Thursday, February 26, 2009

Shoe Store Helps Social Justice for Women

There is no way that I could possibly know what it feels like to be in the shoes of a women living and trying to survive in an impoverished country. But I can help women in the world, by buying shoes in a store where guilt free shopping can make a difference.

A store, named "In Her Shoes", in downtown Palo Alto, CA, donates all of their profits to the Global Fund for Women, an organization that gives humanitarian grants to women's projects that promote human rights and social justice in their communities. The store is even staffed by some volunteers who want to support Global Fund for Women in this way.

Check out the store's website and watch their video about the store's mission and for more information about the Global Fund for Women.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

E-Mailing for Good

Microsoft's charitable effort involves each of their hotmail account subscribers.
It's easy. Once you sign up for their "i'm intitiative" each of your e-mails make a contribution to your chosen charity and every one of your e-mails has an invitation to the receiver to sign up. Now the hitch is you have to use hotmail. Will this drive more people to sign up for hotmail accounts? I don't know, but for those that use it, it's an easy way to feel good about just e-mailing and "spreading the word". You get to pick from several causes they support. I picked Unicef, one of my favorites.

Here's Microsoft's description about their program.

"The i’m Initiative from Microsoft® makes helping social causes easy. Every time you use Windows Live™ Messenger or Windows Live Hotmail®, our free webmail service, we'll share a portion of our advertising revenue with the cause you choose from among our partner social cause organizations. Exactly how much will we share with our partner causes? Well, that's up to you and the growing masses of i’m Initiative users. The more messages you send, the more we give.
Now the small things you do every day, like e-mailing and IMing, can make a big difference."

"i’m is about making a difference. Not in a huge expensive way, not in a time-consuming way. But in a simple, effective way."

I couldn't have said it better

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mission Street Food, a charitable collaboration

So a "hot" new eating locale in San Francisco is called Misson Street Food. It started out selling high quality meals out of a truck and then graduated to renting a space from a Chinese restaurant one night a week, and now two. In the meantime every week a different new guest chef has been invited to cook, and the announcement for the upcoming menus are posted on their blog and their profits go to charity. Their profits fund local community projects as well as global causes such as "Groceries for Seniors", "charity:water"/ a non-profit project which has been providing clean water for people in developing countries, "Foodpantry" Kiva. org, and many others.

They describe the effort between themselves, the chefs, the restaurant they work with, as a charitable collaboration. Collaboration once again seems to be a very powerful way for business to do good.

TrueNorth Snacks and the Oscars

Last night at the Oscars, the snack company, TrueNorth Snacks, unveiled the winner of their True North story competition. A 60 second film, directed by Helen Hunt, was a moving story about Lisa Nigro of Chicago, who began helping the homeless by delivering sandwiches in a little red wagon and now runs the Inspiration Corporation which includes projects like the Inspiration Cafe and other centers in Chicago that feed the homeless, provide social services, job development and housing.

TrueNorth Snacks, a division of Frito Lay will also be using the inspiring stories of their runners up from the competition, in the unveiling of their nationwide marketing campaign.

In addition with a $25,000.00 prize, the company has provided the winner and the runners up with exposure to the public and the opportunity to help raise more funding for them, as well as inspiring others to follow their own "true north".

I'm sure the producers of the Oscars were thrilled to be perceived as caring, (although this was probably paid-for advertising), Helen Hunt gets a public relations boost, and TrueNorth has gained a lot of public good will that could translate into a boost of sales.

TrueNorth Snacks built on their strength, in this case their values and vision to come up with a cause that they cared about. They came up with a creative way to blend supporting their cause with their advertising and cleverly tied-in their cause and campaign with one of Hollywood's biggest stars and biggest events. I would have loved to be on the brainstorming team that came up with this. They win my award for most imaginative way of doing well, by doing good.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Why Business That Cares?

There is a movement afoot. More and more people and organizations are concerned with helping the world around them, either locally or globally. While the economy is weakening and businesses are trying to find ways of surviving, contributions for worthy causes are decreasing and social needs are rising. It is increasingly more important for businesses to come up with innovative ways to utilize their resources for philanthropy.

Welcome to "Business That Cares" where I will be featuring stories about businesses of all sizes that care about their community both locally and globally and the ways they are making a difference. My hope will be that this inspires other businesses to develop creative and inventive ways to help the world around them.

I also will be sharing tips, strategies, and methods for identifying the causes that a business would like to support, how to engage others to contribute to the cause, and how to be creative with the ideas and execution.

I welcome businesses to post their stories about the innovative ideas they are using for solving problems in the world and to participate in a dialog with others about this very important subject.