My favorite question I like to ask my clients is WHAT’S YOUR CAUSE?

If you are a biz owner and you don’t have a charity or cause you SHOULD! There are many reasons, giving back to your community, helping others and how about growing your business!?  Yes, I just said “Grow Your Business!”

Check out these stats from a recent *global study of 6,000 people in 10 countries:

1. 83% are willing to change consumption habits if it makes the world a better place
2. 64% expect companies to support causes
3. 57% say a brand has earned their business because of it’s works supporting social causes
4. 67% would switch brands if another brand of similar quality supported a cause they were interested in
5. 68% believe it’s becoming unacceptable not to support a causeI am happy to see these numbers.

So, how do you pick a cause?  A business should not pick a cause just because you want to beef up your brand. Business leaders should find something both at a local and national level that you are passionate about. Engage with your cause.  Do more than throw them a check once a year.  Don’t over commit yourself.  Instead commit to what you know you can deliver and do so in a meaningful and authentic way.  Less is more if it’s given from your heart!

So how will this help your business? First of all, when you give you always receive more than you give! I believe that giving  is good for the soul! It’s good for a team to bond.  So if you have a team stuck in the “storming” phase of storming, norming, forming, performing… then get out there and do something for the community!  A little shot of reality might just help the team realize the things they are complaining about are trivial to the problems of others.

Some ideas to get you started.
1. Incorporate into your brand essence. If you are serious about social good then incorporate into your DNA of who you are and what you do!
2. Incorporate into event calendar
example:  Service Master is a client of mine.  We are branding their BIG YELLOW RV bus.  We are naming him “Gus, the Bus that keeps on giving!”  We are going to take Gus to numerous charity events and enable the community to fill him up with love and food!  And guess what, not only are we going to help feed and clothe the homeless, but Gus is also going to get a LOT of free press!
3. Enhance your blog. Social media is all about CONTENT! Add a special section to your blog about your social good efforts.  Take pics, let your employees blog.  Invite the charity to post comments, write testimonials etc.
4. Adopt a family or a group of people.  Let your team meet some of the folks they will be supporting.

Recently I have spent some time with some local charities. I listed a few of my favorites below.  If you have some extra cash, clothing, household goods please support them.  If not these, then find one in your community. You’d be surprised how little can make such a big difference. After my husband and I were both laid off this summer at the same time I found myself able to relate to some of these folks in need much better.  My recent visits to ECHO broke my heart.  The look on their clients faces are so sad. Echo has helped more than 100,000 families and have done such with only 1.5 full-time employees. The rest are volunteers.  Contact your local Churches and Foudations.  I guarantee if you are reading this you WILL find someone who is in need more than you.

A few of my favorite CAUSES:
1. ECHO: Short term relief for those in emergency situations.  They are very short on everything which includes food, clothes, household items. Even one can of food will help them.
2. Brandon Foundation: Supports families in emergency situations.  They have a unique Angel Program that includes both kids and adults.
3. Kids Place: Cares for children who are displaced.  Provides a home for those children who would otherwise be thrown in the back of a cop car.
4. Brandon Life Care: Cares for young pregnant women, mothers and babies. They are low on diapers and formula and very worried about supplies for December & January.
5. Invisible.TV: If you haven’t seen this, you must! This is one man making a difference for so many.  He found himself laid off and has now made it a life mission to give a voice and a face to many of our countries homeless.  I do hope that one day I will be able to support him and those listed above in a very big way!

Remember the old saying… what’s your sign? Now it’s  “what’s your @Twitter?”iStock_000002786388Small

There is much to our company that we have not launched yet.  I will say there will soon be a very strong social good side that will help connect businesses to those in need via the local, national and global charities and non-profits. God provided our biz model and plan which we wrote on the back of our unemployment statement (literally!) We have learned we are  social entrepreneurs.  I know that one day I will be able to spend the majority of my time on social good by leveraging marketing and technology via the fabric of a social enterprise we develop! I can’t wait and is what makes me so excited about the road ahead!

What are you passionate about in regard to social good, charities? Share your passions and your tips for both business and life!

*Global Study, Source: Edelman Worldwide’s goodpurpose Consumer Study”  via MediaPostNews.