Social consciousness is the new impact imperative

In this new era of "we, not me," companies, employees, and customers are uniting to not only change the way business is done but to show the collective power we all have to make lasting social change.

In this new era of “we, not me,” companies, employees, and customers are uniting to not only change the way business is done but to show the collective power we all have to make lasting social change.

 

And these changes are not just for big business. Start-ups are addressing social change by creating platforms that allow people from all walks of life to unite in their fight for justice. Nonprofits are crowdsourcing their fundraising and corporations are asking employees and customers for their advice on how best to tackle societal issues.

 

Companies are working to build a new bottom line through “corporate socialanthropy” -- a strategic platform on which corporations implement internal and external programs designed for reputation management, brand loyalty, and positive impact on individuals, the community, and the world.

 

As more nonprofits use the behavior change model of marketing – that is inspiring individuals to not only make a change in their own life, or support their organization in a specific, unique way, but also to become ambassadors for their cause and to recruit others to support and engage in a similar way – so too can corporations align their business and marketing to have a more sustainable, long-term impact.

 

In a small town outside of Pittsburgh lives a young boy named Jamee. Six years ago, his school was the winner of a $300,000 universally accessible playground as part of the “Playskool Win a Boundless Playground” contest. Jamee was born with a disability that meant he used a walker to get around each day. For years, his “playground” consisted of three pieces of decrepit equipment without even a slide – and especially a slide that a child with a disability could play on.

 

After surprising his school with the announcement that it had won the playground, a groundbreaking ceremony was held and construction began. Four months later, it was time for the grand opening. On a crisp day in early November, more than 700 community residents showed up to this elementary school to cut the ribbon and celebrate their new playground. Elected officials, teachers, parents, and executives from Playskool spoke, kids from various classes led a parade, fire trucks showed up, and Jamee was the first one through the ribbon onto the new playground. As executives and employees of the company that had held the contest and paid for the playground to be built watched Jamee slide down the slide into his mother's arms for the first time, there wasn't a dry eye to be found. On that day, a young boy smiled, his mom cried, and the people that worked for this company saw firsthand what IMPACT felt and look liked. This is what change looks like in our new “do it together” world. This is what corporate responsibility looks like in our new era of engagement

 

So, be bold, be brave, and know that in this era of engagement, in the shift from me to we, what we do with others and how businesses and causes interact will be critical in not only having an impact on how we reinvent our world, but also in how we improve the bottom line.

 

Dawn Wilcox is MD of Allison+Partners' social impact practice.

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