Work in Japan Advice Board
Imagine a world in which consumption created contribution, in which our lifestyle left fabulous footprints rather than a path of selfish spending. Imagine if you could patronize the goods and services of companies that give back with every transaction, not to you the customer, but to someone in greater need. Imagine how your company would stand out in the media and the public eye if you engaged in totally transparent transaction-based giving.
The idea is elegantly simple, and it makes giving back a joyful engagement, rather than a dry duty. It works because it is transaction-based, connected to consumption, and because it is scalable and transparent. Anyone can participate at any level.
Companies are taking corporate social responsibility (CSR) more seriously today, not only because of compliance issues, but also because they are more sensitive to the triple bottom line, also known as people, planet, profit. Many companies are engaging in highly effective giving, from Bono’s project to cancel Third World debt, to Warren Buffet and the Gates Foundation campaign to enhance healthcare and reduce poverty. Philanthropy, from the ancient Greek meaning love of people, is alive and well.
And yet most companies are caught between limited resources and their own struggle to survive. Giving gets relegated at best to the back burner. Even if it receives some space in the corporate annual report, here it is unlikely to emotionally engage the company’s customers.
The Buy1GIVE1 approach has a distinct advantage. Their system enables consumers and companies to leave fabulous footprints automatically with every transaction. As a consumer, wouldn’t you respond well to a product or service that was directly connected through a highly resonant story to a worthy cause?
Blinds Couture is a company in West Australia which produces and installs color fabrics, window film, and custom shutters that filter light entering a home or office to produce beautiful interior ambience. When you buy a product from Blinds Couture, they make a transaction-based donation through Buy1GIVE1 to a non-profit trust in Bangalore, India, which connects schools to the power grid so that they can have electric light and cooling fans. Without this donation, those schools would literally still be in the dark. Their customers, the company, and the schools all benefit through a single transaction.
Sunsplash Homes is a real estate investment company located in the UK, which helps people invest in or build high-quality real estate overseas. But when you build a home through Sunsplash Homes, they make a transaction-based donation through Buy1GIVE1 to a non-profit organization called Habitat for Humanity, which helps someone who lost their home through a natural disaster to rebuild and live in a new home. The customer literally becomes a partner in the process, and leaves fabulous footprints as they build a new home.
Buy1GIVE1 is currently assisting businesses in 14 countries, and is supporting over 600 projects in 22 countries. Their creative concept and scalable transaction-based giving have captured the imagination not only of participating companies, but also magazines and major media such as the Financial Times of London. The process is elegantly easy, and you can participate as an individual or as a company.
As an individual, you simply select a worthy cause and make your donation in a highly-transparent way. Worthy causes are selected by region or country, by category such as environment, education, food, shelter, health, and by beneficiaries such as animals, children, environment, elderly, disabled, and others. It is scalable starting as low as $1. And a few dollars goes a long way in some countries in support of a worthy cause. For example, a single donation to plant-a-tree-today.org (PATT) of approximately $43 will effectively make you carbon free for a year, because the number of trees they plant will offset the carbon dioxide emissions of 9.7 metric tonnes, which are typical of an individual in the developed world.
For companies, you take a transaction in your core business and connect it to a specific giving action which you select from the list of worthy causes. You create a highly resonant story that connects your product or service with a cause that resonates directly or metaphorically with your business. Imagine if you were the first, or the only business in your niche which did this.
The Buy1GIVE1 process has a positive impact on customer attraction and retention. It engages customers emotionally from the heart, because they automatically participate in the process by buying from you. The story creates brand loyalty, and it can motivate and inspire employees. And it enables each person to make a positive impact by giving more consistently, more efficiently, and more sustainably.
William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.