As the new year kicked off, the team at TACK10 introduced a new seminar, workshop and training series entitled The Evolution™: Social Enterprise Replacing Charity. Following the extremely successful offering of The Paradigm Shift™: The Ecosystem of Brand, Cause and Consumer, The Evolution addresses the most powerful insight and trend highlighted in The Paradigm Shift.
Consumers are supporting causes every single day through their purchasing decisions and the remarkable, emerging trend that has begun is that social enterprises are who they are increasingly buying from.
Recently, James Chalmers wrote an article for Charity Village addressing The Evolution and identified for charities the 6 key steps to conquer it. In this piece, we are focusing in on four primary stakeholders and looking at how each is being affected by The Evolution.
While on the surface most charities would be concerned about The Evolution, the fact is they should be embracing it. It highlights that there is a large supply of consumer support for causes. This means charities should be focused on creating opportunities for engagement that allow existing stakeholders and their targeted audience segments to engage with them in a manner that is authentic and feels natural. Additionally, this has paved the way for charities to develop new earned revenue sources to augment government funding and philanthropic contributions. Charities should, directly or through strategic partnerships, be focused on developing new lines of business that allow current and prospective stakeholders to support the cause through the purchase of products or services that they already buy or are planning to.
Seeing tremendous growth year over year, the entire eco-system of social enterprise in its current form is still very early in its growth stage and our research shows that it is not expected to mature for another 5 to 7 years. With that being said, social enterprise has already begun to re-segment itself. The intersections of purpose and profit are becoming increasingly blurred as a result. When a business’s value proposition leverages the power of purpose, the competitive advantage is game changing. As a result, many new for-profit businesses are now setting themselves up and operating as social enterprises to take advantage of this. While this may be seen as opportunistic and in many cases it is, social enterprises around the globe are now augmenting the resources charities have to tackle a cause and in some cases, even replacing charities as the largest contributor to a cause.
Brands need to realize that there is more competition for buying dollars than ever before and that their fastest growing competitors are social enterprises and charities that are incorporating social enterprise as part of their earned revenue strategy. As a result, purpose integration has become a requirement to remain competitive. We are not talking “bolt-on” corporate social responsibility or philanthropy. We are talking authentically building purpose into the corporate DNA and having it live at the heart of both the organization’s mission and vision. While many brands have yet to accept that, Fortune 500 brands who have embedded purpose into their DNA are growing at a rate of 411% compared to their non-purpose driven counterparts. Furthermore, their share prices are reflecting this growth.
Choice and competition make this a consumer’s market. Add to that the prevalence of purpose within the brand, social enterprise and of course, charity ecosystems and it is now a win-win for consumers who want to contribute to cause without sacrificing other aspects of product choice. Consumers can continue to adopt new avenues of donating and supporting the causes they care about daily through their purchasing decisions. Their biggest challenge is really defining what causes matter most to them as they look to align where they spend their money.
The Final Bell
Giving trends are changing. Younger segments of the population are not writing cheques to charity, they don’t even have cheques to write! This is not indicative of a diminished interest in cause, these audiences are more committed than ever to having a social, environmental and economic impact, but they are investing in cause through daily purchasing and lifestyle decisions. Social enterprises have emerged as the new model for consumers who wish to have cause impact. Charities are trying to solve the same issues as these social enterprises, but they have been slow to adopt this new model of fund development and stakeholder engagement. For charities, expanding into the blue ocean of social enterprise is mission critical to stakeholder engagement and fund development. For brands and businesses, The Evolution creates a new model for addressing the purpose that is embedded within organizational DNA and an opportunity to create deeper, more loyal customer relationships. The Evolution represents the opportunity of a generation for leaders of traditional organizations to think and act like entrepreneurs and disrupt the status quo.