It’s an age-old question: Can companies both make a profit and make a difference?
The truth is, we already have an answer. Today, thousands of companies around the world donate to a wide variety of charities. Of course, their reasons for donating vary, but the unifying factor is that every year, businesses set aside a certain amount of their profits in order to support various causes that matter to them.
How Businesses Have Upped Their Bottom Line
More good news: Companies that pursue a two-tiered goal of making profits and supporting causes have actually expanded their bottom line. Or to put it another way, they have added a second and in some cases even a third bottom line to their overall efforts. In fact, such an approach has become the norm for so many businesses that it’s second nature for them to blend earning with giving.
This particular outlook is fueled by the belief that what is good for the community is good for their business. This is true even if there is no direct link between the causes the business supports and how exactly the company earns its profits. In other words, the supporting of causes isn’t tacked-on; it’s actually a central part of the business’s functioning and identity.
The approach takes note of the business’s accounting practices, as well as its overhead, products and services, and any additional expenditures so that the profits can support the social obligations. Extra planning is called for, but the end results – socially and financially – are worth it.
How True Social Change is Made
Note that it takes more than just donating a share of your profits to causes that you find worthwhile to make a difference. It pays to understand how to actually deploy the right market forces and empower individuals, thus creating lasting solutions that can be built upon by future generations.
Starting up this process means setting up clear parameters within which your business will support the cause at hand.
This means –
Making Plans: Your list of goals will have to extend over both the short and long-term. This means making donations, raising awareness, and inviting others to join you. Plus, at every juncture, setting up a structure for continued efforts into the future, even beyond the point when your business concludes.
Incorporating Change: All things change; it is the one constant in the universe. So, the plans you make need to be flexible and adjustable for when the times inevitably change. Inflexibility leads to an inability to survive economic changes, which may undercut your ability to support your causes.
For a long time, making money and making a difference have been viewed as mutually exclusive objectives. But as times change, not only are they being seen as overlapping – they’re getting to the point where they’re being seen as one and the same.