I interview Social Entrepreneurs the world over on my podblog. I’ve also worked alongside these folks for about a decade. Across all of this, I’ve noticed common themes in the ways that they build successful cause based businesses – so, I offer these 10 keys as the first step on your journey to pursuing your dream of sparking social change. I’ll publish new keys each week, so follow this series, learn from it, incorporate it into your work, and become a part of our movement at socialchangenation.com
6.) Have a story.
Most businesses just choose some charitable cause to support that has no direct connection to their biz… why would you do this?? Tell me your story – if you don’t have one, go get one. Then, explain to me how I can become part of your story. Remember how folks have a burning desire to become part of something bigger than them? This is where you can really draw them in!
Example: The guy who founded Thrift Smart initially wanted to form a non-profit that would receive donations, but none of his (very wealthy) friends would get on board and donate to founding it.
Undaunted, this guy changed course, and instead founded a for-profit that focused on reselling donated goods and used the business itself to hire and train folks who desperately needed a hand up, real-life business education, and a solid opportunity. He then told this opportunity story far and wide, and low and behold, Thrift Smart became one of the most successful thrift stores in the country by providing huge savings to its customers and huge opportunity for the employees it serves.
Your story is at the core of why you do what you do and why you are taking these tremendous risks and facing the huge uncertainty of starting your own gig. Your followers want to know that. Share it often, share it openly, and share it with the emotion that is attached to it.
3 Quick Tips to get Started on this Key:
– Look back to times where you’ve volunteered for a cause you care deeply about. Write a story about that and connect it to your company’s ‘why’.
– Don’t forget the power of video and pictures. People love these kinds of things, especially on social media. Be sure to bring the camera next time you’re genuinely serving.
– Think of a tagline that tells your story in one simple sentence. Great example = Starkey Foundation’s mantra: so the world may hear.