Doing Good vs Giving Back

Social enterprises have been popping up left and right in the U.S. and all over the world here lately. There is no doubt that having a social component to your business is a trendy thing to do. More and more business are adopting social missions and causes.

And I think it is great.

I personally have felt the pressure to adopt some sort of social component, but have yet to figure out which is the right fit for Serif. I appreciate social companies and I will never forget the first time I was introduced to Tom’s Shoes 1-to-1 model. I appreciated it so much; I felt compelled to work with more nonprofit and socially good companies. In 2013, we created a hit-list of companies we wanted to partner with. We ended up partnering with two that year.

Adopting a social mission is a way for a business to give back. Have you ever stopped to think that simply by doing business, you’re giving back to society? Businesses are already giving back by doing business. Let’s look at Starbucks. Over the last 10 years, Starbucks has really pushed social causes. Below is a short list of ways they give back.

  1. Commitment to hiring veterans — Starbucks’ goal is to hire 10,000 by the year 2018.
  2. Starbucks stores give away left over pastries to nearby charities.
  3. Green Teams look at new ways to recycle.
  4. Starbucks funds local education and health projects.
  5. Starbucks employees put in volunteer time at non-profit groups such as libraries, AID’s walks, and preparing meals for the homeless.
  6. Paying for part of their employee’s education.

I think the above list is amazing. I think it is also important for Starbucks to recognize the good they are producing by simply operating a business. Below is a short list of ways they do good by operating a business:

  1. Providing jobs for nearly 200,000 people with benefits
  2. They keep the coffee marketplace competitive which means lower cost and higher quality for the consumer.
  3. Provide a gathering place for people to meet and deepen their relationships.
  4. It’s also a place to study, converse, work, and think of how many business deals have been done in Starbucks over the years.
  5. Paying taxes to the man on a local, state, and federal level.

I think it is important for businesses and business owners to recognize that their for-profit company is doing good by simply being in business and not all good things have to come from non-profits or government organizations. If you are a business owner or work at a for-profit company, sit back, and think about how your company is doing good. What are some things that come to mind? I would love to hear about them.



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