Companies are in a unique position to effect change, so the question of whether as participants in a global society corporations are obligated to do good while doing business, has been answered in the affirmative time and time again. In fact, it really is the price of entry today. The question now is how to align corporate interests with social issues in ways that solve problems and meet corporate objectives.
The answer: find a niche that aligns with your business (and your bottom line) and go deep into the issue and into your company. There is no greater chance at success than when a social impact effort develops organically from within an organization by the people who know the business and have a passion for the problem they are looking to address.
Some social impact programs are better than others. Some waste money. Some don’t advance the issue they are trying to address. Others see no return to the company – neither reputational nor bottom line.
You can avoid that by reaching into the business for ideas and support; developing data or mining information that sheds a new or different perspective on a problem; creating unlikely partnerships in the public or non-profit sector (or both); and being committed to finding fresh and innovative approaches to advance social change.
Whether driven by a need to reach the elusive and attractive “millennial generation” or something else entirely, the remaining resistance to operating in a socially responsible manner seems to be waning more every day.
While it’s unrealistic to think that one person, one company or one foundation can change the world, there are ways to take small but significant steps towards progress.
Bottom line, do something. There is too much time spent talking about what’s wrong in our world and not nearly enough focus on finding solutions.