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How can consumers measure which companies are engaged with their communities? Fortunately, there’s a survey for that. The Civic 50 was created by Points of Light and the National Conference on Citizenship, and published by Bloomberg.
Here are some of this year’s survey highlights:
We're pleased to bring you our top 10 blog posts of 2013!
#9: THINKTOPIA on Brand Relevance
Patrick Hanlon, Founder and CEO of THINKTOPIA®—an innovative branding, marketing, consulting, and advertising firm—has the secret to brand relevance. Fortunately for us, he’s willing to share.
Q: What are the top 3 things brands must do in 2013 to be relevant to consumers?
A: First, be meaningful. And I don’t mean that in the ordinary, trite way. Real meaning comes from surrounding your company, your product or service, your community, with a system of belief that fundamentally attracts people and entices them to opt in to your community. This means that your brand narrative—how you string together the beads of your brand’s story, (why/how you started, where you’re from, what you believe in, what you don’t believe in, how you are used, how you describe yourself, what you are not and never want to become, and who is leading the enterprise) is critical. Not only will this keep your brand relevant, it will help your brand remain meaningful to consumers and your brand community. Most importantly, it will help keep it from becoming meaningless. There is no second or third thing, this is the primary thing.
How many fruit baskets did you receive last year? While they may be delicious, they aren’t super original. This year, think outside the basket. Think charity.
Not only does charity satiate your appetite longer, but it’s also a more meaningful, personal gift to give and receive.
Just in time for the holidays, we’re pleased to announce our reimagined Good Card®! This charity gift card is redeemable as a donation to any of more than 1 million charities.
Not a compelling enough? Well here are some more reasons to consider charity as an end-of-the-year gift:
Good Card recipients redeem their prepaid donations for a wide range of charities – from local PTAs, libraries, and animal shelters to large nonprofits like the American Red Cross and The Nature Conservancy.
Super Typhoon Haiyan left communities devastated, homes decimated, and residents in need of support.
Through our giving portal, nearly $4 million in donations was raised by individuals and companies to aid those affected by the typhoon. Companies of all shapes and sizes provided disaster relief through corporate philanthropy dollars, matching grants, employee-driven campaigns, and in-kind donations.
Here’s a look at some of the responses:
As an end-of-the-year treat, we're excited to bring you our top 10 blog posts of 2013. As you know, Companies for Good covers the following topics:
We're pleased to share the #10 most popular blog post today, then count down the rest.
Happy holidays from everyone at Network for Good.
#10: Friday5: Social Good Start-up to Watch
Let’s start with Friday.
"Who doesn’t like Fridays? In fact, who isn’t overly excited for the weekend, feeling a sense of accomplishment by getting through the week? Why not tie this feeling with something good?" Mike Berman pondered these questions from his desk at the tech company, Eventbrite.
To put these questions to the test, Berman left his Silicon-Valley gig, and created a social enterprise where individuals donate a small amount--$5--every Friday to benefit good causes.Friday5 was born**.
The impact is two-fold, says Berman:
1) Funds raised for causes are used out in the field, assigning donations to direct impact.
2) Friday5 gives lesser known causes the exposure they need.
It sounds shockingly simple, but that’s because it is. Our new corporate partner, Changefolio, is a web platform looking to improve the donation experience for both charities and donors.
In their words,
“[Changefolio] empower[s] users to set up automatic micro-donations based on everyday spending. Users connect with their bank, and set up on-going donation rules, like giving an extra dollar to a local food bank every time they buy groceries. We then provide a personalized webpage that allows users to track and share their impact.”
Customers are fickle. They want companies to communicate the impact they’re making but feel overwhelmed by messages of good (think: weariness over pink-washing and green-washing).
You can capitalize on this fickleness by providing bite-sized chunks of good spreading your social message. Check out Cone Communications' research on the most effective ways to communicate social and environmental impact. While social media may seem small at 7%, when added together, online and mobile channels comprise 22%.
Here are some examples of companies showcasing bites of good online:
Annie’s: Cheddar bunnies, mac & cheese, and…community gardens? Peppering ways to interact with the company’s “nourishing communities” is an Annie’s specialty. One way the company does this is via its crowdfunded, school-garden-building campaign.
If you’re well versed in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and social media, you’ve likely participated in the inimitable Susan McPherson’s bi-monthly #CSRChat. We were lucky enough to be one of the featured guests, with our partners Vocus.
We’re big fans of the social marketing company, both as a customer of Vocus’ marketing suite and as a social good partner in crime. Vocus uses our Good Card—branded charity gift cards—as a thank you for conference speakers.
Why give the gift of charity? Vocus: We found our conference speakers didn’t want more “gifts” to lug back home. They appreciated the thoughtfulness of Good Cards…It was a creative gift and certainly meant more to them!
McPherson asked us and Vocus questions around CSR and social-good incentives. Check out snippets on the conversation below, and be sure to check out the next #CSRChat on Twitter.
On brands' genuine connection to cause:
As today is the day before Thanksgiving, we’d like to take a moment to appreciate someone very special to us…you!
Thank you for all you do to bring good into the world. Your company and coworkers (and likely family and friends) benefit from your hard work.
We at Network for Good wish you a festive holiday and charitable giving season.
Please remember that Tuesday is #GivingTuesday, a movement to add a national day of giving to the lineup of post-Thanksgiving shopping days. We hope you’ll join us in giving charities the support they need as we round out year-end.
If your company would like to get involved, but hasn’t had the time to devise a plan, consider giving your employees the gift of charity. You can email charity gift cards to recipients and view the causes they support online.
How are you showing thanks tomorrow?
Image credit: Pinterest user Debbiedoos
Ribbons, promises to “do good”, and certifications saturate an already noisy consumer-focused marketplace. Consumers can be overwhelmed—fatigued, in fact—when there are too many messages and they all sound the same.
Cone’s newest Social Impact Study: The Next Cause Evolution explains how companies can break out from the norm by demonstrating impact and showcasing business transparency.
Ways you can do this right now:
We're excited to release the following Network for Good Mid-Year 2013 Digital Giving Index Infographic, which includes our findings on $71 million in donations to over 20,000 charities via the Network for Good giving platform.* Donations are categorized via three channels: portal giving (like CrowdRise), charity websites, and peer-to-peer social giving.
The main takeaways worth noting are:
1) Giving is going digital. While overall giving is up 1.5%, online giving has risen 14%.
2) Social giving--via peer-to-peer sites--is increasing. In 2013, Network for Good cited a 60% increase via the platform in donation dollars over 2012.
3) People give more than you think. Branded giving pages see an average gift size of $118 and portal giving sees an average donation of $76.
In 1993 Cone Communications began tracking attitudes around cause marketing and the intersection between business and social good. Its latest social impact study, The Next Cause Evolution, has some juicy conscious consumerism tidbits and trends.
You should definitely read the report in its entirety—it’s very skim-able—but here are some of the key highlights if you’re short on time.
An affiliation with cause doesn’t does it differentiate your brand; social good is expected; social impact is the new standard. If your company thinks its CSR communications job is complete because of a one-off giving campaign or food drive, think again.
Annie’s Homegrown is synonymous with delicious, cheesy products. The food company—and, Network for Good partner—is also dedicated to providing kids the opportunity to connect with “real food” via its annual Gardens of Goodness program.
We had a chance to learn more about the motivations and tactics behind this year’s (ongoing!) campaign from Lauren Schiller, Annie’s Gardens of Goodness Lead. Check out part II of our conversation below and be sure to get involved!
AM: What’s the rationale behind this new crowdfunded campaign?
LS: This year’s Garden Funder campaign hosted on CrowdRise builds on Annie’s Grants for Garden program. By leveraging our passion for school gardens and social networks, we expand our impact by involving consumers as co-philanthropists and grantmakers, and as a result, help many more schools to fund their gardens.
It’s likely that you know Annie’s Homegrown from their mac & cheese, cheddar bunnies, and other kid-friendly products, made with healthier ingredients. We’re excited to share that the food company—and Network for Good partner—is embarking on its annual Gardens of Goodness program, connecting kids to real food.
As the name hints, this philanthropic campaign provides schools with the funds to build and revitalize gardens. Since 2008, the program has funded over 200 projects, giving 80,000 children the experience of growing their own food.
We had a chance to learn more about the motivations and tactics behind this year’s (ongoing!) campaign from Lauren Schiller, Annie’s Gardens of Goodness Lead. Check out our conversation below and be sure to get involved!
KO: How does the Gardens of Goodness program fit within Annie’s Homegrown corporate social responsibility priorities?
LS: Social responsibility is one of Annie’s’ core values. For more than 20 years, Annie's has been nourishing families with simple, down-to-earth foods that taste great and are easy to love.
On Veteran's Day, we are reminded that showing appreciation is welcome. Employees and customers, too, appreciate a heartfelt thank you. Giving thanks is especially welcome during holiday season.
However, when December hits, many get swept up in the general chaos of ending one year and beginning another. As we mentioned before, November is an ideal time to roll out your cause program and get employees and customers excited about unleashing generosity at year-end.
If you reach your audience in November, you’ll have a better chance of securing their attention and participation and feed off their enthusiasm for Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season.
Create a Gratitude Campaign
On Friday, Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, killing up to 10,000 people throughout the country, displacing hundreds of thousands.
Now that the storm has passed, emergency response efforts have begun mobilizing. Needless to say, people in the Philippines will need financial support in the upcoming weeks and months as they recover and rebuild.
Companies have asked us how they can support relief efforts. Here are our recommendations:
Donate to one of the charities providing on-the-ground support to those in need. These include, but are not limited to the following:
NewAnthropy believes that building better communities starts with individuals.
On this site, individuals can create a “Giving Circle” to create communities around causes about which they care. Giving circles are comprised of a group of people, big or small, that join to donate to charities doing great work. By pooling together a larger donation, this type of giving amplifies impact and encourages community building.
We’re proud to partner with newAnthropy to process and distribute users’ donations to charities all over the U.S. I had the chance to chat with Mike Zserdin, newAnthropy's Chief Generosity Advocate and Co-Founder.
We frequently talk about how employees and consumers alike want companies to support cause. Less frequently do we mention that their desire increases during the holiday season.
Don’t just trust me—look at the research! According to Cone, Inc.:
Why are we telling you this now? Because November is an ideal time to roll out your cause program and get employees and customers excited about unleashing generosity at year-end.
Once December hits, many people are focused on deadlines, family holiday planning, and the general chaos of ending one year and beginning another. If you reach your audience in November, you’ll have a better chance of securing their attention and participation and feed off their enthusiasm for Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season.
Here’s an idea that’s guaranteed to wow your audience:
Spark a Matching Grant Contest
Ready to be inspired? Check out this year’s Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneurs winners!
The 2013 Yoshiyama Awardees are an impressive bunch. From using mobile tech to create a relationship between low-income patients and healthcare companies to providing inner-city youth financial education, these young entrepreneurs are helping lift their communities out of poverty.
This post is a part of a frequently-asked-questions series on Network for Good. We thought this would be a good time to orient you on who we are, what we do, and how we can help your company. These are the most commonly asked questions we encounter. If you have any questions of your own, email us!
Many of our FAQs center around pricing. We strive to provide the best-of-breed products and services. With that, we are transparent about how much it all costs. Keep in mind, though, that depending on your company's needs, these prices may change.
How much does your technology cost?
It depends! Our licensed solutions start at approximately $15,000 and the fees are commensurate with the level of customization or partnership support.
Human Resources: If your company is looking to engage in a small rewards and loyalty campaign, a Good Card program; you choose the amount based the quantity and Good Card value. We provide customized Good Cards starting at $5,000+.
Cause Marketers: Our branded giving page costs start at $15,000. This is a quick way to engage your consumers in your brand’s one-off or holiday giving initiative.
Developers: If you’re a developer wanting to integrate with one of our APIs (application programming interface), donation processing and disbursement technology starts at $15,000. If you want access to all of our APIs, full partnership and account management, standard fees start at $25,000.