With 81% of customers willing to make personal sacrifices in order to seek out brands who are socially responsible, it’s no surprise that business is booming among companies driving change in the world.
There’s an enormous amount of brands who are doing great work and I’ve picked out 4 who have some of the biggest hearts you’ll find in the world of online business. Read on and learn from them, support them, and invest in them.
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US shoe company TOMS is one of the most well-known companies with a conscious. Founded in 2006 by American traveler Blake Mycoskie, their principle is simple: for every pair of shoes that TOMs sells, they will give a pair of shoes to a child in need.
It’s a business model that makes buying from them extremely attractive to their potential customers – not only do you get to own a swish new pair of shoes, you also get to buy a pair for a disadvantaged child.
TOMs have branched out further and now also sell coffee (donating a money to help provide clean water for each bag sold), and provide birth kits.
What can you learn from TOMS? If you tie your business model to a clear cause for change then you create a greater incentive among your target audience to buy your products.
Love Your Melon began as an idea between two friends, Zachary Quinn and Brian Keller, attending an entrepreneurship class at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Their idea? To put a hat upon the melon (head) of every American child battling cancer.
However, they don’t stop there because they also give 50% of the profits from the sale of all of their products to a selection of non-profit partners, all of whom are involved in the fight against pediatric cancer. So far they’ve given $4,328,259.
They operate by employing like minded students as part of their Love Your Melon Campus Crew Program, a team which covers people in all 50 American states.
If you take just one lesson from the gorgeous Love Your Melon, it’s that the way to succeed is getting like minded people to work for you and support your cause.
Hunger is something anyone can understand; even if you’ve never experienced on a level that went beyond the gap between breakfast and lunch, you’ve been hungry. 20 Bowls are a wonderful company, and they know that there are people in the world who are really hungry…and they want to feed them.
Like TOMS, they make a donation for every purchase that you make from them – in their case it’s 20 meals to people in need within the US for every bamboo bowl that you buy from them.
In addition to decorating their website with a wealth of information on the level of hunger within America, 20 Bowls also include a public Donated Meals Goal – currently 1,000.
Interested in their story? They are currently listed for sale if you fancied yourself a new charitable challenge!
This is something your company can draw inspiration from; if you have a goal you’re working towards then let your customers know because doing so might convince them to spend a little bit more to support your cause.
Books are something you probably take for granted; with access to a world of information through the power of your smartphone, why would you need a dusty old novel?
But for some people, being able to read is a privilege, not a right, and having access to the written word on page gives them the power to affect change in their lives. Better World Books exist to empower these people.
Started in 2002 by a trio of friends from the University of Notre Dame, the company quickly evolved into a brand whose mission was to promote literacy across the globe. Today they’ve donated more than 21 million books and helped countless people harness the power of the written word.
A key part part of their success is that Better World Books accept donated books from people who want to give some the gift of literacy.
This approach is one that you can apply to your own business; if there’s something your customers no longer need which can help your cause then get them to donate it. This will reduce your overheads and inspire greater engagement from your customers, giving you a win-win situation.
There are so many gorgeous businesses who are helping to drive change in the world; from the smallest one person operations, right up to the largest possible global conglomerates, they’re all helping to make the planet a better place today, tomorrow, and long into the future.
I’ve introduced you to 4 of the very best businesses and the challenge now is to make your own business one to rival them. So what are you waiting for? Take inspiration from these gorgeous online businesses and start driving your own change in the world.
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Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she shares tips on how new business owners can get their brand off the ground. She is passionate about supporting socially responsible businesses.