With the rising demand from consumers for organisations to maintain a social output, we’re seeing more and more creative solutions for the challenge of connecting cause to dollar. It’s a struggle that the charitable sector has known since its inception, and it’s one that Social Enterprises stand to overcome in the next few years. It’s still early days, however, and consumers remain sceptical about many promises organisations make about their social output. It’s reminiscent of X.com before the Paypal revolution; the market just wasn’t ready. People didn’t trust the system enough to trust a single innovative company driving that change. But the cracks are starting to show in the market ceiling; consumers are moving toward a consistent demand for organisations to ‘make a positive contribution to society’ as Larry Fink puts it. There are many companies geared up and ready for this revolution, maintaining their place at the head of the pack by directly connecting a consumers dollar with its output.
ThankYou, Sharesies, and The One Percent Collective are all organisations pioneering separate innovations that fit the brief in order to ensure market trust while keeping up their social output. Whether it be through ‘Track your Impact’, holding up a megaphone to sustainable investments and pathfinder funds, or encouraging everyone to donate 1% of their paycheck to charity, Each of these organisations keeps your eyes on the prize while ensuring full faith in the impact you’re making — and that can make all the difference.
Let’s start with ThankYou. ThankYou pledges to donate 100% of the profit they make to providing clean water, sanitation, and food to developing countries across the world. But it’s not the big promise that’s made them so successful; it’s their deadlock commitment to transparency and proving that they walk the walk. Bold claims can only get attention; action and communication carry brand retention.
Sharesies also walks the walk, but they do so in a totally different way. Firstly, they are passionate about supporting the Pathfinder funds; a collection of managed funds that strictly adhere to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria. These are basically ETF’s that have some form of social consideration; their social output is financially supporting ethical practices, while screening out unsustainable or unethical counterparts. Further, Sharesies is taking the initiative to make investing accessible for everyone; they have a uniquely inclusive pricing model wherein it’s cheaper for those who have put in less. At first glance this may seem counter-intuitive, as it could dissuade people from investing above certain price caps. But given the incredibly low rate charged and, more importantly, the fact that accessible pricing aligns with the core values of the company, the model is a perfect fit for the mission. I’m looking forward to seeing these guys step into financial literacy and what kind of cultural impact they can make on the demographics that typically shy away from investment and managing their personal finances!
Finally, we have the One Percent Collective. While these guys are similar to both Thankyou and Sharesies in their drive to connect people to certain causes, they differ significantly in the flexibility they provide with this and how they go about encouraging people to put their wallet alongside their values. One Percent Collective provides a way for people to donate 1% of their paycheck to Kiwi causes — and it’s up to the donor what causes they contribute to. You can diversify your donations or focus them all on one charity — it’s up to you. In this case, every dollar you put in goes to your selected organisation. In this case, the trust comes from the purely altruistic structure of the company; there’s literally no room for them to not deliver on their promises. They have no product they’re trying to sell, and their statements are so complete that if they didn’t adhere to them 100%, they wouldn’t last.
So to wrap things up, all of the organisations stated above are at the forefront of social enterprise right now, primarily for the reason that they’re all masters in their own right at connecting your dollar to your cause. Each player in the game ensures it’s consumers understand the impact they’re making, and how they can help more. They’re building trust and transparency not only in themselves, but in the market as a whole. By doing this, they’re ready for the race for consumers hearts that’s about to take place — and they’re placed 10 meters ahead of everyone else.