by Janet Ervin

Next Stage recently launched a brand-new initiative, exploring the ways that nonprofits and businesses intersect. We think that it’s time to reconsider the ways that private sector and nonprofits work together – to ‘rewire’ social good and form creative new partnerships that offer win-win-win value propositions. We believe that you can have profit & purpose. We will be launching our Social Good Report in May that will take a closer look at the intersection of the private and nonprofit sectors and how we can build new kinds of partnerships that will fuel real impact, for now you can sign up to receive the report when it launches here.

What exactly does all this mean?

Win – We believe that social good can solve business problems across a range of areas – employee engagement, pipeline development, brand and marketing and more.

Win – In turn, nonprofits forge new, innovative ways to stabilize their revenue and grow their impact.

Win – In the end, it meets a goal that everyone cares about – building a stable, growing community where everyone can thrive.

Forbes put it nicely, “Corporate responsibility kills two birds with one stone: On the one hand, you make the world a better place, and on the other, you get more business. Giving back is a win for everyone. ”

On a past episode of  What’s Next?, we took a look at the ways social good can help build engaging brands that inspire loyalty. I was joined by brand expert Greg Johnson, Managing Director of Orbital Socket. He shared examples of local and national brands that use social good as a cornerstone of their identity – like Patagonia, Jordan Brands, Coke Consolidated and more.

If you missed the episode, it’s available for download here. As a sneak peek into the conversation, here are three reasons why social good builds and maintains brand loyalty:

  1. Consumers are increasingly loyal to brands rooted in values. It’s no longer enough to donate to causes or sponsor annual events. A growing number of younger consumers want to see social good integrated directly into the businesses they support. Recent studies show that millennial buyers will even spend more money for a service or product if they know the business is socially aware and focused on positive community impact. Consider brands like Patagonia and Grove Collaborative – or even local coffee roasters such as Enderly Coffee. Their products are not the cheapest on the market, but their names are synonymous with causes such as improving the environment, reducing plastic waste and creating economic opportunity in neighborhoods. More than ever, buyers want authentic brands that are rooted in values aligned with their own.
  2. Social good creates authentic engagement opportunities. This is important for consumers and employees alike. During the panel Greg shared that one of his clients, Coke Consolidated, took a new approach when they entered a new community last year. Rather than making a large ad spend or donating large amounts of product, they partnered with neighborhood groups and nonprofits to find out how they could serve and integrate with community needs. It paid off – by engaging directly with community members, people were empowered to speak directly with the brand and created a win-win-win. Coke Consolidated got more brand engagement than they ever could have paid for, nonprofits were supported in meaningful ways and everyone worked together to meet real community needs.
  3. Your employees tell a story. Greg identified employee loyalty as the single most important piece of brand engagement. “Your internal team are your best brand ambassadors and they are going to tell a story – you just want to make sure it’s the right story.” We focus so much time and energy on marketing to other businesses or consumers that we often miss that the stories our employees tell can be your brand’s biggest asset or its biggest liability.