Companies, regardless of size, have a vested interest in being good corporate citizens. More and more companies are focused on creating organizations that are people and planet friendly. This shift may be in response to workforce demand for more socially conscious companies, consumer demand for more reputable business practices, or simply the increasing breakdown between the traditional for-profit and for-good structure.
Regardless, there is a strong desire, and imperative, among companies to do good.
The myriad of resources at a company’s disposal, such as time, talent, product, or money, and the various possible approaches to creating social change, create a sort of “blue sky” approach for companies. Similar to a company’s aspirations for their business growth, the sky is the limit in terms of the ways the company can positively affect communities.
So where do you start?
On Monday, October 13th, Taproot Foundation’s Advisory Services facilitated a conversation with Runway entrepreneurs at Runway headquarters on Market Street in San Francisco to brainstorm how their new enterprises could drive change in the community – starting now. Drawing from Taproot’s expertise advising companies, we started the conversation with a discussion of key trends we’ve observed in the field and provided examples of corporate models that we’ve seen work well, and those that haven’t worked so well. In the Bay Area, an area known for its innovation, we discussed the increasing number of startups that are following in the footsteps of socially conscious companies such as Salesforce, which pledged to donate 1% time, 1% equity, and 1% product to nonprofits from the day it was founded. Many entrepreneurs at Runway have followed suit, making a similar commitment through Full Circle Fund’s Founders Pledge.
We dedicated the majority of time to understanding how to lay the fundamental groundwork for a social initiative at a company. We explored how early and mid-stage companies can begin to identify the resources they have to offer, particularly around employee time and talent, and how they can connect those resources to the pressing, known needs of the social sector. Participants walked away with tangible next steps for creating nonprofit partnerships, establishing a charter for their corporate social impact, and designing ways that their social goals can be good for business. For example, one company developed a plan for partnering with local governments to provide drinking water for low-income communities. Another company developed plans for using its core product, an adaptive learning tool, to improve secondary education.
The session reinforced what we already thought: that any company, regardless of size, can engage its employees in the community, play a part in tackling social issues and give back. It’s about being a conscious company.
If you’ve ever considered why, when, and how you can make a difference, contact us. Stop thinking and start acting. It’ll be good for you, your company, your employees, and your communities. We promise.