Is it possible to do good for a community, provide good wages to employees and high value to customers, and earn a profit, all at the same time? Many companies, like Giving Assistant, think so.
Business models come in all shapes and sizes, whether commercial or nonprofit. Hybrid models are also becoming more and more popular: businesses that blur the line between strictly for-profit and completely nonprofit. In the corporate world, this is now known as either “corporate social responsibility” or “conscious capitalism,” the latter term coined by John Mackey, founder of Whole Foods markets, and the noted author and speaker Raj Sisodia.
While the social responsibility business model is seen most often in product-oriented companies (think Toms Shoes or Life is Good), tech-oriented companies are increasingly finding ways to integrate this ethos into their products and services, too. At Giving Assistant, which is an online coupon/rebate site, a customer can sign up for free, receive coupons and special deals to hundreds of online shopping sites, and then receive a portion of their sales as a cash-back offer.
But here’s where Giving Assistant is different from its competitors — where its fundamental belief in conscious capitalism kicks in: customers can choose to donate their cash back to hundreds of affiliated nonprofit organizations across the country. It is the ultimate win-win-win scenario.
It gets better: for every qualified purchase using Giving Assistant, the company will donate one meal to the nonprofit organization Feeding America. To date, the company has donated almost 600,000 meals. “We all realized that Feeding America was the best way to go, not only because it is a great organization, but because it is an easy way for our members and staff to see a quantifiable difference being made,” says Giving Assistant Co-Founder Katie Horgan.
Horgan went to explain why corporate social responsibility is close to her heart:
While doing volunteer advocacy in the courts for foster children, I saw there was a shortage of funding to support critical programs for high-risk youth. With the objective to use my experience in e-commerce to raise money for nonprofit organizations, I was hired on as CEO of GlobalMojo. There I managed a turnaround and pivot to Giving Assistant.
Integrating a social mission into a for-profit business does not have to be hard, as Horgan’s experience in the corporate environment has proven. But as Giving Assistant has also proven, it ought to be very well thought out. What kinds of organizations would it makes sense to partner with? Where can your company make the most difference? What would your customers appreciate knowing they’ll support with their buying dollars? Giving Assistant passed all of these choices onto the customer by allowing them to choose their own nonprofits to donate to with their own cash-back dollars. They’re in control.
Easy philanthropy. Amazing savings. Helping others. Giving Assistant is certainly on the way to achieving their vision, which Horgan describes as “the best businesses in the world will be the best businesses for the world.” Look at your own work or workplace. What will your socially responsible business do?
This post is sponsored by Giving Assistant.