How Social Entrepreneurship Can Benefit Businesses and the Communities They Serve

Today's consumers aren't just saying they value social responsibility, they're showing their values through spending.

A 2017 Unilever global study indicated that 33 percent of consumers actively seek brands that reflect a sincere, well-documented desire to promote smart stewardship of planetary, human and other limited resources. Nielsen underscored these numbers, reporting that companies committed to social entrepreneurship were preferred by 56 percent of buyers, regardless of price point.

Coupons, sales and gimmicks no longer move the needle like social entrepreneurship does. Brands with a conscience not only attract better talent and woo discerning consumers, but they also wind up building communities and boosting the bottom line.

As they say, if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. Focus on making a meaningful change by understanding the value in moving toward a model of social engagement and commitment.

4 Ways to Engage Your Customers in Social Good -- And Why It Matters

Give a nod to millennials, but don't stop there
Having a corporate heart has become a growing movement, in part because of the millennial workforce. Today, millennials make up the largest segment of the U.S. employee market, and as a group, they want to put in their time at companies invested in making positive social and environmental changes.

Although this generation has gotten a bad rap, millennials are incredibly serious and devoted when teamed with authentically mission-driven organizations. Think you can fake it? Not with these savvy job seekers. They know which companies are providing lip service and which value social and environmental opportunities to make the world safer, healthier, stronger and better in some measurable way.

Of course, millennials may be at the root of this trend, but they aren't the only population clamoring for a work environment that goes beyond churning out profits. Representatives of Generation X and baby boomers -- as well as up-and-comers from Generation Z -- are jumping on the social bandwagon, too.

What this means for you is a chance to carry out one of the most important tasks of your career: transforming your company into one that promotes social entrepreneurship. Start your journey with a few of these strategies:

Seek out meaningful causes.
With the world in crisis, you shouldn't have to look far to find a cause that has deep meaning for your team members. Your focus might even come from a personal experience, as it did for Glassybaby's founder, Lee Rhodes.

Rhodes battled cancer three times and couldn't help noticing that the people around her during chemotherapy were far less fortunate than she. They had to choose between the bare necessities and the treatments they desperately needed. Thus, Glassybaby, a distributor of exquisite, handblown glass votive candle holders, was born. Rhodes donates 10 percent of the company's revenue -- not simply profits, but raw purchases -- to promote what she calls "hope and healing" through the white light fund. To date, Glassybaby has raised more than $7 million in support of causes that affect people, the earth and animals.