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Considering the Double Bottom Line in your Business.
With many emerging business models, it’s easy to get confused these days. There is a lot of buzz about social entrepreneurship, social innovation, social change and social enterprise but what do they all mean and why are they important?
Regardless of whether your legal structure is a nonprofit or “for-profit” organization it’s important to consider the social implications of your products/services. What it really comes down to is this: Are you doing the most you can to make your community a better place to live, work and play?
All types of business can add a socially concious focus to their operations. For a retail store to ensure they stock quality items that aren’t harmful to the environment or contributing to the abuse of vulnerable people is one way. Donating services to charities at a lower cost or free in order to be a value in your community is another way. If all types of businesses began thinking creatively and applying their specific strengths to social issues the resulting innovation could create a more sustainable community to live in.
An interesting corporate example is TOMS Shoes™. Blake Mycoskie realized that many children in Argentina were barefooted when he was travelling there. He wanted to help, so he created a shoe company whose mission states: “With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. “One for One” (source: http://www.toms.ca). While still midfull of balancing his financial bottom line he is achieving a social bottom line as well. This double bottom line approach is something that needs to be considered by everyone.
What could your organization do to create social impact?
What charities in your local community could use your help?
Are you a nonprofit and want to find out more about using a business model to build social enterprise?
These are things to consider if you are to add a double bottom line approach to your organization’s strategic plan.
United Way of London & Middlesex, Richard Ivey School of Business and Pillar Nonprofit Network have partnered to raise awareness in the nonprofit sector about social enterprise and how it can be a tool to create sustainable communties. Chris Moss is the new Manager of Social Enterprise for Pillar Nonprofit Network and anticipates a growth in entrepreneurship within the local nonprofit sector. Chris has 22 years of nonprofit work and volunteer experience, twelve of which have been in leadership and board member capacities. Having worked with many client groups, she brings diverse skills acquired from significant organizations. Chris has a Masters in Leadership with a focus on Nonprofit Management in the area of transforming organizations and entire communities. www.pillarnonprofit.ca
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