Last week, Tom’s Shoes Founder Blake Mycoskie made headlines when he appeared on The Tonight Show and announced a 5 million dollar commitment to organizations fighting to end gun violence. Along with it, Tom’s unleashed a campaign to write postcards to US Congress members in support of Universal Background Checks. The call to action is featured front and center on their website, and has been used by tens of thousands of people since it was posted.
Action campaigns such as this are not a new phenomenon in the nonprofit world; advocacy focused organizations have been running them for years. However, commercial and for-profit organizations haven’t traditionally engaged at the same level. Over the past few years, we’ve seen an unprecedented increase in companies speaking about social issues that may or may not be directly related to the products or services they sell (Hobby Lobby, Ben & Jerry’s, and Patagonia come to mind).
These new actions are often tied to the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility; the idea that companies should think beyond their immediate bottom line and take their impact on the world into consideration. CSR can take many forms: for some companies it has manifested in a commitment to supply chain transparency, while in others it has led to support for various environmental efforts.
Perhaps surprisingly, this can be a great business move. In a 2017 study by Cone Communications, researchers found that more than 60 percent of Americans hope businesses will drive social and environmental change in the absence of government regulation. Even more definitively, most consumers surveyed (87 percent) said they would purchase a product because a company supported an issue they care about. And 76 percent said they would refuse to buy from a company if they learn it supports an issue contrary to their own beliefs.
As a Certified B Corp, taking our impact on the world into consideration has always been a part of our mission. And through our Cicero advocacy product, we strive to help other companies do the same. To date, we’ve had corporations, newspapers, and educational institutions embrace this concept and use Cicero to advocate and help folks engage with their elected officials.
If your organization wants to engage its employees or customers, or get a larger message out to elected representatives, let us know. Cicero’s district targeting tools can help you get up and running in days. In this political environment, we think doing what you can to make a positive impact is what’s right. And who knows, it may even help your bottom line.