This post comes to us courtesy of FACT goods. They design & sell products that are inspirational, positive or faith-based. But most importantly, a full quarter of the proceeds from each sale goes to important charities working to Find A Cure Today (FACT). Check out their wide collection of t-shirts for a cause and help eradicate cancer and other diseases and conditions.
1. Vote With Your Dollars
In a free market economy, consumers have the ability to influence business practices by “voting with their dollars”. What does this mean? If you like the way a company does business, support that company by buying their product or service. If you don’t like the way they do business, refuse to support them, and tell your friends and family to do the same.
Every time you spend money with businesses who share your values, you’re sending the message that this is what is important to you as a consumer. Likewise, if you dislike a company’s policies or stance on issues important to you, don’t give them any of your hard-earned dollars. If enough people choose to support socially responsible businesses, they will thrive and their less well-intentioned competition will lose market share, often leading to a change in corporate policies.
One great example is the ethical manufacturing of clothing. While the discount clothes you can pick up in big box stores across the country are often made in sweatshops and may use child labor or dangerously unsafe working conditions, responsible consumers are beginning to demand better. This has lead to the founding of companies like Everlane, whose commitment to ethical sourcing and price transparency mean that you know exactly where your clothing dollars are going and can be confident that you are not funding horrific and exploitative work conditions.
2. Amplify Your Contribution
There is so much going on in the world today, both good and bad, and all of it vying for our attention every moment of the day. Should you spend your time promoting the arts, important social causes, and affirming charities? Or protesting against violence, environmental harm, and other tragedies? There are so many causes to choose from, but as an individual, you likely don’t have the time or resources to devote to more than one or two.
The truth is, it’s really hard to make a difference alone. But combining your shopping dollars with hundreds or thousands of other individuals means a bigger voice and a deeper impact. One person trying to raise $100,000 will likely have a difficult time. But 100,000 people could easily raise 10x that amount, without much effort at all.
Look for companies whose main purpose is to give back in meaningful ways. FACT goods, for example, has a great selection of inspirational t-shirts and other uplifting products. And a full quarter of the proceeds go to charities focused on finding a cure for cancer and other health and social problems.
3. Socially Responsible Businesses Make the World a Better Place
In addition to providing you with goods and services you need or want, these businesses are making your community, your country, or your world a better place to live and work. Whether they’re supporting sustainable manufacturing processes for a cleaner environment or donating a portion of their profits to important causes you believe in, these companies are working toward a brighter future. Help them achieve these goals and we all benefit!
An excellent example of this type of consumer activism at work is TOMS. This company started in 2006, just over a decade ago, but it’s hard to find anyone who isn’t at least peripherally aware of the brand and their mission. Their “one for one” shoe donation strategy has so far given over 75 million pairs of new shoes to children in need. Piggybacking on this success, they now are also involved in programs to give sight, clean water, safe birth, and bullying prevention services.
4. Corporate Social Responsibility is Contagious!
Years ago, most companies didn’t think too much about social causes. Businesses were out to make a buck, nothing more. More recently, there has been a shift in our cultural values, and it’s making big business stand up and take notice. As more and more consumers support Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts, we see more and more of it in businesses across the board. If a company gains higher profits by adopting CSR policies, their competitors will likely follow suit. And as hundreds of companies across many diverse industries begin to reap the benefits of good social practices, it is becoming the new standard for business. In fact, just last year, Forbes published an article stating that CSR has become “a fundamental strategic priority for businesses large and small.”
5. Support Good Employment Practices
Companies with good CSR practices tend to have higher employee satisfaction. Topping Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list is Salesforce, because of its “zealous encouragement of employee philanthropy”. And HR directors and business analysts are quick to point out that commitment to social responsibility leads to increased employee engagement and satisfaction.
“What do I care? I don’t work there,” you may think. Companies are only able to take advantage of their employees as long as those employees don’t have better options in the job market. As more and more companies revise their employment practices to benefit even the lowest workers in their organizational structure, other businesses will follow suit in order to keep good workers.
At the end of the day, social responsibility is up to all of us, both personally and on a corporate level. So make sure you’re supporting the businesses whose values and practices align with your own. It’s one of the best ways we know of to improve the world around us!