Well -I didn't get my wish. Last year I wrote about my hope, (I hope you read this one, as it's one of my favorites,) that this year's National Small Business Week conference would include something about Social Responsibility and/or philanthropy in their agenda as important contributions to small business growth. This year there will be two presenters who come from the social venture and non-profit sectors: Seth Goldman of Honest Tea and Steve Case from the Case Foundation. Otherwise no mention in the schedule of the burgeoning trends of social ventures, cause marketing, and strategic philanthropy.
In spite of the downturn, many small businesses have continued their support of their communities and have adopted more sustainable green practices and have engaged in small business cause marketing. see Why Giving is Good For Business and Patriotic . In addition, an ever increasing number of the hybrid social ventures, many of which we have written about, are popping up and have started up in this last year or two.
These businesses need business advice too, some of which could be general to all start ups and some of which need to be addressed the the specific hybrid form they take if they are supporting charities. As for marketing, while many large companies are dedicating their marketing dollars to go directly to cause marketing ,as they know that customers are seeking to support companies that give back.
This kind of knowledge and advice would be useful for small businesses to have so they too can take advantage of the cost savings as a result of their green practices, can reap the many benefits of giving back to the community, and can experience the rewards from partnering with a cause as part of their marketing strategy. Maybe all of this will make it on the agenda in 2012.