by Suzanne F. Stevens, Conscious-Contribution™ Cultivator, Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), originally posted on YouMeWe.ca
As a leader of a small organization, you want to do some social good in the community or beyond. Your time is tight, your funds are limited, and you’re not sure where to contribute. You wonder if there are ways to serve the community that doesn’t take a lot of time or investment, yet makes an impact. The bonus, a social good strategy likely will increase customer loyalty.
Globally, consumers believe businesses have a responsibility not only to serve their pocket-book but society. In response, organizations are either escalating their social responsibility initiatives, realigning their purpose to help the community, donating all their profits to worthy causes (it’s true, some are just keeping operating reserves), or establishing a business to fill a social or environmental gap.
Clients and consumer loyalty increases when a company is committed to positive social or environmental impact. The bonus, according to Nielsen research 42% of North Americans will pay more for your offering, particularly if they are personally connected to your cause. Elsewhere in the world, this customer loyalty can climb to 64 percent.
So how can you dip your toe in to test the waters and create customer loyalty while doing social good?
No matter what you do to increase loyalty, it should be inline with you and your organization’s purpose. Your purpose is why your organization exists, and the difference you or your organization wants to make it the world. Revisit B.E.L.I.E.V.E to your Purpose part of the weWednesday series for further clarity. How you contribute will need to be communicated. How to incorporate your contribution in your messaging will be discussed in another weWednesday.
For now, let’s focus on what you can do to connect with your customers on route to creating customer loyalty.
Create customer loyalty while doing social good, some practices to consider for small businesses. #YouMeWeMovement #MyContributionCounts
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Some business practices to create customer loyalty while doing social good:
- Do you have an online service? For every purchase made, you can donate a percentage to a cause. We do this with our online program. However, be mindful that the cause needs to connect with your target client.
- Co-host, or sponsor an event for a cause that matters to your clients or customers.
- Partner with a specific charity and become their ambassador. Promote your alignment and a variety of ways people can get involved. You also can assist with their mandate, by hosting an event, or collect items needed to help operate their services.
- Collaborate with a charity of choice by offering your expertise to be dispersed through their various public communications – newsletters, vlogs, social sights.
- YouMeWe Group partners with Tintsaba, a social enterprise located in Swaziland (newly named eSwatini). They employ 700 women in the rural communities to produce high quality, sisal woven baskets. Being that 42% of the population lives $1.90 US a day or less, we support them in hopes they can employ more women in the rural community. We are packaging these baskets with YouMeWe book and selling them after our speaking engagements as a reminder to weave the YouMeWe Mindset into your organization’s culture. Who could you partner with that is doing good in the community and would compliment your product offering?
- Provide your services to charity. If you provide health services, which charity could use your support? If you provide marketing, meeting planning, or strategic guidance, is there a nonprofit that could use your services? Get your team involved. Not only will you engage your team, a charity, but other members of the community that donate their time or insight to your selected charity.
- A mobile technology entering the market is called The Unity Project. This software connects retailers with their customers and promotes customer loyalty, an alternative to a points program. How it works, a retailer decides on what percentage of a sale they will donate to a customer’s charity of choice. A customer makes a purchase and selects which charity they would like to support. The retailers committed amount automatically goes to the charity. With the 86,000 charities in Canada, the customer is contributing to a cause they are connected to while they are doing what they do every day – buy. As a retailer (or any business for that matter), you candecide to select a limited number of charities to support, then the customer can pick amongst your selection. To learn more, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org, as we are collaborating with this incredible initiative. Best part, this technology will be available in several countries, including South Africa.
- Offer your services to your client’s charity of choice. You could collaborate with your client to enhance your connection. You would also be eligible for a tax receipt of the value of your service.
- Co-produce a product for a nonprofit, and sell it – profits go to a nonprofit. i.e. a publish a cookbook and profits from the sales go to a food bank.
- Donate old stock to a charity in need – such as clothing or footwear to a youth program, or to a safe-haven for women escaping a violent relationship. Or get your customer involved to donate their slightly used clothes back to you (this could be a time-limited period, 2 or 3 times a year), and donate it to a worthwhile cause. Your loyal customers will feel less shopping therapy guilt if they can do good at the same time.
Thank your clients
- I spoke at an event, and one of the participants sent me a beautiful gift, a print of indigenous women connected. [Show picture]. He gives this gift to all his clients after working with them. He managed to marry his love for the local artist, with an appreciation to the client. If you are connected to an organization doing good in your community, how can you use their services or products to thank your customers? Particularly effective if you select a charity’s, or social enterprise’s product that is already invested in the social good in the community.
- You may choose to give a gift card through Canada Helps. Canada Helps can provide a donation to any registered Canadian charity. Gift cards provide a tailored giving solution for your clients. Again this promotes having a social and environmental impact, but for their cause,not yours. https://www.canadahelps.org/en/why-canadahelps/ways-to-give/#section-3
- If you are outside Canada, or you want to give internationally, consider a crowdfunding community, such as Global Giving. Your organization can either to your client’s nonprofit of choice. The amount is up to you.
- org also offers gift cards. They provide micro-financing loans internationally. I particularly like this solution, as YouMeWe is hosting a #MyContributionCounts campaign. For every 25 contributions to society listed by anyone, we will donate $25 through the Kiva.org to an individual who wants a loan for their business or education. A Kiva donation offers a unique opportunity for your clients to connect with their kids, by researching together projects all over the world. It also allows children to use analytical skills to assess the best investment.
Regardless of what you choose to do for your community, you can connect with your clients in a meaningful way while you serve the greater social good. That significant relationship alone can pay dividends for the short and long term.
One recommendation, keep your contribution authentic and focused. Clients will get to know what you support and associate you with that cause. Your targeted efforts will also make a significant impact, more rewarding for all involved. Bonus you will feel less obligated to say yes to all other charitable requests.
For example, women economic empowerment is the YouMeWe cause. Our foundation promotes tertiary education in developing countries. Our Kiva contributions encourage women pursuing a business or education in countries selected by people who participate in the #MyCountributionCounts campaign. We host events to raise funds for our foundation as well as give a portion of our earnings. With the Kiva program, it is a loan. Once we receive the money back, we reinvest. A great alternative if dollars are tight, and it’s a more sustainable solution.
As you move to fill a social gap, remember, you and your team will feel a sense of increased purpose, while experiencing increase client loyalty.
Until next time, make your contributions count. #YouMeWeMovement #MyContributionCounts
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Suzanne F. Stevens, Conscious-Contributor Cultivator
Certified Speaking Professional, (CSP)
Social entrepreneur |Professional Speaker | Host | Author | Philanthropist
2017 National President: Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS)
Awards: TIAW World of Difference Recipient for women economic empowering
Accreditation: Suzanne is one of 65 Certified Speaking Professionals (CSP) in Canada and is in the exclusive 15% of speakers who have this designation internationally.