% off their orders if they contribute to the cause. We recently did a P w/P for a local food bank, & donated 5 bags of nonperishable food plus the $25 from me. It felt awesome! I’m now in contact with our local Women’s Crisis Support Team and their Circle of Friends to do the same for their efforts to fight domestic and sexual violence.
    Partnering with local non-profits (being socially responsible) is a great motivator!

    Reply to this Comment
    • Melanie Duncan says:

      That is so great! Good for you!

      Reply to this Comment
    • Virginia says:

      Hi Donna,
      I’m with a different company, but I really love this “Party w/Purpose”. How do you get your foot in the door of the non-profit in order to set up the partnering concept?

      Reply to this Comment
  3. Sandra Nakashima says:

    I do this all the time in Humboldt County, CA. I am a Chocolatier and have a small wholesale business. We help many non-profit groups in our area. Sometime we even have special holiday sales where our on-line customers, can pick from a list of non-profit groups then we donate part of the sale to the non-profit they choose. We also do private labeling of our bars to non-profits groups. We try to help groups whenever we can.

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    • Melanie Duncan says:

      How wonderful!

      Reply to this Comment
  4. Virginia says:

    Being accountable to something so worthwhile would definitely help me to stay focused.

    Great post…would like to learn more.

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  5. Nancy says:

    We are founders of “Smile Uganda” Uganda E. Africa. We pour our hearts, money and bodies into schools, orphanages, working with start up businesses, entrepreneurship, business conferences…

    Reply to this Comment
  6. david says:

    I agree about being socially responsible. I believe in picking a cause and doing something to support it. I have been fortunate at a photographer I have donated my time and product for many non profits. I have always put my talent where it can help a cause.

    I am now helping non profits with their social media to help promote their goals.

    Reply to this Comment
    • Melanie Duncan says:

      Love this! What a great way to give back by offering your services!

      Reply to this Comment
  7. yusi says:

    Right from the start I labeled one of my best-sellers “Nadia Soap = Giver Soap”, I decided to donate a fixed amount of money from this soap’s price and donate it to a project here in Egypt ” Al Ilm Kowa” which literally mean “Education is Power”. 40% are the number of illiterate people under the age of 45 in Egypt. This donation goes to buying pens/pencils, books+copy books, white boards and white boards’ markers. I just can’t explain and describe how people get excited about buying this soap just to support a cause. It is also fulfilling to post photos of the needed equipment (bought using the donation) while handing them to the NGO responsible to this project.
    I was really moved and influenced by a book I’ve read “Start Something That Matters”. Having/starting a social enterprise is the most rewarding experience you, as a business owner, could give to yourself.

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  8. Stephanie Bostic says:

    I think all companies should partner with social causes. It is important to help in any way you possibly can.

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  9. Vernetta F. says:

    I have several organizations I am supporting this year. I think it’s great to give back but the kids see my company as a possibility for their future. Meaning they see there are other careers out there for them.

    Reply to this Comment
  10. Terrie says:

    Hi ~ I sort of fell into doing just this. I have been designing various items through out the 12 years I have been in business. It was when I started joining facebook groups that it became apparent that I should be doing something for my causes. Giving back and joining with them to help all the ones effected by these illnesses. I also always donated one of my higher end pieces to a charity in the area, to give back.

    I started making items first to sell to the people in the groups and because they (most of them anyway) can not work, have little money to buy items to show their awareness for their illness; I have given them a big discount, but plan to sell for the advancement of research in those diseases, Lupus, Breast Cancer, Fibromyaligia and Heart Disease.

    I do find my motivation higher than before and knowing more people like myself also helps in the motivation. To help all my new friends is just about the best of all.http://tevdesign.etsy.com and http://BlissandPassions.etsy.com

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  11. Linda Miller says:

    I think it is a great idea to be affliated with a greater cause than yourself. I sew for dressagirlaroundtheworld.com which takes pillowcases and repurposes them into dresses for girls in under-
    priviledged countries like Uganda. My goal is to sew more dresses and to go distribute them personally by 2013.

    Reply to this Comment
  12. Carol Kempler Lapidus Carlson says:

    I never gave a thought to partner my business with a charitable organization. It is still getting off the ground and am still trying to get it recognized. However, personally, I support the Humane Society of the US, since animal cruelty is a great problem and it is a hard war in which to make headway. When my business starts to grow to the point that I can afford it, I certainly will seriously consider partnering with an organization that will give aid to victims of abuse! Thank you for bringing this subject to my attention!

    Reply to this Comment
  13. Teri says:

    In our Beta phase in 2011 MyPerfectGift donated over $10,000 to worthy causes.

    We want to partner with committed organizations as we move forward with our launch. Your thoughts would be appreciated.

    Thanks, Teri

    Reply to this Comment
  14. Binni says:

    I just started my business, and have been thinking about this concept for a long time now, I never knew that this is so popular amongst other businesses. For someone who is just starting out, how do you go about approaching a non-profit to partner with you? Any tips or suggestions? Thanks

    Reply to this Comment
  15. Joni LeBaron says:

    I love this idea I have already been thinking about doing it, I would have to donate to children (orphans and hungry kids), I have such a weak spot for them, I guess I could not imagine mine or any other kids I love to have to starve, I am so new in my business only 2 months and am clueless as to how to go about getting it set up..
    Great post, thank YOu

    Reply to this Comment
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